Five ways to have the ultimate first date
QUESTION: What's the best way to have a first date in this day and age? I haven't been single for a long time!
ANSWER: Most people feel some anxiety about where to plan a first date.
Whether it's a spontaneous first date, or you've known each other for a bit of time and are taking it to "the next level" or you've been introduced online and this is the big face to face, most people have invested enough emotional energy that they want to give the first date every chance of succeeding.
A great deal hangs on a first date: a second date and beyond to maybe even "happily ever after".
So rather than leave it to chance, use some science to help you give your first date an advantage.
This way you have all the opportunity at hand to tell if your first time date actually has potential for you as a mate.
Go for drinks
It's a bit cliché, but it's true. If you have a little bit of alcohol (not a lot), you'll be relaxed and flirtatious.
We are our most enticing selves when we are relaxed, smiling, laughing and a bit flirty.
The added advantage of drinks only is if it's not going well, you're not stuck for a whole long meal.
Do something a little bit scary
Research as far back as five decades old shows that dates which elicit a little bit of fear bring people closer, literally, faster.
Dates who sit through a scary movie snuggle.
Couples who ride thrilling roller coasters or do adventures that involve facing a bit of fear touch more and psychologically bond together.
Now you don't want to horrify your date; think cuddle in a bit of exhilarating fear not tear from you screaming ... but something with a bit of a reason to put your arms around each other in a safe way can actually work to maximize the romantic part of your date believe it or not!
Share an interest
Finding common bonds is another key part of dating and sharing interests builds romantic interest in one another so another great first date idea is to do something that means a lot to you and see if it holds your date's attention.
Now, they don't have to love what you love - it is absolutely possible to have a healthy, happy relationship in which you each have different passions (one loves rock climbing, the other loves reading books).
But if you do have a great interest and you share it on a first date, a potential mate will appreciate learning more about you and will want to know why you love it so.
They may not adopt it as their passion and share it like you, but they will revel in learning more about you.
If they don't at least show interest in what makes you tick and the things you love, it might be a red flag! (And remember, the key on your end is not to be self absorbed, and to share your passion with them without pressure, revealing your own wonderful character!).
This is a classic non-committal first date when you really aren't sure about the person you're about to see.
Perhaps you've been set up, perhaps it's a "blind" date.
Coffee as a first date is a great choice because, like a drinks date, it has the potential of being short and giving an opportunity to leave without being stuck (it doesn't take very long to drink one cup of coffee after all).
But also, if you're unsure about the date, getting an alcoholic buzz on may not be the right approach.
Coffee keeps you sharp and gives your brain a quick shot of caffeine that not only makes your brain more alert, but because your analytical brain is switched on you can tune in to details about your date that you might find appeal - or not appeal as the case may be.
The spark of caffeine can also make you more alert and conversational, which is always a good thing on a date too!
Finally, a great first date can be active.
There's no rule that says dates must be conducted sitting across from each other talking.
Yes, the talking part is important, to give each other clues about yourselves and indicators of interest and commonality, but the sitting is not actually necessarily a natural part of dating. In many cultures, a walk is a first date.
You can talk without the pressure of staring at each other's faces and you keep moving and meandering through conversations, while also being able to banter easily about the sights through which you're walking (it can be nature, or it can be urban).
Some of the most awkward and intimate moments are made far more comfortable by talking while you aren't face to face but your bodies are close, side by side (even holding hands!
You can find an opportunity to reach for your date's hand if it's going well - but not at first, don't be too 'heavy-handed' on the romance if you don't know each other well).
The subtle message of a walk too, compared to sitting, is that you've 'gone somewhere' , you've progressed together.
And that can lead to date number two to see where else you can go together!