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Find out how long a first date should last

First dates can be daunting. But how long should a first date last? Today, we'll explore the answer to this question and offer some tips on how to make sure your first date is a success.

Dating Expert David Hall July 18, 2022 • 8 minutes read
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We all had them: First dates! First dates can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a little daunting. They can be exhilarating, or they can be downright terrifying.

But what many people keep asking themself is how long a first date should last. Today, we’ll answer this question once and for all. Continue reading to find out the truth about how long a first date should last!

First date ideas

First date ideas

Before you can go on a date with someone, you need to have some ideas for potential dates. After all, you need to make a good first impression without seeming like you’re trying too hard. Because if you seem like a try-hard, you already lost.

Here’s a list of some fun and simple first date ideas:

1. A cup of coffee

More than anything, a first date should be about getting to know each other. And what better way to do that than over a cup of coffee?

Most people love coffee, and dates like this are low-pressure and low-stakes, which means that you can just relax and be yourself—no need to worry about impressing your date with an expensive dinner or anything like that.

Additionally, a coffee date is short and sweet most of the time, so if things don’t work out, you won’t have wasted too much time.

2. A walk in the park

Another low-key and easy date idea is to take a walk in the park. Again, this is a great way to just get to know each other and talk without feeling any pressure.

You can also bring your dog along if you have one! This is a great way to make sure that your date is animal-friendly, which is important if you’re looking for a long-term relationship.

Plus, who doesn’t love spending time in nature? Walking in the park is a great way to destress and just enjoy each other’s company.

Another thing to consider is the psychological aspect of a date like this: Both of you will be able to see each other in a relaxed and natural environment, which can give you a better idea of whether or not this person is right for you. You’re walking in the same direction, which also gives you the feeling of cohesiveness.

3. Picnic in the park

If you want to take things up a notch, why not go on a picnic in the park? This is definitely a more romantic option, and it will show your date that you’re thinking about them.

Not to mention, picnics are always a lot of fun! You can pack all sorts of foods and drinks and just enjoy each other’s company. You can even surprise your date with a little something special, like their favorite food or drink.

This is also a great date idea if you’re on a budget because it’s relatively cheap to put together. All you need is some food, drinks, and a blanket, and you’re good to go!

Just make sure to pack enough for both of you, as well as some napkins and cutlery!

4. Dinner and a movie

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, why not go out to dinner and see a movie? This is always a safe option, and it’s perfect for first dates.

You can talk and get to know each other over dinner, and then you can relax and watch a movie during the second half of the date.

If you want, you can even switch things up and see the movie first and then go out to dinner afterward. That way, you can talk about the movie while eating!

The great thing about this date option is that it’s really versatile. You can go to a fancy restaurant for dinner, or you can keep things casual with fast food. It’s entirely up to you!

And as for the movie, you can either see something new that just came out, or you can go for a classic.

5. Cocktails at a bar

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, why not go for cocktails at a bar? This is always a great option because it gives you a chance to chat and get to know each other over drinks.

You can also order some appetizers to share if you’re feeling hungry. Just make sure to pace yourself with the drinking!

The great thing about this date idea is that it’s perfect for any time of day. Whether you want to do a daytime date or an evening date, cocktails at a bar will always be a good option.

How long should a first date last

Now that we’ve gone over some great first date ideas, let’s talk about how long a first date should last. What you probably noticed is that most of these date ideas are rather short. This is intentional because you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself or your date.

Do you want more tips on first dates? Find out how to act on a first date!

So, what’s the perfect length? There are some rules to that:

1. Give yourself enough time to get to know each other

Give yourself enough time to get to know each other

You want to make sure that the first date is relaxed and enjoyable, so you don’t want it to be too long. Ideally, a first date should last around 1-2 hours. This will give you enough time to talk and get to know each other.

This is also backed by most dating coaches, who have the same advice on the matter: “A first date should last anywhere from one to two hours. If it goes well, you can always extend an invitation for a second date.”

But there is no single answer to this question since it varies so much from person to person. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep things relatively short and sweet – especially if you’re not entirely sure how the other person feels about you or how you feel about them.

2. The date should be short enough to bail on if it’s not going well

The date should be short enough to bail on if it's not going well

On the other hand, you don’t want the date to be so short that you feel like you can’t bail on it if it’s not going well. This is why it’s important to have a time limit in mind. If things start going poorly, you can always end the date early without feeling guilty.

Because imagine the following: you two are on a hike together that’s about four hours long. And it’s going really poorly. You don’t have anything in common, you’re both really tired, your date is talking non-stop about boring stuff, and the only thing you can think about is how much you want this date to be over. Well, now you’re stuck with another three hours to go!

That’s horrible, right? So it’s better to plan a short and sweet coffee date instead. That way, if things go poorly, you can always leave without feeling too bad about it.

3. If you two really click, you can always extend the date

If you two really click, you can always extend the date

On the other hand, if things are going well, then you can always extend the date if you want. So if the two of you don’t have any plans, you can just continue talking or spend some more hours together.

But if you do have plans, then you can always reschedule for another day and have a second date. This is totally up to you and your date!

There’s no need to feel pressure to end the date at a certain time. Just go with the flow and see where things take you. The best advice I could give is to just follow your gut instinct.

In conclusion, there is no single answer to the question “How long should a first date last?” It all depends on you and your date. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep things short and sweet. That way, you can bail if it’s not going well or extend the date if it is! So go out there and have fun!

And if you’re still not sure what to do on your first date, remember that you can always go for coffee, drinks, or a walk in the park. These are all great options that will give you a chance to get to know each other better. So don’t stress about it too much – just relax and enjoy yourself!

If you need even more help, you should check out these links:

The truth about dating: Books you need to read

If you’re looking for advice on how to have more success when it comes to dating, then you’ll want to check out these reads. Each can teach you something different about the process, from being more confident in yourself to reading other people’s signals correctly. So whether you’re just starting or have been dating for a while and could use help, check out these titles.

  1. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
  2. Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
  3. Seriously, This Is Online Dating?: How to Love Yourself Harder and Date Smarter
  4. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
  5. Things You Should Already Know About Dating, You F*cking Idiot
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Author picture of David Hall
Dating Expert

David Hall

David Hall is a self-taught dating expert who works as a freelance writer to help people improve their love lives. He has always been interested in dating, physical attraction, and …

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