Who says your dates have to start off all serious-like with the flowers and fancy candlelit dinner? Sometimes, you can save the heavy stuff for later.
Besides, going in with a set of expectations can put pressure on both of you to "make it work." Having that elephant in the room is NOT how you want kick things off with your guy.
Instead of allowing it to unfold naturally, the forced, awkward vibe could drive a wedge between you two.
Why not start things off nice and slow over a warm cup of joe instead?
In my experience, I've learned that coffee dates are your best bet. I've found it's excellent for easing your way into that delicate getting-to-know-you territory with someone new.
That said, I'm going to share the three steps to help turn your caffeinated meet-up into something more serious down the road.
Before we get into that though, you should also know WHY a coffee date is a great way to meet your Mr. Right:
Reason #1: It's easy ground to start on
Honestly, I started a handful of previous relationships this way.
A lot of women might think a guy is meant to pull out all the stops with the romantic stuff right at the start, but this isn't always the best way to go.
As I got older, I realized it's not a practical or realistic approach to dating - especially with a total stranger.
Let's say you meet a guy online, at a party or any venue where your interaction with him was limited. Other than finding him cute, you don't know much else about him.
So naturally, you want to continue the conversation somewhere else.
That's why a low-pressure, non-romantic place like a coffee shop makes for a smoother transition.
I know that romance is your end goal with him, but trust me on this one.
You don't want him wining and dining you when you don't know if the guy is a douchebag or not.
Seriously, MOST guys will not be your type, so protect yourself with a cautious attitude at first. A laid-back atmosphere is what you need for a first date.
Both of you are less likely to bend over backwards to impress each other. This makes it easier for him to open up to you - and for you to find out what he's made of.
With a typical date, you might end up trying to justify the romance without being sure it's even worth pursuing to start with.
Reason #2: A coffee date is casual and low-investment
One problem for women is that it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world to ask out someone you barely know.
Like it or not, it's the men who usually do that. (And be honest, you'd prefer that - so you know if he's really into you, or just being friendly.)
Worse, venues like a restaurant or the movies require a bit more familiarity before you go in hot and heavy.
But you also don't want to lose momentum with a guy and keep seeing him.
So how do you make the first move WITHOUT aggressively pursuing him?
If you've read my other posts on this site, you know that I'm a big advocate of letting a guy chase YOU at the beginning. He needs to put in the hours and meet you halfway, then you reciprocate AFTER.
Enter the coffee date. With this approach, you can still take initiative while keeping it light.
Reason #3: A coffee date leaves room for flexibility
The other thing I love about a coffee date is that it's a dual-purpose social event. Not only is it a great ice-breaking tool, it can also serve as a fertile ground for a more serious relationship.
So it could lead to something...
Or it might not.
But either way, you're pretty much covered.
If the chemistry's there, you can go right into the typical romantic date without a second thought. All it takes is for you to say "Hey, you wanna go somewhere else? There's this great Greek place I know that serves killer Gyros!"
Chances are he'll go along with you if it's going good.
(I'll cover more of this later, but you get the idea for now...)
Now, if the date turns out to be a bust, it's just as easy to cut it off without getting messy.
You can make a quick and graceful exit by telling him, "Hey, it's been fun meeting up. But I need to take off." And you can do this without letting him down too much.
Then you can send him a "Sorry, the chemistry's just not there" text later on (check out my video guide to rejecting a guy if you haven't yet).
Now that we've covered they WHYs of a coffee date, it's time to actually make it happen:
Step #1 - The Hot Coffee Date: Location, location, location
Your first priority is picking out the place because it sets the tone for everything to follow. That means you may have to put in a little work, but you'll get a much better return.
For instance, it helps to be on a first-name basis with the staff at the coffee shop.
Imagine him seeing you there with all the baristas being warm and friendly with you. Think of it as "social proofing", a.k.a having other folks vouching for your awesome, vibrant personality.
He won't be consciously aware of it then, but this simple demonstration will impress him.
So it will definitely help if you suggest a place that you've been going to least a couple of weeks before. Get to know the feel of the crowd there and get settled in.
When he sees you being comfortable in your own skin and confidently owning the "territory," you're already scoring points before the date's even begun.
(Side note: this is also a good chance for you to observe how HE relates and treats the staff. It's a good indicator of his own character and what you're in for. Keep an eye on how he treats other people, because it will tell you EVERYTHING about what a relationship would be like with him later.)
And if he offers to pay for your drink, let him. Why deny him the chance to be a cool guy and show his appreciation for your time?
But if you have the chance to pick up your own tab, that's fine too. Remember, you're starting off on fairly equal footing here, so be cool about paying for your drink if it comes to that.
Men are more than happy to prove their ability to provide for women they're interested in.
By the way, you don't need to necessarily order coffee, either. Unless you're at one of those hardcore establishments that purely serve just that, chances are you can have something like tea, or a lighter drink as well.
Step #2 - Brew Yourself Up A Plan: Have a goal in mind
Think of a coffee date as a quick "interview" where you get to screen a guy before taking things to the next level. It's not meant to be a drawn out meeting - that's for the actual date.
Right now, your #1 priority is to figure out if a guy falls under the "Uh, this isn't going anywhere" category so you can move on to the next date.
The only time you should file him under "YES!" is AFTER you've had a few dates.
So that means your little meet-up should be short and sweet - as in, half an hour short. Just enough to find out if he's a MAYBE.
