*Sorry to shout. I needed to get your attention.
I get it – online dating can be such a slog. Modern dating in general has its share of complications in the best of circumstances. Do I change my relationship status on Facebook? She didn’t tag me on IG – why do you think that it is?
The understandable frustration and confusion you’re feeling often leads to focusing on the wrong thing. Attacking the coffee date is an example of this tendency. (Expecting to be attracted to a person based on their dating app profile is another.)
I’ve long had the theory that Starbucks is the #1 date spot in America. Practical benefits aside – price, convenience, safety, short time commitment, etc. – many of those coffee dates turn into second and third dates, and beyond.
(These days, there are independent coffee shops everywhere, so if you’re not into Starbucks, don’t let that be an excuse!)
Here are 6 reasons why coffee dates are only boring and a bad first date if you’re boring and/or bad at dating.
Is your intention on a first date to do the most fun, novel thing you can do? To be entertained? Or is it to determine if a romantic connection exists or can be fostered with this person?
If your priority is to do something really fun on a first date, you aren’t dating with the intention of exploring connection. Which is not a judgment, to be clear. But if you’re looking for a relationship, start acting like it. When you meet the right person you’ll have years of thinking of fun and exciting things to do together.
You want to date someone who has their sh*t together – career, friends, their own interests and hobbies, stays in shape, travels, etc. Dating is time consuming. Online dating is a complete crapshoot.
Do you think that person has the time or bandwidth to invest a bunch of time and money in a stranger who might bear no resemblance to the profile that intrigued them? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Would you turn down coffee with Oprah? Would coffee with Oprah be a boring, unimaginative thing to do? Does Oprah need to find some speakeasy you can only enter through a back alley phone booth with a secret code word for it be an interesting experience? Or would you go to coffee with Oprah and try to be your best, most engaging self while soaking up as much Oprahness as you can?
Date like you’re going to coffee with Oprah.
(And yes, as a superfan I know Oprah prefers tea. I’m speaking figuratively!)
You’re not a toddler. You can sit in a lovely armchair, sip on a delicious latte and listen to a Spotify playlist while you chat with a new person for 30 minutes. It’s not that hard. If you’re feeling extra nervous, get your coffee to-go and take a walk while you sip that latte.
There are other ways to stay engaged than doing something “exciting” – I hope you know the magic of getting lost in conversation, or another person’s eyes and the rest of the world falling away. It’s not about the activity, it’s about the connection. (See #3 above.)
You’re not good at dating. It’s not your fault – no one teaches us how to date. If you’ve been on 1,000 coffee dates and haven’t met anyone you connected with, I wouldn’t blame the coffee.
The bigger issue is the disconnect between how you’re presenting yourself, who you’re picking and what’s happening when you meet up. Somewhere in that chain of intentions and actions something is breaking down.
(Don’t see your disconnect? I can show you. Reserve your free session now.)
When I hear people lament on how many coffee dates they’ve been on and how they won’t go on another, it strikes me as odd. Rather than compiling a list of acceptable first date activities, why not focus on meeting someone to have a relationship with? How many more first dates are you planning to have?
Look, I know I’m being harsh. The truth is, if you’re dating enough to complain about coffee dates, you’re dating more than the average single America. In 2018, 56% of single adults didn’t go on a single date.**
I get riled up about topics like this because I want you to actually meet your special someone, dammit! So I don’t want you to focus on the wrong thing. I want you to honor your time and effort enough to insist on dating smarter and more effectively.
Your real job is not to find the most fun first date options, it’s to find the right loving relationship for you. Your focus should be on finding the person who will be your last first date.
**Thanks to Match for this nugget.