Category Archives: planning
You did it. You finally worked up the nerve to talk to that cute girl in you Economics class. She gave you her number, you called a couple days later, and you have a date set for Saturday night. Smooth mover that you are, you know you have to take lead and plan the date yourself.
Depending on how well you know the girl, you could be looking at activities that range from the standard dinner and a movie to more personalized selections like rock-climbing at the Quarry. What you do is up to you (though a dinner and a movie is always a safe bet!) as long as you remember one vital rule:
First dates should last no more than 2-3 hours.
Why? Four reasons.
1. It keeps the momentum going.
Ever heard the phrase “leave them wanting more”? It’s true! It’s simple teacher psychology: if you stop an activity while the students are enjoying themselves, they’ll want to do it again. If you wait long enough that their enthusiasm fizzles, they will be less excited when you offer the activity again. If she’s going to say yes to a second date, she needs to be excited about seeing you again. You run the risk of wearing out your welcome and lowering her interest in you when you marathon your first date.
2. It keeps the creep factor low.
You know that fortune cookie game you play in middle school where you add “…in bed” to the end of your fortune? You can play a similar game with dating. Just imagine her telling her girlfriends everything you did that night (this happens!). Now add “…on the first date” to the end of each sentence. You’ll be amazed how creepy you sound.
“He told me all about his past gambling addiction…on the first date.”
“He really opened up about how heartbroken he was when his dog died… on the first date.”
“We talked about where we want to live when we retire… on the first date.”
A shorter date means less time to stray from your A-game topics. Just like a job interview, you are expected to put your best foot forward. Even natural conversation and genuine bonding can feel like TMI if really personal details are shared too soon.
3. There’s Always Tomorrow
Real chemistry between the two of you can make spending twelve hours with this person sound like the greatest idea in the world. But the next morning when she’s exhausted at work because she was up until six watching the sunrise with you? That hormonal, glittery sheen wears off and she crashes. Worth it? Maybe, but it might take her a few days to catch up on sleep before she even wants to consider another date with you.
4. It lowers expectations.
Spending three hours with a guy every week or two doesn’t equal a relationship. But long dates add up to more time spent getting to know each other in a shorter time frame. Try to think of the beginning stages of dating in terms of total time spent together (in hours) rather than how many days/weeks you’ve known them. Knowing a girl for a week might seem like almost nothing but if you are spending five hours every day with that girl? That’s 35 hours! You might find yourself with a girl whose expecting something more from her investment sooner than you anticipated.
Above all, remember to let things grow organically. Smooth conversation and time flying by is a clear sign that you two have chemistry. 2-3 hours is plenty of time to decide if there’s going to be a second date. There’s no need to rush in head-first and start that second date the same night.
Hate long dates? Ever had a brilliant marathon date? Let us know in the comments!
Hello daters! We apologize for the short hiatus we took recently, life behind the scenes got quite busy, but we are back with even more dating tips and tricks to help you turn those summer flings into fall relationships!
To start things off, we have a excellent question that was emailed in by “R,” asking about when to know it is the right time for “the talk”:
Here’s a question for me and the men out there. The DTR talk. When should I have it, how should I bring it up without being intense? I’ve been dating a girl for 2 months now, and the lack of clarity on what we are is killing me. I met her family already. Should I bring it up? Or for all guys, what should we expect in this area?
That is both a great and difficult question to answer. While every situation is different, here are some basic rules to go by. Enjoy!
The DTR. Just its name makes the bravest soul sweat.
When to have it? How to bring it up? How to react to what they say?
These are all very important questions, and I am here to shed a little light on the matter.
First. The bigger deal you make it, the bigger deal it becomes.
The most important thing to remember is that this person HAS gone on several dates with you (hopefully), so obviously they like spending time with you. Now, the closer the dates are in relation another, the more committed the person already is to putting you in their schedule. It also is an indicator of how much they like to be with you, so bringing up the “where do we stand?” question is probably something the other is already expecting. I would say you are free to ask the question after about 1-2 months of actively and consistently dating that one person. However, each situation is different, so just feel out how far the two of you have progressed into couple-like land and then have the talk accordingly. You know what kind of communication makes that person comfortable, so strive for that.Whenever you do it, act confident and don’t put yourself down; if you play it casual and natural then odds are it won’t become a deep and serious talk that ends in you arguing about how many kids you want and then both of you freaking out.
