35 First Date Ideas and Everything You Need to Know About Acing a First Date
For those hopeless romantics, the ultimate goal of going on a first date is to get a second (and a third, fourth etc.). Which is why planning a ridiculously amazing first date is super important! Not only because of the experience itself, but because it takes someone a mere seven seconds to make a strong first impression. After that, your fate is pretty much decided for you.
For that reason, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to a great a first date, ensuring a second. In this handy guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about:
- pre-date planning
- date activities according to your interests
- engaging questions to ask
- dating do’s and don’ts
Love at first sight has never been as prevalent as it is today (think ‘swipe right’). Be sure to present yourself as best as you can, which could mean getting a haircut, shaving your five-o-clock shadow, and or adding a dash of cologne.
Next, you should do your homework and find out his or her interests. If you’re going on a first date with an art student, perhaps a new art exhibition is your golden ticket, or maybe you’re taking out someone who loves music – a grand gesture would be to take him or her to see a band they like.
Then, give yourself a pep talk! Confidence is sexy, and if you feel like a million bucks (in a non-arrogant way), he or she will undoubtedly be attracted to you.
Whatever you plan though, don’t over-complicate it! When you have high expectations, you’re more likely to be disappointed when things don’t go perfectly.
For the bold adventurer
- Visit an escape room
- Choose a part of the city you’ve both never been to and explore
- Visit an amusement park
- Go to a karaoke bar
- Find a photo booth to take ridiculous photos
- Attend a trivia night
- Go to a game arcade
For the culture lover
- Visit an art museum
- Go wine tasting
- Go to an expensive restaurant
- Visit the ballet
- See an opera performance
- Go to a convention on a topic of interest (tattoos, comics etc.)
- Do a cooking class
For the romantic
- Go for a sunset stroll with a view
- Have a picnic in the park
- Go to a drive-in or outdoor cinema
- Meet at night to gaze at the stars
- Go to a dance class (salsa, perhaps)
- Visit the farmer’s market
- Pick cherries/strawberries/apples/roses etc.
For the sports enthusiast
- Go hiking
- Go on a bike ride
- Go kayaking
- Watch a live sports game
- Play laser tag or go paint balling
- Indoor rock climbing
- Go to the batting cages
For the intellectual
- Visit a bookstore
- Go antiquing
- Go to the planetarium
- Build a puzzle
- Play chess
- Attend a seminar on a topic of interest (for example, a Ted Talk)
- Watch a documentary or a mentally-stimulating film
Questions to Ask
According to Psychology Today, a trusted research-based online magazine, asking engaging questions and being open-minded is the key to great date conversations. Adversely, it’s fairly well-known that silence or boring questions is just painful for both parties.
A hint: if you know of something he or she is passionate about, ask them about it. People love to talk (about themselves), and it’s always nice when someone wants to listen. At the same time however, you shouldn’t be the silent type – make sure that your conversations are both sided.
Here are some questions that’ll show genuine interest and open up space for an entertaining and stimulating dialogue:
- Are you working on any personal projects (pertaining to their interests)?
- Have you read (insert interesting book title here)?
- Have you seen (insert interesting movie/film title here)?
- What are your pet peeves?
- Where have you traveled?
- What’s your best piece of advice ever?
- What are the most important things you look for in a relationship/partner?
- What’s your favorite ice-cream?
- What’s the best trivia fact you know?
- Do you like road trips? Where have you been?
- What’s the worst advice anyone has ever given you?
- What’s your go-to TV show or film?
- What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
- What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to cheesy music?
- Would you prefer a really fast car or really fast internet?
- How did you get into (insert career title here)?
- Do you have any nicknames? Why?
- Are there any foods you don’t eat?
- What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
- When’s your birthday?
- Watch your body language: non-verbal cues have the power to give away someone’s most intimate thoughts and feelings. For example, if eye contact is maintained, if you’re leaning in when they talk, or if you’re lightly touching their arm sparingly from time-to-time, these send subconscious messages to him or her that you like them.
- Give a real compliment (but not too many): if you feel that he or she looks amazing, tell them. Avoid over-complimenting as it may come across as not genuine.
- Gain his or her trust: an easy way to do this is through the medium of food. According to science, when you order the same food as your date, it promotes closeness and something to bond over.
- Too much touching: avoid getting into his or her personal space as it often leads to uncomfortableness. Additionally, if you are continuously and overly-touching your date, it may signal to him or her that you do this kind of thing on all
- Don’t be cheap: when it comes to receiving the bill, try not to whip out your phone calculator to split the bill. Additionally, try not to overtly opt for the cheapest options when ordering.
- Don’t drink too much: no one likes a sloppy date, especially if it’s your first one.
- Watch your mouth: save the F-bombs until you’re comfortable enough with each other, or if you know for a fact that he or she would appreciate a potty mouth.
- Don’t get too heavy: a first date should be light-hearted and fun. Avoid talking about intense childhood memories, or the ins and outs of your last breakup. Also, it’s best to avoid talking about politics or religion.
- Using your phone: the best option would be to put your phone on silent and put it away. If you’re constantly on your phone during a date, it shows a lack of respect and conveys to him or her that you’re not 100% engaged and or interested.
- Don’t complain: no one likes someone who complains all the time. Save your judgment on the slow waiter, crazy traffic, or jaywalkers.
- Don’t be late: being punctual is extremely important, as it shows that you respect his or her time.
And last but not least, the question of how to meet and greet your date. The best thing to do is to gauge how he or she feels. If he or she looks nervous or apprehensive, go for a handshake or a simple smile. If he or she looks excited and happy to see you, you could opt for a hug or even a chivalrous kiss on the hand or cheek.
Ultimately, the best outcome is that you feel comfortable and confident. Simply bring your A game with you and you’ll be ready to rock your first date!
Helena is a sex-positive freelance copywriter in her early 30’s from Cape Town, South Africa. She’s travelled and lived in various countries in Asia and Europe for almost a decade, and continues to live her dream — traveling the world independently as a copywriter. Having written for various companies and magazines within the industry, she has extensive knowledge in the field of sexual health, the escort industry, and sex toy marketing.