Just like politics, there are lots of heavily debated topics when it comes to dating. If you walked out on the street right now and asked 20 people the question, “Should I take her to coffee on the first date?” you’d probably get an equal amount of yesses and nos. We’re a nation divided, folks.
But the funny thing is, we all want the same thing. Most people would probably agree they want a first date to be fun, maybe somewhat romantic, but then again, not too presumptuous (a candlelit dinner for a Tinder match you never met is definitely too much). Plus, you don’t want it to be too expensive. And easy parking would be awesome. Pretty straightforward criteria, right? So you’d think we’d all agree on whether a first date coffee fits the bill.
Instead, some people say it’s a bad idea. If you’re anti-coffee, you probably wonder, how can you dress to impress without looking dumb, since you’re just going to Starbucks? What if you want to stay after you finish your coffee? And won’t she think you’re cheap?
Well, I’m here to say I’m 100% Team Coffee Date. But making the coffee date work depends on one thing: the place that you choose. We all know there are tons of corporate coffee chains on any given block. But a cute, one-of-a-kind place that serves a great cup of java can turn an ordinary first date into an epic one. A place like Chicago’s The Wormhole Coffee, decorated in hilarious movie props from the ‘80s, is a great example.
All that being said, a killer location is only part of the reason why coffee can make a great first date. So let’s take a closer look … and hopefully settle the debate once and for all.
Should I Take Her to Coffee? 4 Reasons Why You Should
Reason #1: It’s Cheap
I know what you’re thinking: I don’t want her to think I’m cheap! But remember, we’re assuming you’re taking her to a cool coffeehouse — one with unique character and a story behind it, that’s worth telling people about afterwards. If you impress her with a unique enough location, she won’t think about how much money you spent.
Also, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but if it’s a woman you’ve met from a dating site, there’s a chance the date might go south. So if you’ve only spent $7, you’re still winning any way you look at it. What’s the alternative? A $65 bar tab? Imagine how it would feel getting that bill after you sat through two straight hours of her going on and on about her cat.
However, I’m not suggesting that you never cough up any cash. I always recommend men pay for the first three dates, including taking her to a fabulous dinner — as long as it follows this date-plan blueprint:
Spend $10, no more. It’s simply not worth investing any more in someone you barely know. Find an interesting place and pick up the tab — but keep the cost within this limit and don’t stay more than one hour.
Assuming you’ve gotten to know each other a bit and are attracted to each other, choose a physical activity for your second date. Not that kind of physical activity. I’m talking about something like biking, beach volleyball, hiking — literally anything active. The physicality of the date will escalate sexual tension between you, since there will be plenty of opportunities to touch each other in innocent ways. And the best part? This date can be absolutely free.
Here’s a few more second date tips for men that’ll help you secure that oh so important third date.
If you make it to the third date, congratulations! This is where you want to impress her, since you know there’s a good chance to develop something more. Don’t be afraid to open your wallet a bit more and take her out to a nice dinner.
Reason #2: It’s Quick
People criticize coffee dates because it keeps you to a tight timeframe, but when you think about it, this is a huge advantage. For one thing, it gives you an escape route. What if your date doesn’t look like her profile photos? What if she turns out to be unstable, or otherwise doesn’t work out? Well, you’ve only spent a few minutes of your day. On to the next one.
As you saw in my date-plan blueprint above, one rule of mine is to keep first dates under an hour. This gives you plenty of time to order a coffee, find a place to sit, and go through a few first date questions designed to get to help you get to know her. After it’s all said and done, the whole thing shouldn’t take you longer than 30-45 minutes.
Now you might be wondering, can you really get to know someone in that short of a time? The answer is, not really. But that’s not the point of a first date. On the first date, you just want to see if she qualifies as someone you could spend more time with. You’re trying to get a quick read on whether she’s a “yes” or “no.” If she’s a “yes,” then keeping the date to under an hour is perfect, because hopefully by the end, both of you will be curious enough about each other to set up a second date.
