FIRST DATE OPTIONS – Where to go, who pays and are you managing your expectations?

As matchmakers we are often asked what should be planned for first dates. Well, if we are working with clients and arranging their potential in-house introductions, then first dates should be important enough that select plans and/or reservations be made. Choosing a nice place with great atmosphere is key.

But if we are managing a client’s online search, a much more casual type date is encouraged such as meeting for coffee, or a quick drink after work.

Let’s review a few first date options that will be helpful for you to consider, whether you’re  meeting your date through a service, a friend, or if it’s someone you’ve been communicating with online:

The Coffee Date.  We all know that millions of singles have started relationships from first date encounters at Starbucks. Why? Because coffee dates are ideal for meeting people through the internet. At the point of your first meeting, you don’t know much about the other person and so these dates can be quick and easy, extremely low-pressure, casual, and low risk. Just keep in mind, in order to make the encounter more enjoyable, make sure you inform the other person of your exact location since coffee shops seem to be on every corner these days, and arrive a little early so you can snag a nice table that offers some privacy. Remember, these places are noisy and bustling morning, noon and night!

Drinks Dates.  We love encouraging our couples to “meet for drinks” on first dates! Whether it’s over a martini, a glass of wine, or even a seltzer for those that don’t drink alcohol, drink dates can be fun, casual and offer a much nicer atmosphere for the two of you to enjoy your time together. Pick a place that isn’t too popular so that you’ll know you can find a spot to sit down and enjoy some quiet conversation. Also consider looking for spots that have great after work happy hours, which can help minimize costs. And no, it’s not cheap to have drinks at a place that offers happy hour prices!

Dining Dates.  Whether over brunch, lunch or dinner, many individuals really appreciate the invitation for a dining adventure together for a first date. We like this option as well, especially if the venue accepts advance reservations and if there’s table service so the two of you can enjoy some great food and focus on your conversations.

OK, so we’ve reviewed the various options for first dates, so now let’s discuss…..

Who pays?  With our service we expect the gentleman to pay for the first date. However it seems lately a lot of women feel the urge, even the sincere desire to share the expense of the first date. We leave this decision up to the couples. But ladies, if you DO offer to share the tab or pick up the tab, and he says OK, don’t make the mistake of chastising him afterwards and describing him as “cheap.” Remember, you offered.

Is Your Attitude in Check?  Keep things light and upbeat. No matter what happens!! If the service was horrendous, the food was lousy, or traffic was challenging, rise above it and give this person your smile, your relaxed demeanor and your full attention. Let the little stuff go, stay cool, have fun, and make sure this other person has fun too.

And last but not least – Are you Managing Your Own Expectations?  The only time we’re ever disappointed in life is if reality doesn’t match our expectations. One thing you can do instantly, to improve your first date experiences is to relax your expectations. Go with the flow, look for what’s right and lovely and worthy of note in this new person. Look for pleasant surprises. They’re always there, if you look, if you pay attention, and if you notice.