Matchmaking 101 - Office Hours with Lisa Clampitt

6 Amazing First Date Ideas…and a Few More You Should Avoid!

Couple takes a cooking class for their first dateThere’s no rule that states a first date has to be dinner and a movie or a drink at a bar, yet I find that the overwhelming majority of my clients will choose one of these activities if left to their own devices. This is where my job as a dating and relationship expert kicks in. My help to clients doesn’t just extend to finding them a match; I also try to steer my clients away from generic dating ideas and help them find activities that are more personal, more engaging, and hopefully more fun!

To ensure that your next first date is a success too, I thought I would share with you a bit of what I tell my clients about first dates:

First, in my experience it is best to avoid any activity where you are not able to talk to each other easily. Trips to the movies, tickets to a play, or cocktails in a loud bar are best left for dates further down the line. This is your first and best opportunity to get to know someone; don’t waste it by drowning out the details!

Another important first date tip is to avoid any activity that lasts for an extended period of time. If you plan a twelve-hour adventure or a trip out of town with someone you recently met, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. It’s best to keep the first date down to just a few hours. You can always extend it on a whim if you are both really getting along!

Enough about what to avoid; here is my list of fabulous alternative first date ideas:

1. Bowling

Hitting the bowling alley is a fun and relaxed option for a first date. If both of you are new to the game, it will give you something to laugh about. If one of you is a more practiced bowler, you can take the opportunity to teach the other about the game. Just remember not to take the game too seriously!

2. Nature Hike

Spending time outdoors and being active with your date will get those endorphins flowing and give you both a chance to get to know each other. Pick a trail that isn’t too difficult (unless you know your date is an avid hiker) so you can relax along the way and let the romance kick in.

3. Cooking Class

Taking a cooking class is a really fun way to turn eating dinner together into an interactive date. You can enjoy getting to know each other and learning to cook a fun recipe, and have even more flirty fun when you sit down to eat your creation.

4. Arcade

Whether you visit an arcade in a bar or one populated by a ton of kids, playing games together, cheering each other on, and engaging in a bit of competition is a fabulous way to spend a first date. There will definitely be a lot of laughs, so let loose; don’t forget to stock up on snacks at the concessions stand while you’re at it. 

5. Wine/Alcohol Tasting

To be clear, I am not promoting getting intoxicated on your date! I think that Patti has a great point with her “Two Drink Maximum” rule. Nevertheless, a wine tasting, beer tasting, or whiskey tasting can be a really fun date, as long as you are careful about your alcohol intake.   

6. Share Something You Love

Whether you are a lover of trivia, bike riding, rollerblading, or modern art, sharing a skill or passion you have with your date is a great way to prove your interest in them. Everyone feels more confident and comfortable when they get to play the expert on their favorite subject, and your date will be flattered that you wanted to share what you love with them. Best of all, if they really enjoy themselves they will forever associate you with that fun new activity. How’s that for making a connection?

There is no limit to the possibilities of fun first dates. My advice is to pick something that you love doing, or have always wanted to try, and invite your date to join you on the adventure. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit, and, as always, have fun!