First Date 101: 6 First Dates to Avoid

Having good first date strategy can make or a break things with a potential love interest. Good first dates almost always lead to second dates, while bad ones…not so much. We discussed first date theory in our previous publication: First Date 101: It’s all about R.A.C. So you already know what you’re trying to accomplish on a first date: Rapport, Attraction, and Comfort. We also gave a few tips and pointers in that article, so definitely read that as well if you’re looking to perfect your first date strategy.

In this article, we’re going to give you some immediately actionable advice, by giving you 6 first date ideas that you should generally avoid. Some might be obvious to you, but others are probably going to surprise you. We’ll start with the obvious.

1. Movie Dates

Going to the movies is a standard date. It’s not even a bad date. Movies are cost efficient, don’t require eating or drinking, usually occur at night, and are fun. However, they are very bad first dates. The reason is clear: you can’t talk during a movie. One of the core principles of first dates is rapport. To have a good first date, building rapport, best done through verbal communication, is crucial. If you can’t speak for the vast majority of a date, it’s best reserved for later dates, once some rapport has been established. In other words, save the movie dates for later on.

2. Night Clubs

People at a night club
Night clubs are fun, but not good for first dates

Night clubs are a decent place to meet women, depending on the situation. They are a horrible place to bring a girl on a first date. On a first date, you want to build rapport, attraction, and comfort. A night club is a bad spot to do every one of those things. Night clubs are too loud to really talk that much, so rapport building is out. Night clubs are bustling with loud music, energy, and people. That can be fun, but it’s hardly comfortable. Building comfort is quite difficult at a night club.

The only element of a first date that you may have success developing at a night club is attraction. However, even that is way more difficult at a club than at other venues. The reason is competition. Night clubs are filled with attractive people vying for others’ attention. No guy out on the prowl at a night club cares that your date is “with you”, and on a first date, there’s even a chance “your girl” won’t care either! The last thing you want on a first date, before you two have really connected, is other guys making moves on your date. That is virtually guaranteed to happen at a busy night club.

3. Group Activities

A double date on in a “setup” situation notwithstanding, group activities are generally bad ideas for first dates. On a first date, you want to build a connection with your date. Group activities are fun, but attention is diluted. The best first dates are dates where you and your date can focus on each other exclusively. This makes it easier for your (and her) positive qualities to stand out. It also makes it easier to communicate with each other, since there are no others competing for air time.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dating, so we do want to note a potential exception to “no group activities for first dates”: If you are regularly the ‘alpha’ in the group, there is a potential to build significant attraction by showing how you are the life of the party / life of the group early on in “courtship”. However, if you aren’t 100% sure you are that guy, it isn’t worth it. First dates should be one on one activities.

4. Sporting Activities

Sports are fun to do together, but also platonic. Save them for later in a relationship.

When we mean sporting activities, we don’t mean bowling or pool. Those are actually pretty good first dates. We’re talking sports that involve vigorous physical activity and sweat. Tennis, a spin class, doing a 5K together, even a yoga class. Those are usually bad ideas for a first date.

This might be surprising because on the surface, doing a sport together seems like it ticks all the necessary boxes: You’re doing an activity together and communicating verbally, which is great for rapport. If you’re good, you are also showing off some of your skills, which helps build attraction. You’re also doing something fun, which helps makes things comfortable.

However, despite all of these benefits, we still recommend saving sporting activities for later. The reason is sports are not typically associate with romance. This runs you a pretty significant risk of connecting on a platonic, and not romantic level. That is a major negative of a sporting activity on a date, which is why we only recommend them once a romantic vibe has already been established.

5. Overly Extravagant Dates

Helicopter ride around the city. Court-side seats to a Lakers game. Picking your date up by private jet. Basically, if you’ve seen it on “Millionaire Matchmaker”, it’s probably a bad first date idea. Overly extravagant first dates are fun stories for your date to tell her friends about, but they are rarely more “successful” than standard first dates and can often make your date feel uncomfortable and obligated.

Another reason overly extravagant dates are sometimes ineffective is because what you’re really trying to do on a first date is get her to like you. When the date is overly extravagant, it isn’t going to be clear to your date if she’s having a good time because of you, or because she’s sitting front row at a concert of her favorite band (concerts are, like, movies, typically bad ideas for first dates). You don’t want to leave this important point to chance: you want your date to know that she had a good time because of you, not because the date activity was fun.

6. Meeting for Coffee

Couple on a coffee date
Coffee Dates — one of the most common first dates — are a mistake

Because this view is so controversial, we are going to devote an entire article to this point at a later stage. But the reality is, despite being one of the most popular first dates of all time: it’s a bad one.

It’s actually surprising that most people think coffee is a good first date. Sure, it’s good for rapport building and communication. That is important. However, pretty much the only other “benefit” of a coffee date is that it is low investment: it’s just coffee. Unfortunately, this isn’t a benefit, it’s actually a major reason why coffee dates are terrible first dates (we’ll go into this important point in more detail later).

Coffee dates, during the day, are low investment, platonic activities that you’re likely to do with your dad or “that friend of a friend who just moved to town you don’t really want to meet”. They aren’t romantic and do nothing to build attraction. Save the coffee shop for quick meetups with friends, casual business meetings, and “the sister of the friend of a friend”.

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