Second. Have it at the end of a date.
You must do a DTR in person. No phone calls or texts. And asking the question at the end of the date gives you a quick exit if the conversation doesn’t go well. Just try to bring it up casually, and let them do most of the talking.
You’ve said what you want:
“Hey. So I think things are going really well between us, and would like it if we just dated each other and see where things go. What do you think?”
So then give them the floor to say how they feel. You can negotiate from there, but unless you know what they have in mind, there is no way you can enter into anything deeper than “I have already planned our future, just say yes.” Which, for the record, is something you DON’T want to say.
Third. Be prepared for all outcomes.
No matter how confident you feel going in, there is no guarantee that they feel the same about the relationship. Now, be sure to read the signs while dating:
- Are they responding positively to all your moves and making moves of their own?
- How much time are they spending with you?
- Are they making plans with you for the future in conversation?
- Are they telling people they know about you/introducing you to their family and friends?
- Do they give you a lot of attention when not together (i.e. texting), and always have time to see you?
Those signs normally mean that they are bringing you slowly into their life, and see you as something more than just a causal date, but there is never a guarantee.
I’ve had guys that I swore were interested in something more than just a casual dating buddy take off running at the words “So I think I want to date just you.” But I’ve also had guys give me the “yah, that’s what I thought we were doing already” look when I’ve brought it up. You just can never know, but for most people the signs mentioned above are good indicators to how much this person wants you involved in their life.
The most important thing to remember when you are thinking of having a DTR is to put your needs first. Don’t let fear of the outcome keep you from asking. If you are feeling like you want to ask, it is because you need to know for your own emotional sanity. Granted, you can’t be speedy about it, but it is never fun to get yourself emotionally involved only to find out later that they were never planning on anything serious.
Brace yourself, have the talk, and be prepared for any outcome so that way you can either feel emotionally more secure and ease into the joys of an established relationship, or start the process of moving on.
We hope that helps, and would love to have you readers comment/email in your DTR opinions and stories for us to share!
Today’s featured question came to us from “T”. He asked:
“What’s your thought on advance notice needed for an invitation?”
We are so glad you asked!
A few weeks ago, a mutual acquaintance expressed his concern to us about his son. This boy is attending a local college, not-unattractive, and by most accounts is a pretty average guy. Our friend had been struggling to understand his son’s lack if success in the dating world… until he came home one Friday night to find his son and a friend, moping on the couch.
Some gentle ribbing about why these boys were home instead of out on a date soon turned to concern when the boys revealed they had both just been dropped by the girls they liked.
“What happened?” our friend asked. It seemed strange that both boys had been dumped on the same night.
“We asked them to go see a movie with us and they said no.”
“Wait… just now?”
“Yeah, we texted them like an hour ago.”
Our friend was shocked. Not that the girls had said no, but that these two guys took their answer to mean that the girls weren’t interested in going out with them ever again. There was serious, pathetic heartbreak happening on his couch over what essentially amounted to poor timing and bad planning.
The general rule of thumb is that you should call a girl and ask for a date three days before the date occurs. If you want to go out on Friday, call her on Tuesday.
Does this mean you will always be rejected if you try to call on Wednesday? No! But three days gives you a chance to ask her out before she makes other plans. Most girls don’t just sit at home on the weekend. She could be on a date with another guy, out with her girlfriends, at the gym, finishing a work project, pursuing a hobby, engaged in an epic Call of Duty marathon, on a spontaneous road trip… As long as your girl has interests, there’s the potential that she already has plans.
Calling ahead also shows that girl that you respect her time and you are genuinely interested in her. Every girl has heard about the “mass text” that guys send that says “hey what r u up 2?”. Last minute invites can make it seem like she was your last resort or that you are bored and have nothing better to do. Alternatively, calling ahead shows your intent: you want to take her (only her) out and you want it to happen enough that you are willing to make actual plans, in advance.
