A great first date doesn’t have to include entry to the hottest new club in town or tickets to this year’s most eagerly awaited concert or dinner at the post restaurant everyone is talking about. In fact, first dates that maximize the “WOW!” factor but leave little time for you and your online date to get to know each other frequently flop. You’re out a big chunk of cash with nothing but a “don’t call me, I’ll call you” to show for it. Another disappointing return on investment.
You don’t have to max out your Visa card to have a great first date. When you’re in the “get-to-know-you phase,” the best first dates are often those that rely more on creativity than cash. (See our previous post about what not to do on a first date.) Remember, the goal of a first date is not lifelong commitment but getting to know each other well enough to decide whether you want to go on a second date.
The most effective – and ultimately enjoyable – first dates are those that allow you and your online date to focus on each other and spend time talking about interests, life views, goals, background, dreams – all the little things that determine compatibility. While coffee shop dates are popular first dates, they can lead to awkward silences if one of you isn’t naturally gregarious. Being on a first date is like standing in a glaring spotlight. Occasionally, you need to blink. Planning a date that gives you something physical to do while you’re chatting builds “blink time” into the date. For example: Taking a moment to line up a mini golf shot lets you escape the spotlight for a minute and prevents conversational pauses from feeling awkward.