I have very little that I can write on this subject from my own perspective but, at the very least, I can tell you that dating is awkward.
The most awkward of dates are the ones that you don’t know are dates. The two of you dancing on the line of “date night” and “hanging out” because calling it a date applies more pressure than either are willing to deal with. I myself have been on these before. You consider it a date, but you’re not willing to admit it is until the other person does first. I have been on both ends of that statement. In my experience, it usually happens right before the date occurs (the day before or a few hours before).
Then, there’s the buffer zone person. The person you bring on a date with you just incase things go awry and you need a fallback plan to make things less awkward. I had one friend who invited her date’s cousin and their significant other on the date to turn him off from her. The guy had been hitting on her for years and did what she felt was necessary to prevent him from doing it again. To this day, he still hasn’t asked her for another date.
Many will do double dating as a form of placing a buffer zone. This method is usually best for blind dates. From my personal experience, I recommend doing this at a restaurant rather than hanging out at a friend’s house. The one and only blind date I went on was like this and my friend and her boyfriend ended up disappearing into her room for some “alone time.” In hindsight, I’m probably lucky I wasn’t murdered. It wasn’t too bad. However, it got really awkward when it was revealed that the guy she had set me up on a date with was around 24. Yeah, I was 17. Bad news bears written all over that situation. He was somewhat of a gentleman, though, in the sense that he didn’t try and pull a fast one on me. Only “somewhat of a gentleman” because he tried to tell me age didn’t matter. In that instance, it mattered. I don’t know who you were trying to kid, sir.
Buffer zones are never a safe bet. Either they don’t provide you with enough space to enjoy the “date” or they take flight on you and leave you to deal with a mess of a date. This usually makes the date worse, because the other person begins to catch on that you felt a buffer zone was required and now things are more awkward than when they started. I suppose that one could say this is where online dating has some merit. While meeting in person is still drastically different than having long and meaningful conversations online, you at least get a lot of those first date jitters out of the way and know what subjects to talk about to keep the night rolling.
I find that most people do not include first dates in the Best Dates I’ve Ever Had lists. The exceptions to this are ones that were extremely close friends first, in which one person wanted the date to be extra amounts of awesome to prove that taking the friendship to the next level is a good idea. Its hard to define what a Best Date Ever would be, though. Is it overly romantic? Is it deep and meaningful? Or could it be that it is surprisingly simple?
Though I love my boyfriend dearly, there are moments in life when I find myself missing how a first date felt. The nervousness of getting ready and picking out just the right outfit. The paranoia of things going terribly wrong, creating backup plans and leaving numbers and addresses with friends or family just incase you’re not heard from in the next four hours. The joy of finding someone who is as attracted to you as you are to them. But then I remember the high anxieties of not knowing exactly how everything is going to go, the waiting period after a first date to see if there will be a second and the disappointments when you realize the other person wasn’t all you had cracked them up to be before you had the internal debate while waiting for the waiter to bring you your fourth glass of wine that you need just to get through the next hour of what is quickly becoming the worst date of all time.
My challenge to you is to tell me about your worst and best dates. Inquiring minds are waiting to know.