Just a warning: asking more than five days in advance can sometimes make you look a little over-eager.
One last thought: obviously, this is for those of you NOT in a relationship with the girl already. Once she’s your girlfriend, she generally expects to spend some sort of regular time with you.
With such busy schedules, many of us try to make every date count. But, sometimes that can go too far, turning those dates into job interviews.
Dates do not need to be epic, long, or deep in order to be a good time. Asking them out doesn’t mean you love them, and them saying they will go out with you doesn’t mean they love you either. I kind of thought that idea stopped in 8th grade, but for some reason I still find it floating around the adult dating scene. JUST ASK HER/HIM OUT!
Dating should be a fun and lighthearted chance to get to know the person you are going out with, so loosen up and don’t treat the first date as a try-out. That will take a lot of pressure of the both of you! Some great first-date ideas include dinner, ice cream, sporting events (as long as you pay more attention to the other person than the game), art galleries, events happening that weekend, and lots of others. Going to a movie is a popular one, but is not recommended because you don’t get to talk a lot with the person. So you may want to save it for the next date.
Whatever you do… keep it short, sweet, simple, and not too serious!
Time to meet two of our new bloggers! E.dm gave us two great posts on the hazards of surprising a girl when you’re getting to know her. Now Dave is going to start us off with our Man to Man column, where guys write in to share their tips and tricks of the trade.
You have a girl’s number. Now comes one of the most frightening things about dating: making the call. Here are some ideas to help decrease the awkwardness. As a preface, recognize that every situation is different—there are no hard and fast rules, these are just some guidelines for playing it safe.
- Try to avoid the cold call whenever possible. This means that you have talked with the girl about taking her out before, like in person. If it’s a set-up then the mutual friend should tell her that you’re going to call. However you got the number, it’s best if she knows that you have it and is expecting your call.
- Make sure you have good cell phone service. Nothing is more awkward than trying to set up a date when you’re cutting in and out. If you don’t get good reception where you live then go for a drive. Just don’t forget to take a pen and paper to write down details like her address (if she offers to text you her address then you’re golden, but don’t ask her to do it).
- Think of something to say before you make the call. Just one quick idea of something you could ask her. If you don’t end up using it, great, but think of something just in case—small silences during this call tend to feel eternal so you want to be prepared to fill the space. How long you chat will vary quite a bit from girl to girl, but generally shorter is safer.
- When possible, give her two options for when you’ll take her out. I think girls appreciate this because they can pick the day that is most convenient for them and they can also say ‘no’ to both if they want to. Avoid giving her three or more. And for heaven’s sake, if she says she can’t go out on the two days you offer don’t start throwing around other options (i.e. “how about Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday of next week”). You have to recognize the possibility that she doesn’t want to go out with you and she’s using ‘busy’ as an excuse. If you keep pushing her it’s like cornering a cat—you’re going to make her upset and maybe you’ll even get hurt (she’ll be frank with you)*. It’s inconvenient, but if she turns you down on the first offer to take her out you should wait for a while and try again (usually about a week). Also, pay attention to how she turns you down. If she doesn’t say things like “I can’t but I’d really like to go out with you some other time,” then you might think twice about calling her more than twice. Remember, this isn’t sales or missionary work—don’t be pushy.
- If she doesn’t answer her phone (and she probably won’t the first time you call), leave a quick and simple message that says something like, “this is ________________, and I am calling to see if you’d like to _________________. I’m sorry I missed you, I’ll try back later.” Later probably meaning sometime tomorrow. Don’t ask her to call you back—often girls will call back anyway when they get your message. This is a good way to navigate the fact that girls usually don’t answer when they don’t recognize the phone number.
*Lots of guys say that they hate that girls aren’t straightforward with them. This is absurd. You may think that you want a girl to tell you straight up if she doesn’t want to go out with you but you really don’t.
Here’s an example:
Guy: Would you like to go to dinner on Wednesday or Thursday of this week?
