3 Rules for the First 3 Dates: A Guide for Dating in Your 20’s


*Please note that these are my personal rules and are not intended to be universal. As I am a straight woman, many of these rules apply mostly to heterosexual dating scenarios. These rules mostly to be applied in a typical “I just met you” or “met online” situations and may be altered or ignored in some cases. These rules are suggestions made from the experiences of myself and friends but are by no means universal. Use your own judgement, but most importantly: have fun!*

1: Keep it public: Keep to public locations. There are several practical reasons for this, the first being safety.

  1. In a public space your date is much less likely to try anything sketchy or accuse you of trying anything sketchy. The exits in public spaces are usually well marked and readily available if you need to make an early escape.
  2. Comfort is key to success. Public places take a lot of pressure off you in impressing your date and coming up with something to do or talk about. You can people watch, look around your surroundings for inspiration, talk about the game you’re playing/ movie you watched/ food you are eating etc.


Worried about money? No problem: public doesn’t mean expensive. If your date insists on going somewhere alone so you can talk, again, no problem! Public doesn’t have to mean crowded. There are many cheap or free public places where a private, intimate conversation can still take place. You can go to a park, a coffee shop, a stroll around town: use your imagination!


2: Keep it Familiar: Go to locations you are familiar with. By this I don’t meant that you shouldn’t go to that new restaurant; I mean that you should be familiar with the general area in which your date is taking place. Like Rule 1 this serves several purposes.

  1. Safety is a big part of this rule; being familiar with the location (bonus if you are familiar with the staff that works there) means that in the worst situations you can leave quickly without worrying about getting lost or trapped.
  2. Another comfort bonus: if you are familiar with the location you are more at ease to impress your date and avoid some nervous jitters.
  3. Third and finally, you can look like an expert/hot shot when you know the place well: “I highly suggest the crab dip. All the crab is fresh caught in the morning…”


Talk to your date about choosing a location you are both familiar with; a shopping center nearby, a local hot-spot, a place you both enjoy etc. If your date insists on trying a new spot take a few minutes to do a quick internet search about the area focusing on where it is, how to get there, and how to leave if needed, bonus is to look up special features of the place to impress your date.


3: Be Your Own Ride: This tip is almost exclusively for women dating men and is almost entirely for safety reasons.

I know that many ladies and gents believe that the man should always pick up his date, but there are several risks involved with that in the onset of a relationship.

  1. Worst case scenario: if your date turns out to be a creep, he now knows where you live.
  2. Control: The driver more control over the date than the passenger: when you go out, where you go, and when you come home are all up to the driver, potentially leading to uncomfortable or dangerous situation.

Now for the more superficial and cheerful reasons:

  1. You look like a strong, independent person who doesn’t need to rely on anyone.
  2. You can show off your sweet, sweet ride (if you have one).
  3. You are showing just as much effort and investment in the date as the other person by taking the time to meet them there.

What if you don’t have a car of your own? Borrow one, rent one, ask a friend for a ride and to be on standby in case you need to leave early, plan the date early enough to take public transit, call a Lyft or Uber, or plan the date close enough to walk/ride a bike. Remember kids, safety first!

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