The 10 Worst Places For A First Date, According To Matchmakers

Planning a first date isn’t easy, especially when you’re stumped on where to go. You want to find a neutral environment, where you and your date both feel comfortable and on equal footing. (In other words, don’t take him or her to a local bar where you’re a regular ― and don’t even think about suggesting “Netflix and chill,” even ironically.) 

What other locations and activities are best avoided on the first date? Below, dating experts share 10 common first date plans that are either painfully uncreative or simply a bad idea. 

“This says to your date that your level of investment in them is basically worth $7.50. Obviously you want to meet someone who is happy to chow down on some delicious Chipotle grub but that will be later on. First dates are a chance for you to say, ‘Hey, I want you to feel amazing when you are with me and take you somewhere special.’ Give them something to remember, not a barbacoa burrito bowl.” ― Jenny Apple, matchmaker in Los Angeles, California 

“People want to go somewhere fast casual so they have an ‘escape’ if the date doesn’t go well while also filling up their bellies. The thing is, you don’t have to make every second of your life so efficient, especially when you’re looking for love.” ―Katie Chen, co-founder of Catch Matchmaking in Southern California 

“This is not a date ― this is a booty call. You can always tell how a relationship is going to end by the way that it starts in the beginning. In this case, there would probably be no real respect or courtship throughout the relationship since there was not even an effort to make a real first date.” ― Lori Zaslow, co-founder of Project Soulmate, a matchmaking service in New York City 

“’Netflix and chill’ is among the worst on this list, as it insinuates that you’re simply lazy, cheap or lack creativity. It also suggests you’re looking for an easy hookup. Any chivalry and courtship is completely thrown out the window here!” ― Amy Andersen, founder and CEO of Linx Dating in San Francisco 

“A dive bar where ‘everybody knows your name’ suggests you’re the type of person who needs to stay in your comfort zone. Plus, everyone is going to be in your business because you’re a regular there.” ― Jacqueline Nichols, a matchmaker in Portland, Oregon

“This is a bad idea for two reasons: First, your date doesn’t need to know you are a regular at a bar. And second, your potential drunken shenanigans are not likely to leave the greatest first impression.” ― Ashley Arn, a matchmaker and dating coach based in Santa Monica, California

“Family gatherings are a bad idea. No one wants to get grilled by your aunt about when the two of you will be having kids on a first date.” ― Francesca Hogi, a matchmaker and love coach based in New York City 

“I’m not sure why anyone with their brain intact would want to spend time having their family judge their new date. That’s torture. First dates are for you two to get to know each other free from any distraction. Your date will not be able to be themselves if they see you trying to do a family intro too soon.” ― Jenny Apple

“Some people consider certain exercise classes part of their lifestyle. With that in mind, heading to a class on a first date may seem like the best way for their dates to get acquainted with it. But you can get to know each other’s lifestyles without having to gasp for air and drip sweat. Resist the urge to do cardio on the first date.” ― May Hui, co-founder of Catch Matchmaking in Southern California 

“While some men and women might get excited that you are into the same fitness cult class as them, most people want to present their best looking (and smelling!) self on a date, not a sweaty version. Once you find out what kind of workout your date is into, then you can suggest going out for a class followed by froyo or a healthy dinner.” ― Jenny Apple

“You’ll have way too many friends at your birthday who’ll want to spend quality time with you. When everyone is focusing on you, the last thing you’ll want to do is babysit a person you barely know.” ― Jennifer Zucher, co-founder of Project Soulmate, a matchmaking service in New York City

“So inappropriate. You’re putting the new person on the spot. This also seems a little desperate, like you’re trying to fill the boyfriend or girlfriend slot for the party. Friends will speculate about your relationship and you won’t have time to give attention and interact with your date throughout the night.” ― Fay Goldman, a matchmaker in New York City 

“The ‘happily ever after’ subtext here is a lot to handle on a first date. And the time commitment of an entire wedding is also asking too much.” ― Francesca Hogi

“A wedding sends very awkward, very confusing signals about your intentions for the future. Plus, your date might need to be cropped out of all the family and friends pictures if it doesn’t work out!.” ― Jacqueline Nichols

“A night out with your friends puts a lot of pressure on your date to not only impress you, but your entire social circle. ― Samantha Burns, a dating coach in the Boston area 

“Group outings can be tempting because it does take the pressure off. I’m not entirely against it, especially because it’s considered a norm for younger generations, but really, a first date should be one-on-one time. This is an opportunity to ask yourself: ‘Do I really want to see this person again?’ It’s hard to ascertain that when you’re being distracted by the group.” ― Neely Steinberg, a dating coach and image consultant in the Boston area 

“This is opposite of someone who plans a first date with an easy escape plan, like Chipotle. A date on this scale is bound to be awkward and make you both feel trapped if you are meeting for the first time and don’t hit it off. It’s best to keep first dates to about an hour to hour and a half. Even if it’s great, leave them wanting more.” ― Katie Chen

“Though traveling together is a great way to determine whether someone is a strong match, this should be saved for at least a month into the new relationship. Plus, research shows that the chance of getting asked out on a second date decreases when your first date lasts longer than 2.5 hours.” ― Samantha Burns 

“Unless you’re Beyonce or Usher, your dance moves might be a turnoff. Moreover, you probably won’t be able to hear each other over the yells of ‘shots, shots, shots’ and thumping house music.” ― Ashley Arn 

“’What? I can’t hear you!’ A good first date requires free flowing conversation and at a loud club you can barely hear yourself speak, let alone the person next to you. Save your first pumps for a later date.” ― Samantha Burns

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