You plucked up the courage and asked her on a date. Well done! *applause* Now for the next step: choosing the activity. There are millions of date ideas floating around out there on the World Wide Web, but has anyone ever told you where not to take a first date? From the “dating experts” at LDS.net, we give you the ultimate list of first date no-no’s:
1. Hot Tubbing
Don’t get us wrong, a swimming date can be awesome, but a hot tubbing date, well . . . it sends a totally different message. Sure, potentially you can sit there and get to know each other, but really, who wants to get to know anyone in a steaming puddle of human soup? (Pardon the visual.) If you want a nice place to chat, grabbing some ice cream or even going on a hike says “class” in a way hot tubbing never will.
2. Family Events
Looking to overwhelm your date right off the bat? A family event is a great way to do just that. You may really love your family—and you may be certain that she will too—but we guarantee that on date numero uno she wants to get to know you, not your relatives. Besides, first dates are stressful enough without plunging your date into a roomful of strangers. There’s no rush on either person’s part. So, take our advice and leave your families out of the early dating process.
3. The Temple
We absolutely believe that everyone should attend the temple as often as they can! But taking a date there? Nope, don’t do it. For one, attending the temple should be a very personal experience. In a way, you’re asking your date to share something more personal and profound with you than most people care to express by even the fourth or fifth date. You have no right to “test” her spirituality, and it’s wildly inappropriate to show off yours. Trust us; a fun, simple date will do.
Additionally, the feelings you experience in the temple can be deep, even powerful. You may, for example, experience a sense of peace while you’re there (and so may she), but if you then jump to conclusions about where and towards whom those feelings should be applied, you could be doing some serious misinterpreting.
4. Mission Reunions
And while we’re on the subject of misinterpreting, let’s talk about mission reunions. It’s awesome to reconnect with the people from your mission, and bringing a friend is no big deal. But by bringing a date, you’re just asking for people to jump to conclusions. Not only is that unfair to your date, but it’s unfair to you, too. Unless, of course, she was on the same mission and wants to attend, we suggest planning a date that involves a lot less public pressure.
5. General Conference
Like going to the temple, general conference should be a personal experience. Of course, you’ll probably be surrounded by family and friends as you listen, but taking a date (by sheer definition of the word) turns general conference into a two-person activity. That means sharing your thoughts, your goals, your impressions, and your notes—all very personal things to most people. If you’re seriously dating someone, watching general conference together can be a great way to strengthen the relationship. But for a first, second, or third date? Yeah, no.
We’ve already mentioned some reasons for staying away from “spiritual” first dates (personal space being the big one), but there’s something else you might want to consider as well: for the person being baptized, this an incredibly special experience, and the fact that you’ve been invited to share that experience with them is a wonderful privilege. Emphasis on privilege. Baptisms are not open houses; inviting your own list of guests—even if there’s only one—probably isn’t the best way to show respect for the baptizee, or the girl you invited, for that matter.
Speaking of open houses, a wedding might seem like the perfect place to bring a date, right? Wrong. A steady girlfriend, maybe, but not a first date for several good reasons. First and foremost, you may have the whole don’t-bring-up-the-“m”-word-on-a-first-date thing down (the “m” word is “marriage,” in case you didn’t guess), but inviting your date to a wedding is basically the same thing. In fact, it’s worse. Second, like mission reunions, weddings often host curious guests. Even if you think your date can handle a little gossip, it’s rude to ask her to.
8. Ice Skating
This may seem like an odd one, but hear us out. Every guy (and girl, frankly) knows if you want to hold a girl’s hand, you take her ice skating. The idea itself is pretty adorable, but asking that of a first date is . . . well, to put it lightly, it’s cheating. Like you, your date always has the right to choose how much physical contact she’s willing to allow. So, while choosing an activity that forces physical contact might seem like a cute idea, what you’re actually communicating is that you’ve just made the choice for her. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Other examples may include Haunted Houses, roller skating, or even watching a movie at someone’s house (to cuddle or not to cuddle: that is the question).
9. Weird Stuff
Each of these could be their own item, but we thought we’d do a basic skim-over of these random-but-crucial examples:
- Taking a girl to a very secluded spot – especially if she doesn’t know you very well.
- Going on a double date with an engaged or married couple – they’re going to be all over each other and it’s going to be uncomfortable.
- Choosing an activity that requires active wear – you want her to be comfortable, and asking her to wear a swimming suit or running pants probably won’t help.
- Taking her on a dangerous date – she won’t be able to focus on getting to know you if she’s afraid for her life.
- Choosing a “marathon” date – be considerate of her schedule and her stamina.
- Taking your date to a make-out point – just don’t. Rude. Gross.
- Blind-siding your date when the rest of the group cancels – be respectful and reschedule with her beforehand.
What we’re ultimately saying is think your ideas through carefully. A date doesn’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable, and it certainly shouldn’t ever make anyone feel uncomfortable.
10. Anything She Wouldn’t Like
It’s important to find out what your date does and doesn’t like to do. For example, she may not be a very active person, in which case asking her to climb a mountain with you probably isn’t a good idea. She may be allergic to certain foods, as another example, or she may just not be a fan of certain activities, like bowling or watching scary movies. Now, you probably don’t want to just flat out ask “so, whaddya wanna do?” because that shows a lack of planning on your part. Plan at least three options and then let her decide. It will then be her responsibility to be honest, of course, but you’ll have given her the opportunity to speak up if she wants to.
Some of you may be looking at this list, thinking, “Wow, girls are picky.” Some might be, but no one likes to be uncomfortable. Just plan a fun, simple opportunity to get to know each other, be yourself, and you’ll do great. We promise.
What kinds of activities have worked for you (even if the sparks didn’t fly)? List them in the comment box below.