Your First "Date" Is Not Really a Date
Peer inside any coffee shop in every city, and there you will find them: those dating duos sipping on their nonfat-sugar-free-double-shot-extra-dry cappuccinos while smiling just a little too brightly, trying to act naturally while coping with a case of the first-meet jitters following an online match-up.
They might think they are on a first date, but in actuality, dear reader, they are on the pre-date. The pre-date, although it is not stated as such, is where the real litmus test of attraction occurs.
The Pre-Date and First Impressions
Generally speaking, in less than 20 seconds, most of us become aware if we are initially attracted to someone, and the brain gets busy firing off judgements, fair or not. There are many psychological studies which confirm this phenomenon, but for your intents and purposes, this is why the pre-date is invaluable.
Just remember that although you might have instant chemistry, sometimes it also takes another date or two to see if there is more than just a physical connection. Conversely, if your date isn't quite floating your boat physically, but seems like they have a lot of the other qualities you are into, giving things the chance to flow in a more relaxed environment on a different date might help you feel more attracted.
Before You Make Those Dinner Ressies...
Think of it this way...wouldn't you rather spend $7 for 2 Cappuccinos at Starbucks than $30 for lunch, just to do an initial in-person screening?
We strongly recommend telling your date that you'd be happy to meet for a specified amount of time, say 45 minutes or an hour. If you don't, you may find yourself in the awkward position of realizing that you have zero attraction to your date, and 59 minutes left with no escape hatch. You can get through almost anything for 60 minutes unless the person is bizarre, in which case you can whip out your cell phone, pretend that it was vibrating, and tell your date that you need to leave unexpectedly. (Of course, you can always just tell the person that you just don't feel a connection). Done and done.
In general, avoid places and situations that:
- Go on for more than 1 hour.
- Are more than the cost of a lunch or a brief, very casual dinner.
- Trap you.
Here are some of the worst ideas for the pre-date:
1. Full Dinner at a Nice Place
The double commitment of time and money will be simply too much if your date fizzles out in the first minute. If you have to do dinner, make it brief, extremely casual, and dutch.
2. Dancing, Karaoke, Or...
...any place that may embarrass you or your date. Keep it neutral.
3. Places Where Alcohol is Served
Alcohol warps your judgement. You want your wits about when assessing this person.
4. Places With Just...The Two of You
Even if safety is not an issue, it's just a bit too creepy to be meeting in remote locales with a stranger. Besides, social situations allow you to better assess that person.
5. Religious or Political Places
Forget meeting at a house of worship--even if you are both share the same religion. Ditto for a political environment. Make it light and simple--coffee shop or snack.
6. A movie
Well, duh! Don't take the easy way out. Use this opportunity to get to know your new date. Save this for a later time.
If you made it through the pre-date, and still want to move on, here are some good ideas for something other than a coffee-shop date.