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21 First Date Ideas

21 First Date Ideas

First date is always important because it’s where you drop your first impression and most importantly, it plays a big role to determine whether or not this relationship will work out.

It’s just like choosing what to read. Let’s not talk about the book cover (I know, I know, Don’t just a book by its cover!) so now we all judge by how the story begins. No matter how amazing the storyline is, if the introduction failed to grab readers’ attention, no one is going to read it because no one likes to get their time wasted. Relationship works this way too.

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If you need ideas to secure your first date and your own impression, You’ve come to the right place! When I first started dating, my idea of a date was the stereotypical cheap-dinner-and-a-movie. Don’t hate on me, I didn’t know any better! By the time I finished high school I was pretty comfortable in my own skin and got pretty good at coming up with ideas for dates. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites as well as some suggested by friends. Enjoy!

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Outdoor Adventures

  1. Go for a walk – This is such a simple first date idea but most shy away from it because they feel like they must do something complex in order for their date to be impressed. Wrong! The only ideas you need to impress your date with are the ones that you articulate as your conversation progresses. If you are an interesting person and have found a fun person to spend time with, rest assured that a walk about town will be just fine. Remember, the idea is to leave your date wanting more. As a warning, you may be tempted to start talking about previous relationships. Don’t. That’s not how to get over an ex. Rather, enjoying the company of a fun new person without dwelling on the past will serve you best!
  2. Watch an outdoor movie – Going to a movie is pretty worn out in the world of first date ideas. You can resurrect it in a fun way by going to see a movie outdoors or, even better, at a drive-in movie theater if you still happen to have one near where you live.
  3. Create your own picnic – Pick a nice spot near where you’re meeting up and swing by a grocery store or take-out restaurant for some quick eats before setting up camp for food and conversation with your new favorite person. There’s no need to spend a lot of money. Picnics are supposed to be simple and you want it to be about getting to know your date, not truffles wrapped in gold foil!
  4. Go boating – The idea of sailing on a first date seems like a recipe for disaster but something milder, like canoeing, row boating, or taking a paddle boat out on a sunny afternoon would work well. Admittedly, the last time I took a girl on a paddle boat for a date we both ended up soaking wet with marsh moss in our hair. It was amazing though!
  5. Go for a run together – If running is your idea of a good time, an easy run with a new friend can make for a great date!
  6. Volunteer at a soup kitchen – One of the best first dates I’ve ever been on involved meeting up with a woman at 5:30am to serve breakfast at the local soup kitchen. Not only did we get to know each other better but we got to do something worthwhile that helped our community. It’s hard to come up with a reason why giving back to your community could be considered a bad idea for a first date! If you don’t have a soup kitchen or other short-order volunteer opportunity, be creative and come up with your own. There is always somebody nearby who could use some help if we are willing to give it.
  7. Get up insanely early and be the first customers at your favorite breakfast joint – You’ll get a chance to chat before the restaurant gets busy and have time to do some people-watching when the regulars start pouring in. Note: If you find somebody who is cool with rolling out of bed early to join you for a breakfast date, it’d be a bad idea to let them get away!

Indoor Sweetness

  1. Take an intro yoga or other fitness class – If you’re really out of shape, this might not be a great idea for a first date. Otherwise, pick a class that will fit both of your fitness levels and have some fun! You should know that getting hot and sweaty
  2. Visit a psychic – Everybody likes to know the future, well, at least a prediction of it!
  3. Visit a shut-in – This might not seem like it belongs on a list of first date ideas but if you step away from your preconceptions, I think you might consider it and even try it out. Visiting people who are unable to get out and enjoy regular social interactions isn’t just a worthwhile use of your time. It gives you a chance to learn a bit about the character of your date. Is he or she willing to spend time with people who are in need? If your date is unkind it will only be a matter of time before that unkindness is pointed at you. Seek the good hearts!
  4. Play video games – Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox, it doesn’t matter. If your date is into video games and you’ve got strong thumbs, it might be time for a bit of virtual smackdown! Just be careful not to beat your date too badly at whatever video game you decide to play. You don’t want your first date ideas to turn into video-game-inspired revenge ideas.
  5. Take a music lesson together – Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or some other instrument? Inviting a date along for a partner lesson at a local music school might be a fun way to start your lesson and get the much-dreaded first date out of the way.
  6. Go to a used bookstore – It can be a new bookstore if you insist. It doesn’t matter! If you and your date enjoy reading and perusing books, hitting up a bookstore on a first date may just end up being one of the ideas that sets you on a quick course to true love.
  7. Go gift shopping – Not for each other, but for somebody else. Perhaps you need to pick up a gift for your sister or some other relative and you need some insight into the process? Ask your date to give you some in-motion advice and perhaps even pick up something small for each other. Trinkets only. Save the cars and fur coats for later dates!