Finally, coffee is a great first date idea when you’re MegaDating. The goal of MegaDating is to fill your calendar with as many dating prospects as possible, so you keep your standards and confidence level high. If you’re going on a large number of dates, one-hour coffees are convenient because you can stack them up back-to-back on the same day (provided you can drink that much coffee!).
Reason #3: You’ll Get to Know Each Other While Sober
Of course, drinking alcohol on a first date is tempting. It can calm first date nerves and generally make things seem more fun, even when they aren’t. But, let’s face it: You’ll be much more aware and present during the date if you’re drinking a cup of coffee versus a scotch. That means you’ll remember much more of what she says, which has several advantages.
One of them is, she’ll feel more valued and listened to. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it’ll help you focus on the conversation and the details of what she’s saying. You’ll be more interactive with her and giving better cues that you’re listening, which will make her feel like she’s important and interesting to you. (Trust me, you want to make her feel like this if she’s someone worth pursuing.)
Not only that, but you’ll get valuable information to help you plan your next date. As she’s talking, she’ll probably reveal details about things she likes — activities, foods, different neighborhoods in the city, etc. By the end of the first date, you could turn some of this information into a suggestion for a second date.
To do this, you should use a TDL (Time, Date, Location) to really seal the deal. Basically, when you ask for the second date, you want to make it specific by including all three of these elements, so it’s super clear and you get a direct answer. So for example, let’s say during the first date, she said her favorite food is sushi and she just moved to your city’s downtown. You might say something like, “Let’s get together again next Friday at Sugarfish — the one on 7th St. in downtown is pretty close to you, and their rainbow rolls are amazing. I can pick you up at 7:30?” If she’s into you, you’ll have a second date on the books in no time.
Reason #4: It’s Safe
Safety is probably a non-issue for most men when it comes to dating, but for women, it’s everything. Women are usually at a physical disadvantage to men, so we’re much more aware of our safety in dating situations. A guy can walk into a blind date without feeling fear, but for women it’s different. It’s horrible to say, but given that 1 in 6 women have been victims of rape or attempted rape (vs. 1 in 33 men), there’s an undercurrent of fear many women have of meeting up with strange men.
This brings us to the advantage of the coffee date. While some people will have a coffee at night, most of the time, coffee dates will take place in the morning or afternoon. This makes the date feel much safer from the woman’s perspective. It’s easy for her to say yes to going out at 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon than meeting someone after dark — especially if it’s an unfamiliar neighborhood or involves public transportation. Do her a favor (and make it a no-brainer for her to say yes) by suggesting coffee.
So, Is Coffee a Good First Date? Absolutely
By now, you should be convinced — so it’s time to start planning your coffee date. First, make sure to visit the coffee shop you’d like to meet your next date at ahead of time, and do some investigating. Try and find one with comfy leather couches and clean bathrooms to make sure her experience is not forgettable. Also, remember to stay away from corporate style coffee shops, since they won’t be interesting enough to make the date memorable.
Instead, you want to find a place that has something unique about it that will pique her interest. You’ll have to be able to sell her on your coffee shop idea (especially if she’s one of those people who’s usually not into coffee dates) so make sure you choose an epic one. In other words … don’t be basic!
That said, even with all the information out there, you still might struggle with date planning. Coming up with date ideas that make women want to say yes can be difficult, not to mention a lot of pressure. But learning to do it is important if you want to get the most out of your dating efforts.
A coach like myself can help you fine tune your ideas so they’re compelling and give you the results you’re looking for. Book a 1-on-1 New Client Skype session with me to get personalized feedback on your date ideas and strategies, so that when you find the woman you’re looking for, you’re ready to delight her with a good time. During the session we’ll also diagnose any other dating issues that might be holding you back from success, create a strategy, and see if my 3-month coaching program could be a fit for you.