Hate Awkward First Dates? There Is Another Way

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The one-on-one first date is the expected precursor to a relationship—and consequently the most dreaded and desired event on a single person’s calendar. For many people, the expectation and pressure to make a good first impression during one-on-one dates can cause profound anxiety or can simply feel like an exhausting waste of time after a long string of spark-less first dates.

But despite many people’s discomfort with one-on-one dates, we continue to go on them because, well, how else are you going to know if he is relationship material?

I’m here to tell you that there is another way. It’s called a group date.

Most of us think of group dates as either some high-school inspired intimacy prevention or something long-standing couples do when they’re tired of staring into one another’s eyes. But group dates are for single adults, too! Just gather a small group of your male and female friends together, day or night, and you have yourself a group date. These co-ed gatherings are not dates, per se, but they encourage great date-like conversations without the stress. Group dates can be a great way to meet and get to know men before you venture out one on one.

Now, one-on-one dates are not bad, they are just not for everyone. So for those of you who wish there was another option, here are five reasons to make a group date your first date instead. Why not give it a try?

01. IT’S LESS PRESSURE.

No one likes to be backed into a corner, especially when it involves a decision of the heart. Group settings create relaxed atmospheres where everyone can get to know one other without anyone having to immediately draw the line of dating or not. It allows time for you to not just focus on any guy, but to intentionally find the right guy.

02. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE IT UP TO FATE.

Perhaps you are interested in someone. Waiting for him to ask you out can leave you in a very helpless situation. But a group date is a causal way to invite the man of interest to spend time with you. Throw a small group of guys and girls together and invite him along! Who doesn’t like meeting new people? And you will both be happy for the opportunity to chat in a low-key setting.

03. IT CREATES ACTIVITY.

Men typically have an easier time conversing and relaxing when there is an activity involved. While it may be more comfortable for you to sit across from another person and open up about yourself, your date may be wishing there were some diversion you could share instead. Psychology tell us that when men want to have a conversation with each other, they rarely sit down face-to-face and have it. It may sound counter-productive to not have all his attention, but a group setting might actually be an opportunity for your guy to shine. When your date doesn’t feel like your eyes are constantly on him, he is more likely to relax a little and ease into a conversation with you.

04. IT KEEPS THINGS REAL.

Too often our perception of our date can be skewed by the fact that he checks every box on our list—or doesn’t. This mentality toward one another encourages a kind of idealism that does not bode well for a healthy start to a relationship. Group dates help you to get an unfiltered glimpse of your date as a person. And observing him interacting with others will likely distract you from analyzing what boxes he checks, helping you get to know the real him.

05. IT ENCOURAGES FRIENDS MEETING FRIENDS.

The biggest tragedy of a dud one-on-one first date is that, most of the time, the buck stops with the two of you. Just because things didn’t work out with you and your date, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t hit it off with one of your friends, or you wouldn't hit it off with one of his. Group dates provide an opportunity for social circles to blend and that means more connections, more friends, and more dates for everyone.

At the end of the day, the group date will never replace the one-on-one date, nor do I think it should. Instead, group dates should be seen as a prerequisite to the one-on-one date and then the one-on-one date the prerequisite to a committed relationship. With group dates being the go-to first step to getting to know someone, we go into one-on-one dates with a little more history to make things comfortable and a little more reason to kindle that original spark.