Play It Safe Ideas

  1. Take a cooking class together – Check your local community college or continuing education program for listings of cooking classes you can take if there isn’t a culinary school to be found.
  2. Visit a tourist hot spot in your town that neither of you has been to before – Even if you’ve been living in the same place for years, there’s a great chance that you’ll have missed at least a few interesting places in your community. If it turns out that your chosen spot is a dud, get creative and come up with a few quick ideas to finish off your date. Most will give you a lot of slack if little things go wrong. Just keep the conversation interesting and the venue won’t be such a killer.
  3. Attend a local film or music festival – It’s a rare individual who won’t enjoy a local festival at least a bit. This is a pretty safe bet for anybody but the most boring of people.
  4. Meet up for a drink – This is one of the safest, and therefore one of the most-used first date ideas. You can make things a bit more adventurous by visiting a jazz club or finding a bar that will teach you to make new drinks. Of course, you could always go and grab some bottled water.
  5. Visit a new restaurant – There’s a bit of risk in eating at a new restaurant because you can’t be sure of the quality but this first date idea still makes the “safe” list because it’s not hugely risky.
  6. Eat in – Do you already have great cooking skills? If so, break ’em out for an early dinner! You might want to check for possible food allergies before you start sharing your iron chef skills though.
  7. Phone it in – Oh yeah, the date that consists entirely of talking into a small electronic device. This one is for all you cyber dating pros out there looking for first date ideas like you planned on doing something other than talking on your phone.All jokes aside, there are some benefits to phoning in. Sure, you don’t get to see your date’s face while you’re talking, but that also means that you don’t have to get dressed up or worry about what your face looks like. See? Might not be a bad idea.

Things to keep in mind on your first date

So now I guess you have sufficient ideas on where to go on your first date. Still, I would like to remind you some of the important things that you need to keep in mind if you want your first date to be perfect!

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  1. Don’t be late. This is a common rule but a lot of people still fail to do so. No one likes to spend their timing waiting and being late is simply disrespectful. Give yourself enough time to prepare and try to arrive the location 10-15 mins earlier. If you are running late, make sure you give your date a call or text so they can go to a cafe or find somewhere to sit while waiting for you.
  2. Don’t get over-dressed. I know how that feel, you want to look perfect for your date and try very hard to dress up to impress them. However, it’s best to dress according to the event you are going to. Imagine if you guys are going for pinic and you are in suit or high heels, that would be super awkward for both of you. I am pretty sure you won’t impress him/her for this.
  3. Don’t talk about past relationship. Either asking or talking about them are a big “NO-NO”. This is something very personal to ask on a first date because you are not sure whether your date is comfortable to talk about it. Talking about your ex might also leave your date an impression that you still haven’t moved on yet.
  4. Don’t get too drunk. If you can’t control yourself when you are drunk, I am pretty sure you know what to do. Also, it’s always nice to stay a sharp mind to remember all the things that happened on your first dates so you guys can start to build on memories and topics to talk about on your next date.
  5. Do offer to split the bill. If you are a guy and you feel comfortable to pay the bill, that’s very nice of you. But for ladies, don’t just sit there and expect people to pay for your meal, it’s always nice to offer help on the bill! It shows that you are friendly and considerable person. Of course, if the guy insist to pay, just let them do the job and don’t argue over it.
  6. Don’t focus on talking about yourself. Who doesn’t love to understood? Dates are supposed to be chances for you guys to know more about each other before getting into a relationship (or friendship, oops) So if you can’t help to blablabla about yourself, you will leave an impression of you not interested in your dates. Always remember it’s not a stand-up comedy, it’s a CONVERSAION. Try to ask your dates about their interests, jobs and hobbies, nothing too serious and personal!
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More by this author

Seth Simonds

Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

More About Self-Learning

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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