Make Your First Date a Coffee Date!
What is the best, safest and most open way to meet someone face-to-face the first time?
There can be no better way than a carefully planned coffee date.
Not a dinner date, too formal and sometimes comes with expectations that may turn the encounter into an uncomfortable time.
Not going to see a movie, forced quiet in a large dark room surrounded by strangers does not give you time to evaluate the person, plus you’re sitting side-by-side so you have no visual to watch their body language.
Not a hike, the last place you want to be is alone in a forest with someone you’re meeting for the first time.
The coffee date for a first face-to-face meeting checks all the right boxes
Your coffee date should be for the mid-late afternoon, an hour or so after lunch, or early evening an hour or so before dinner time. The essentials being that the coffee date takes place in daylight hours and is set for 20 to 30 minutes, no longer.
You appearance should be dressy casual, a nice shirt/sweater, maybe clean jeans (new-ish not tattered) or khaki pants. No 2 piece suits for the man, no dresses or skirts for the ladies, you want to be comfortable, remember, it’s just coffee, right?
Prepare yourself for a long 20 minutes of chit chat and asking/answering questions. Preparation includes deciding what to ask and how you’d answer the same. Don’t worry about saying things like “Isn’t that a third date question?” instead of feeling that you need to answer everything. Try to keep the questions open ended and the other person talking. Surprisingly enough, people do like to talk about themselves more that hearing about others and you’ll easily come off a winner by letting the other person talk. Of course, this could backfire if they are “boorish” and have a self-importance personality that was not previously displayed, but at least you’ll know more about the person and it’s only 20 minutes out of your life rather than an entire evening (or heaven help us, a lifetime!)
Keep away from talking about religion, politics and environmental issues. Stick to a plan of current events, parental upbringing topics and growing up remembrances as safe topics of conversation. Be sure to read today’s newspaper to have some material to fall back on if there happens to be any silent periods or lulls in the steady flow of your conversation.
Open-ended questions to get to know someone on a coffee date, such as these, are a great starting point for your conversation:
- What would you say had the biggest influence on you when you were growing up?
- Did both of your parents work?
- Where did (do) you spend your summers?
- Did you ever (do you) have pets?
- Do you watch any TV shows regularly?
- What’s the last movie you went out to see?
- What type of music would I find in your CD player?
- What’s the last book you read (or who is your favorite author)?
- What would be your dream career?
- What is the most modern piece of technology you own?
These open-ended questions will allow for a variety of follow-up questions that will show themselves to you as your meeting continues. You will discover their personality, their worldliness and drive for possessions and travel. Any of these can be good or bad traits, depending on what you find desirable in a person.
When your designated time to end the coffee date nears it is safe to either state that you really don’t have much in common, but thanks for having coffee with me, or to plan a next meeting/date in a couple of days.
Your coffee date should have this type of definite end to it so there are no hard feelings and uncomfortable confrontations later.
Under no circumstances should you go beyond the time you allowed for this date.
Be sure that any family/friends you told about this date are notified when it ends and told how things worked out. Never go to a first date without telling someone and planning a “safe call” when it is over. Your “safe call” can be them calling you to make sure you are OK, or you calling them to say the date is over and you are going home or returning to work, whatever.
This is extremely important:
Meeting someone and getting to know them are two different and distinct stages of any relationship.
We wish you well on your baby steps into a new relationship!
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