Get creative with your dates
I’ve heard lots of awful first date experiences but dating CAN be fun and creative! I had some fantastic first dates when I was single recently (before going on my last first date with my fiance!). Here are some of my favorites. If you’re struggling to enjoy dating, give them a go:
1. An adventurous date
I got up early for this one! My date picked me up at 7 am and we took a short drive to a local mountain. It was only a 45 minute hike, but it had a wonderful view at the top where we sat and watched the sun rise.
Why an adventurous date is great:
- Challenges make nice opportunities to be encouraging and supportive of each other.
- With no-one else around, there’s time and space to talk openly and get to know each other.
- There’s potential for it to be quite romantic (at the top watching the sunrise, for example).
Just a note: If you don’t know the person it could be unsafe to go off into the wild with them on a first date. (I knew my date already.)
Adventurous dates are a great way to get to know each other better, laugh, chat, and show that you work well as a team. You could go surfing, skiing, bungy-jumping (I live in New Zealand, I have to suggest this!), kayaking, go-carting, hot-air ballooning — okay, maybe that’s getting carried away. Adventurous dates can be indoors too, like a trip to a rock-climbing gym or ice-skating.
2. A chilled nature date
Chilled cider, a starry night, and a beautiful lake made this date quite a special one. We were planning on swimming but it was too cold by the time we got to the lake, so we snuggled under a blanket, drank cider, and talked until late.
Plus-sides of dates outdoors:
- Nature creates great dating atmosphere — a nice view makes a date very romantic and you don’t need any entertainment.
- Being outdoors helps people feel more relaxed and they’re more likely to be themselves. It opens up conversation too, and if there’s awkward silence, you can look at the scenery, skim stones on the lake, or suggest a walk.
Being out in nature makes people feel calm and happy according to research. First dates are scary enough so anything that makes you both feel relaxed has to be a good thing! Wander down a beach, visit a local gardens, or relax next to a river — utilize whatever natural features you have nearby. Take drinks, dessert, or a picnic and enjoy the view.
3. A night with friends
This wasn’t initially a date but it turned into one as the night progressed! We went to a local gig and met up with his mates. Before the band started there was a chance to chat with his friends and each other. Then, after the band left, he found a piano in the corner of the bar and played quietly for me.
Why dates with others are great:
- You get to see what they’re like around their friends. People are usually more relaxed around familiar faces, so you’ll see more of the real them.
- Their friends often drop clues about your date’s character. They know them best, after all!
- Conversation-wise, it takes the pressure off because there are other people to talk to. It’s especially helpful if one of you is shy or awkward on a first date.
Dates with friends can be a good way of really getting to know someone. People put their most charming self forward on a first date — but around friends it’s harder to be fake. You also learn a lot about a person from the kind of friends they have and how they interact. And if you can show off your skills a little (ice skating, guitar around a bonfire, displaying your vocal talents with karaoke at a bar) all the better!
4. The educated date
This wasn’t a first date, more like a forth, but it had some big bonuses. We attended a talk held by a Neuroscientist I admire and follow. My date knew nothing about the topic beforehand but he agreed to go with me because he knew I’d love it. On the way home we had lots to talk about!
- Attending something your date is passionate about makes a big statement — “I’m really interested in getting to know who you are and what’s important to you matters to me.”
- The more you learn about a topic they love, the more you can engage them in conversation about it. People love talking about their passions.
- Learning new things together is exciting and makes you feel closer.
Whether you attend a talk, try out a new skill, or show interest in a sport they love, learning together is a great way to bond. Discover what they’re into and figure out a way to get involved. Take a class, attend a lecture, get lessons together or get them to teach you something they enjoy. If they love sport, attend a game and learn the rules.
Or you could learn something completely new together — take a language class or a tennis lesson. One study suggests couples who do new, novel activities together are happier, so why not start off the way you hope to continue.
Dating can be awkward and stressful, or it can be fun! Get creative — even if you aren’t a good match long-term, at least you’ll have a first date you both enjoy!