The couple of hours that you spend with someone on a the first date can be the make-it-or-break-it of the relationship. It is already nerve-wracking enough to leave a good impression, but you also have the stress of finding a place that you will both have fun in and will not be bored at. Here are some tips to come up with a couple of ideas to ease that stress and help your first date go smoothly.

What are your common interests?

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You may be someone who would rather spend a free Sunday evening watching Family Guy on Netflix and your date would rather go downtown to check out the new science museum exhibit. However, do not think about the differences that you have. What was the thing that made you click? Did you bond over rock-climbing, reminiscing about childhood treats, or finally beating the last level of a certain video game? A date does not always have to be at a coffee shop or a bar. Find an activity you would both like to do and center your date around that.

What is something that you both would want to do?

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If you both got excited about the new Star Wars movie or the new stand-up comedy show that is coming up, now is a good chance to go together and experience it. It will give you something to look forward to and also help you seem thoughtful since you remember that your date would like to go see it as well. At least if it is a total bomb, it is not your fault.

If you both have dogs…

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One way to spend a first date together is to bring your pets out. You can simply stroll around your neighborhood or go running in the dog park. There are also some pet-friendly cafes that you can visit. Not only are they man’s best friend, but studies have shown that simply petting a dog helps release oxytocin -- also known as the “love hormone”. It causes people to be more empathetic, bond easier, and also more relaxed. Not only will the dogs help add more fun, it will also give you something to talk about if conversation falls flat. In addition, if the date does not turn out exactly how you expected, you can always use your dog as an excuse.

Volunteer at an event together.

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There are so many places and events which need volunteers you are bound to find one that suits both your interests. Animal shelters, locals races, fairs, and food pantries will often need and welcome volunteers. Not only will you be spending your time giving back, it helps add to a conversation. In addition, it is a unique experience that you will bound to remember.

What are your favorite places in town?

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If the both of you are from the local area, take each other to your favorite places and show off what you love about that place. Although it may not be a common interest, it helps give you more insight into each other. You can use it to learn more about each other without having boring old “tell me about yourself” conversation”. If your date’s favorite place is a mom-and-pop ice cream shop because that is where he or she spent most of their days after school and it brings back a lot of memories, you can use that as a conversation point.

Take a complimentary class together

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If you live in a large city, there are many places that offer free first classes. This is a great way to learn more about each other’s hobbies and talents. In fact, you may even discover that you have a hidden talent. Depending on your interests, you can do anything from pottery, painting, baking, and even aerial yoga. And here is a bonus, if the first class goes well, both of you can sign up for subsequent classes and go together for future dates -- taking the stress off of finding another idea for a second date. How’s that for killing two birds with one stone?

Those are some ideas for a first date that do not involve drinking alcohol or sitting at a coffee shop awkwardly talking to each other in an alternating question and answer pattern. Remember to have fun and make sure you both enjoy the place you will be choosing. Hopefully, this can help you alleviate some stress about your first date and help you score a second one!

Photo by Stanford Smith on Unsplash

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