How to Pick the Perfect First Date

Safe dates are totally in right now.. right?

How to Pick the Perfect First Date
Photo by Yogas Design on Unsplash

Blind dates, Tinder or Bumble matches, however you meet your potential partner, it’s important that you plan a first date that keeps you safe. But labelling a date as ‘safe’ isn’t exactly going to get the spark going is it? Never have I been excited for a date because of the prospect of how safe it is. We want fun, chemistry, and a smidge of romance, but also the chance to make an escape if we feel like we need to, or if the date is just going so horrible you would rather stick pins in your eyes. It's ok, we’ve all been there. Jokes aside though, it is really important when you’re meeting someone new for the first time that you take some precautions – you are meeting a complete stranger after all.

Here’s how you can plan a date that is both safe and fun/romantic/exciting (pick your choice of adjective here):

Try to avoid making dinner plans (or anything that takes up the whole night) straight away. Imagine this: you’ve made dinner plans, you’re about 30 minutes in, you’ve just ordered a drink after some ice-breaking, and you’ve already got an idea about what you think of this date. We all know first impressions count, and we are surprisingly quick at deciding if we like someone or not. Now, let’s pretend you don’t hit it off with your date. They’ve spent the first 30 minutes talking about themselves, all the while they haven’t asked you a single question and you’re doing your best to be interested in the conversation – you are a polite and friendly person after all, right? Now you’ve still got to order and then sit through an entire meal before you can get out of there.

Doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend your Saturday night. If you’re making plans for a first date, suggest meeting for a drink first and then that leaves the door open for dinner or for ‘an early night’ also known as “I’m not really feeling this.” But! If you’re at drinks, sparks are flying and you’re keen to extend the date a little, then suggest grabbing dinner.

Choose a location that is surrounded by other cafes, restaurants, businesses etc. You want the walk to and from the venue to be safe. If other people are around, it means you have more resources to call on should you require it. I also recommend parking your car (if you’re driving) in a well-lit and popular place. Your date may offer to walk you to your car and while that can just be a gesture of chivalry, you should also be careful.

Tell your friends (or someone, anyone) where you’re going and who you’re with. I know you’ve told your best friend about this date anyway, and if you haven’t, are you really even BFF’s? It’s wise to give them a heads up and let them know where you’re actually going on your date. Tell them you’ll check in through the night (if you get the chance, don’t sit on your phone in the middle of your date. Take a toilet break and send them a ‘hey I’m good” text or “enact escape plan”). It stops your friend from worrying about whether this person you’re meeting is a serial killer and it’ll give you the chance to do the ol’ “I’m so sorry, my friend needs me” excuse. It also means that in the event your friend doesn’t hear from you, they can check in and make sure everything is going ok. It’s just a precaution. It really is better to be safe than sorry. Hey, if the date is going really well, you could probably let your date know that you’re just going to give your friend the “all ok” text, it’ll give your date a little ego boost too and then they know it’s going well – it’s a win-win.

Don’t go to a stranger’s house. If you can, meet your date at the venue. Again, this comes down to the whole stranger-danger thing. Set some boundaries and don’t be afraid to tell them that you’d rather meet in a public place first. If they are a decent person, they will understand and be accommodating. This one can be a good way to judge their character. If they pressure you to come over, there’s a good chance they only want one thing (which I’m not judging. If that’s what you want, you do you. Just be careful) or they may have ulterior motives. Just saying.

No go forth and date away, my friends. But please, be safe. And have fun. May the date present you with love and happiness.... or whatever it is you’re looking for.

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Natalie Parry
See all posts by Natalie Parry