(Of course, nothing is set in stone ... you can always extend his time a LITTLE bit in case he's a hot prospect. Otherwise, stick to your limit.)
With that time frame, you can't waste it on long, soul-searching conversations.
I know that might sound a little cold or impersonal on the surface. However, we're going for efficiency here.
Those long wandering conversations can happen AFTER you've made sure he's worth spending the time on.
You don't want to waste a whole lot of time with a guy you obviously don't share that initial spark with. Besides, you'll be surprised how much depth you can STILL cover in a short amount of time.
Now, you'll need to come in prepared - let me break down the basics for you:
- Like I said earlier, arrive early
... BUT don't look like you're anxiously waiting for him. That's not the vibe you want to put out. Instead, do something in the meantime, like catch up on some emails, read a book or play Sudoku.
- Lay out the essential questions you want to ask him.
Most of the time, this includes his job or even his career in general. Just be careful not to get into how much he makes (unless he talks about it - but that's still weird) so you don't set off any unwarranted "gold digger" alerts in his head.
- Asking about his work should give you an idea of his ethics and if he "has it together"
Most guys define themselves by their accomplishments and how it fits into their daily existence, so you'll want to base on your questions on that.
- It helps if you've done some research on him beforehand
You should go over his online dating profile if that's how you met him. This way, your questions stay focused.
Plus, he'll appreciate the personal touch because it means you cared enough to know more about him and not go in blind.
- Pay attention to the other parts of the picture
Ask about his family, friends and hobbies. Have some questions to cover this as well so you get a clearer idea of who he is outside of work.
- You may want to throw in a power question or two
You can dig in further and touch on his deeper thoughts, but use this sparingly. Getting just a hint of his life philosophy is good enough. (By the way, you should also check out my program "Read His Signals" if you really want to dive deep into his innermost thoughts).
- Shameless plug alert: Reading up on your Carlos Cavallo posts is always a good idea. Feel free to browse through my other articles on sniffing out vital personality traits like emotional unavailability and undateable qualities - or how to flirt with a guy and vital body language signs of attraction.
Step #3 - Take the next step - or wrap it up
Ok, so let's get the negative out of the way first. If you've asked your questions and didn't feel warm and fuzzy about his answers, you have two choices at this point:
- Stick with it
Yes, you read that right. You can STILL get something out of the experience, like honing your social skills by making it all the way to the half-hour mark. Just because you're not feeling that spark doesn't mean you should cut things short with a perfectly decent guy you're just not attracted to. (But do avoid giving him any false hope of a second date).
- And that brings us to scenario #2. If you're dealing with an absolute trainwreck of a date, don't feel bad about hitting the eject button on him. Maybe he turned out to be a creep or gave you a weird aura - and not the cool, artistic type of weird, either.
In that case, you can excuse yourself to the little girls' room and send a quick SMS to a friend to call you in 10 minutes or so.
When you come back, you have a perfectly decent buffer before getting that "important" call about an emergency at work (or any other excuse that suits you). But if you have another exit strategy in place, that's fine too as long as you keep it classy.
Now, if your guy has some serious potential, your coffee date will allow you to move right into the second date seamlessly.
Here's how to do it:
- Have a let's-meet-again-real-soon plan in place.
Do your research before the date and think of a list of places to suggest to him for a date like this. I mentioned using a restaurant as an example earlier, but you can replace that with something more relevant to his interests, like a comic book launch or craft beer festival (if you know he's into that stuff). The more in line it is with his interests, the better.
- Depending on the situation, you could make it more low-investment if need be.
Maybe your guy does fall under the "maybe" category, but you're not 100% sold on him just yet. The next meeting could just be a casual activity you were doing anyway, like walking your dog or biking along the coast.
Either way, drop a hint every now and then throughout the conversation that you'd definitely like to see him in the immediate future. Slipping in the occasional hint will do the trick.
Try this for example: "I'm so looking forward to putting this crazy week at work behind me and having a free schedule NEXT week. Don't you love it when you have lots of time after getting a bunch of stuff done?"
- If he suggests the next meet-up but he's a little shy or hesitant, help him close the deal. Suggest a specific day you're free and give a couple of options to choose from.
Cute Dude: "Hey, so I was thinking we should do something this weekend…"
Flustered You: "Sounds great ... I need to take care of some stuff on Saturday, but Friday's good for me. Want me to pencil you in?"
Then let him make plans after that. Give him a chance to fill in the details so he doesn't feel like you're putting him on the spot.
There's also the possibility that you're feeling some serious chemistry with your guy and want to take things further right away.
In that case, feel free to convert the coffee date into a full-blown one right then and there.
Suggest a venue change, possibly a nearby place you've already scoped out beforehand (again, research is a girl's best friend). This makes it easy for you to jump to the next location (like the park, a museum, your favorite restaurant, laser tag, a bar etc.) to keep the flow going.
Just be sure to consciously keep the brakes on a little to keep from letting things get too crazy.
If you follow these steps and employ a little finesse, you'll easily cruise through your coffee date and get yourself a quality guy.
Once you've gotten the spark going and want to turn up the heat even more, there's a way to do that as early as the NEXT date. You want it so he can't think of anything else BUT you and wanting to sweep you off your feet.
Even if he seems a bit cool or is acting a tad stand-offish, it's possible to get him to feel the butterflies of infatuation for you so he'll want to go way beyond "just friends".
You can take the next step - just check out this short video I put together. This presentation gives you the breakdown of what it takes to push him over the edge and have him fall for you completely.
Click here to check it out now...