Going on a date requires a lot of prep work, especially when it’s with someone you barely know. You’ve probably already decided what you’re wearing and what questions you’re going to ask. Now all that’s left to decide is what activity to do. You might already be head-over-heels for your new love and not care where the night takes place so long as you’re in their presence, but let’s use some sense here — some date ideas that sound awesome are a recipe for disaster. We highly recommend steering clear of these activities if you hope to see this person in the future.
1. Going to the movies
Dinner and a movie is a classic combo you’ve certainly considered suggesting to your date. After all, what’s not to like? There’s food and potentially great entertainment to round out a night of fun. If you’ve been with your date for awhile, then there’s nothing wrong with going this route for a special night out. Otherwise, the movies are an awful place to get to know somebody. Bobby Box, a writer for Bustle, says theaters are generally spent in total silence, which means “you could have texted your date for another week and found out just as much, if not more, than you did physically sitting next to them.”
Aside from the movies being super impersonal, it can also be extremely pricey for a first date that’s lacking in the creativity department. Might we suggest going to a museum, or even bowling, instead?
2. Hanging out at a family picnic
You might think your family is the funniest group of people to hang out with on any given day — but that doesn’t necessarily mean the annual picnic at your mother’s house is the best place to take your new love interest. Think of a date as an opportunity to put all of your focus on the person you’re with. You should take that time to learn something new about them and prioritize them over others for the day. If you’re both at the family BBQ, however, you can’t make your time about just the two of you.
There’s also a lot riding on the first time your date meets your parents. Theresa E DiDonato, Ph.D., tells Psychology Today, “A first impression, after all, is a lasting impression, potentially shaping the quality of future interactions.” Meeting mom and dad should be a totally separate affair.
3. Hitting up the club
Maybe you told your date you want to go dancing, and they agreed. Not a bad idea at all! But you should really rethink this plan if you meant dancing at a nightclub. While clubbing can be fun, it’s not a great way to bond with your date — think high noise levels and enough spilled drinks to turn the floor into a Slip ‘N Slide. You’ll be spending the entire night screaming into their ear and avoiding the stumbling path of everyone who’s had a little too much to drink. The club might be a fun place to go with friends, but your date is unlikely to be impressed.
That doesn’t mean you have to skip dancing altogether, though. Glamour suggests taking your date to an actual dance class. This way, you can see how well they can take direction and respond to your movements, and you can gauge how good of a sport they are when trying something new.
4. Going out with your date — and all your closest friends
You love your friends, and you keep telling your date how much they’re going to adore your bestie once they’ve met. But if this date of yours is semi-new to the picture, you might want to hold off on bringing them into a huge social gathering. Dating coach Samantha Burns tells The Huffington Post these group scenarios can actually put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the person you’re with. Not only will they feel the need to impress you, but they’ll want to leave a good impression on all of your comrades, too.
And we get it — being alone with someone new is nerve-racking, so all of your friends can help ease the stress. But Neely Steinberg, a dating coach, tells the same publication it’s hard to decide how you really feel about someone when all of your friends are there as a buffer. Get that alone time in before bringing your date into the group.
5. Performing at an open mic night
Maybe there’s an open mic night, or karaoke, going on near you. That’s something interesting and entertaining to do, so why not ask your new date to come along? Well, for one, the quality of performances at open mic nights is often lacking. And if you’re the one jumping up on stage to sing your heart out, your date might not think you’re the Taylor Swift or Prince you thought you were when you rehearsed in the shower.
The Art of Charm doesn’t totally rule out performances as bad dates. In fact, they recommend taking your special someone to see a professional artist. That way, you know the quality will be good — and you won’t accidentally embarrass yourself in the process.
6. Eating at the fanciest restaurant money can buy
We all want to impress our dates, there’s no doubt about it. But don’t feel like you need to blow half your paycheck on one night out. Going all-out too early can actually put a lot of pressure on the person you’re seeing, which can be a huge turn-off. Keep in mind heading to your nearest bar for $1 wing night isn’t the best idea, either — it’s all about balance.
Take advice from GQ on this one. They recommend making a budget for yourself to see how much you’re willing to spend on a night out with your date. You don’t want to be left penniless if things don’t turn out the way you planned. As the publication notes, “Diving head first into a Michelin-rated restaurant just to have the person tell you he or she is involved in organized crime will be both awkward and expensive.”
7. Watching Netflix at home
A date at your house sounds romantic — you can make dinner together and pick out a movie, just the two of you. The problem here, though, is that this may actually be a bit too casual for a budding romance. The Art of Charm notes asking your date to simply come over and hang is basically telling them upfront you’re not interested enough to come up with any fun ideas. It signals you’re not willing to go the extra mile.
You might also be giving off the impression you’re expecting something sexual out of the date. This might not be your intention, but inviting someone over to your abode too soon can give off these vibes. Just come up with a better idea than this, and save the Netflix nights for later in the relationship.