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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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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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