Girl: I can’t on either of those nights, sorry.
Guy: It’s ok, how about on Friday or Saturday?
Girl: No, I don’t think those days are good either.
Guy: Is there sometime next week we could go out?
Girl: You know, I actually don’t ever want to go out with you. Ever.
Harsh, right? Wouldn’t you call this ripping your heart out and stomping on it in front of your face? You think you want to hear this until you do and then you realize that ‘busy’ is way better. And put yourself in her shoes, do you think that any girl likes saying something like that? She knows that you’re going to go home and talk to your roommates about how rude she was when in reality it was your fault.
Have the courtesy to recognize and accept that sometimes it’s easier for both parties to not be too direct. Just learn to pay attention to some simple cues. But this is a topic for a different time.
When you ask a girl to do something specific, but add on other activities without informing her beforehand. [Closely related to the Surprise(!) Date.] She doesn’t know when the date will end and/or what is happening next.
On a first date, you want to make a girl feel safe and you want her to look forward to seeing you again. The Jack-in-the-Box tactic will absolutely sabotage this goal. Sabotage.
A guy asked one of my friends to dinner during the week. A great date! Mid-week date nights are fantastic!
They had dinner. It was great. They got in the car to go home. She had school early the next morning. She had some homework she needed to finish. But, then he started driving away from her house. You can imagine the problems presented here:
- She’s wondering if he knows he’s going the wrong direction.
- She’s wondering if she’s safe.
- She’s wishing she were at home.
The guy did not tell her he wanted to go bowling until they were pulling into the bowling alley parking lot. She had to tell him to take her home because she didn’t actually have time for a longer date.
Make a plan. Stick to the plan.
If you take a girl out, and she’s not interested at the end of the date—you want her to at least have good things to report to her friends. Example: “Oh yeah, it was a great date, we went hiking. It was a lot of fun to get to know him.” Or maybe even, “Yeah, we had a great time. I don’t think we’re a match, but I want him to take Julia out.” You don’t want her tell anyone that she felt unsafe, trapped, or dragged around town.
If she’s interested, and you drop her off after completing the planned activities—she will be excited to see you again! (as opposed to annoyed, disappointed, relieved). You will be the topic of every conversation of every friend she runs into the next day. It will be good. It will be really good.
When you ask a girl out, but don’t tell her the plan. The surprise date is only a good idea in movies, TV shows, and books. Surprise dates work in these environments because the people are not real life (e.g. fictional characters, actors, and/or contestants whose dialogue is being cut and pasted by producers).
Whether you failed to plan or you thought the surprise would impress the girl—the results are the same: disappointment, awkwardness, possible blisters, possible diabetic shock.
If you tell her to expect you at 5pm (or later), and you don’t give any other details—she will assume you’re probably taking her out to dinner. She will probably default to wearing her favorite “going-out” outfit. This outfit may include heels, slightly expensive jeans, and/or lace, cotton, silk. It may not be appropriate for ice-blocking, hiking, or walking around the county fair.
One of my friends went on a blind date with a guy who planned to base all the activities on the first letter of her name. There are issues with this idea, but they could have been easily overlooked if he’d told her the plan.
She assumed that when he said he’d pick her up at 5, they’d probably be getting something to eat. He picked her up, and didn’t tell her the plan until they were at a park staring at the array of recreational equipment he kept in his trunk: rollerblades, tennis rackets, softballs, jump rope, frisbee, etc.
It’s not that she wouldn’t enjoy doing 5 different activities in one night. It’s just that she would have liked to be mentally prepared.
If you love spontaneity, and want to date a girl who can be spontaneous, the surprise date will tell you nothing. Don’t set up an artificial test. Make a plan. Tell her the plan. Allow her to be excited about the plan for a few days! Allow the spontaneity to pop out of the date itself!
If you aren’t good at planning, or you’re too busy to plan. Keep it simple. Dinner. Hike. Rodeo. Bike ride. Whatever. As long as you can talk to her, it will be a good time. When you call her, tell her the plan. You want her to be excited.
You can do it.