We all know dating can be hard, far harder than it should be for something that in theory should be fairly simple and straight forward. There seems to be new politics to it that frankly, I can't get my head round.
Whether you are set up by friends or on dating sites, you still can't get away from the pre-date politics. It makes me very glad that I no longer need to think about it!
I remember a few weeks ago, my friend and I were sat on my sofa, wine in hand, when she expressed her dismay that the guy she was talking to hadn't asked her out on a date yet. When I questioned why she couldn't just ask him she laughed and rolled her eyes at me. These rules are confusing...
That all being said, when he did eventually ask her, I could at least be a little helpful when it came to ideas for the actual date, as well as how we can keep each other safe, using techniques developed over many years of singleton friendship together.
Probably one of the most common (and least exciting) first date ideas, but it works. You are in a populated area, which is ideal for when meeting someone for the first time, and you have the option to talk freely and get to know one another. Will you hold a decent conversation, or will there be long awkward silences?
If you've agreed to just a coffee, and things are going badly, or you feel concerned, or you just aren't that into them, it's easy to bring the date to an end as soon as you finish your drink. If things are going well, you can stay longer, or branch into doing something else such as going for a meal together.
This is probably better for a second date, a date with someone you have already met or if you / they are a little shy, but the cinema is great for enjoying each others company without the pressure of having to talk too much.
Deciding on the movie is also a great way to work out if you have similar interests.
As we're now entering the summer and getting nicer weather, why not get out and enjoy it? Why not head to the coast for ice cream or chips on the beach? A lovely long walk and some fresh air is good for you, and a great setting for you to get to know people.
Go to the Zoo
I've personally never been taken on a date to the zoo, but a few friends have - in fact, I have two friends who had first dates at the zoo, and they are now married to their dates, so it must be a good call!
This is one of those dates where you can distract yourself with whats around you if things aren't playing out well, or you can be really involved and chatty with the person you are with.
I know this sounds strange, but when I thought back over my favorite first dates this is one of them. Neither of us had ever been, so we were sharing a new experience together.
It's fast paced and fun, and you really get an idea for if the other is a competative person or not.
Sadly, in this day and age you do need to be vigilant and keep your own safety in mind. This is one if the reasons all my suggestions are in public spaces.
If you've been set up by a friend, I guess it's slightly different as they've been kind of vetted already, but I would never consider having a first date watching a movie in my / their home for example. You just never know with some people, and until I've established someone as 'safe' I've never liked the idea of being alone in a house with them, although others may feel differently.
A good habit my friend and I got into was to always tell the other that we were on a date, where we were going and who with. It may seem silly, but there's no harm in your friend knowing where you are and who you are with. Most of the time it'll just be a quick message that doesn't need looking at, but if ever things start to go south its good to have someone aware of where you are so they can come to your rescue.
We even got into the habit of letting the other know when we had got home. In fact, she'll still call me on the walk home to talk about how the date went, and we'll stay on the line until she gets home safe.
Whatever ideas you may have for a first date, it's a great idea to check out the dating sites for your locality such as Cardiff dating, Cardiff Singles, dating in Cardiff or whatever site is appropriate for your area.