We’ve all been there. The movie credits started scrolling across the screen, you’ve made your way out of the theater, the popcorn bucket has been tossed away, … and you and your date are just standing in awkward silence at the entrance.
When you want to avoid that uncomfortable first date silence, you’ll need to stick to a time limit.
Obviously there are no real rules to a first date, but it is beneficial to set certain guidelines in place. Not only does it help when you know, in general, what to expect from the date, but it also relieves anxiety when you can prepare for that ahead of time.
There are so many ways first dates can, and do, go wrong when plans are kept open- ended or when neither party wants to offend the other by cutting the date short.
So, when it comes down to it, how long should a first date really last?
Sure, every date is different, but a good rule of thumb is to keep the date length to one hour.
For most first dates, an hour is the perfect amount of time to get enough of an impression of your match, so let’s see why.
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There’s an end point
When you’ve ended up with a real dud of a date, having a known ending point can help get you through it.
An hour, for a first date, is typically enough time to tell if you are attracted to your date and if there is a connection. So, if it’s not going well, a predetermined cut-off point can save you from having to be bluntly honest in person by opting not to continue the date.
And, even better, it saves your date from having to do the same to you!
When you keep a first date to an hour, you can focus on getting to know one another instead of working out in your head how to politely end the date and when.
Avoid planning under pressure
You don’t want you, or your date, to end up feeling uncomfortable or unprepared in a situation because the date’s follow-up plans were made on the fly.
When a date sticks to an agreed plan and doesn’t deviate from that too much, it helps both you and your date feel comfortable the entire time. You both dressed and prepared for a specific activity, so if you end up tacking on something different it can add unnecessary stress to the date.
Not to mention that first date anxiety coupled with general awkwardness can make you and your date agree to further plans that neither of you wanted.
So, keeping a first date to an hour can end up saving your evening and even a first date entirely!
End on a high note
You don’t want to add to the natural weirdness at the end of a first date by leaving you both to wonder if that’s the actual end.
If you stick to a planned out hour, you’re relieving both you and your date from having to guess if you should be saying goodbye or if you should be suggesting new topics or locations.
Trust me… that’s a nightmare for us awkward folks!
The more smoothed out and structured you can make those awkward moments, the better the chances that you’ll both feel comfortable enough to open up and get to know some deeper stuff on the date.
And that’s how you’ll really know if it’s a good match, right?
Leave a good impression
Don’t drown out any good impressions you made on the date with the unease that comes from dragging out a date too long.
Letting a first date be restricted by a time limit keeps all of your good banter and interesting anecdotes intact by allowing you to make a graceful exit.
When you and your date fumble over the idea of adding onto the date, it can negate any feelings of a connection when all of a sudden neither of you are on the same page.
Leaving the date at the appropriate time lets you both reflect on the actual substance of the date and whether or not there is a potential match between you.
Open to a clear connection
When you end all of your first dates at an appropriate length, the good ones are easily seen as clear and separate from the bad.
Online dating usually means you’ll be going on many first dates before you find one you want to see regularly. And keeping those first dates to a time structure will make them easy to categorize.
On dates that maintain a typical hour, you’ll feel content, or relieved even, to end the date there when no real connection is felt. But, when the date comes to an end and you’re wishing it was longer or wondering how it finished so fast, you’ll know that date is worth exploring more.
Those are the dates that really stand out!
But, when an hour was long enough…
When your date was a doozy and the one hour mark was plenty, then you know you’re headed right back to your online dating site to look for something better.
Having a typical first date structure is great and becomes quite useful, but there is no reason why it has to become a routine. If your profile is doing its job and attracting the right dates, you won’t be able to perfect a first date ritual because you’ll find your match early on!
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