Don’t be in a hurry to move to this stage of courtship, psychologist Carmen Harra told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Don’t make plans with someone just to have something to do, as you don’t want to waste time or feel disappointed,” said Harra, author of “Committed: Finding Love and Loyalty Through the Seven Archetypes.” “The most important thing to consider before scheduling a first date is whether you feel a genuine connection with this person — something special that you haven’t felt with others.”
Once you’ve done a reality check on whether the date is a good idea, move on to planning something appropriate.
You might be surprised to learn that the dinner-and-a-drink first dates popular in your college or young professional days of the 1980s and 1990s are not recommended in today’s dating scene.
“A lot of people suggest just going out for dinner and a drink, although I don’t think that’s really that effective,” Marisa T. Cohen, Ph.D., a relationship scientist, therapist and professor, told Women’s Health. “If you’re in a noisy, crowded place, you’re not going to be able to have these deep conversations that allow you to suss out whether or not you like this person.”
According to Harra, the most appropriate first dates for older adults should take place somewhere “that’s both public and intimate — a place that is safe but also allows you to focus on each other and interact without interruptions.”
Museums, public gardens, and bookstores that include a small cafe are all good options.
An open mic night at a cafe or a diner with a jukebox are other good first-date options for the 55-plus crowd, according to Rachel Van Nortwick, CEO and founder of Vinylly, a dating app based on people’s music compatibility.
“If you’re 55+, you grew up listening to some really incredible music,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If it’s important to you to find a mate that enjoys music the same way you do, go to an open mic night at a cafe. The pressure is off of you and more on the performers. There will likely be a variety of genres, and this can spur conversation about music memories and preferences.”
You could also meet somewhere with a jukebox or the TouchTunes jukebox app, such as a diner or a hole-in-the-wall bar. Going in the afternoon means you’ll have the place to yourself.
“Take turns putting on your favorite songs and before you know it, you’ll be making each other playlists,” Van Nortwick said.
Atlanta-based career and dating coach Dave Swanson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that older adults should consider a stroll for their first date.
“Going for a walk together down at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell is a good way to see each other and talk and be out in nature,” he said.
Swanson, whose business is called Your Next Chance, said such walks should be slow and easy, not a power walk.
“It’s not a good idea to have a first date where you’re trying to compete,” he said.
If you like, you can pack some light snacks — and definitely bring water bottles, Swanson said.
“Walks give you the freedom to get to know one another casually, with no worries about kissing or getting drunk. Nope, none of that — you can just be yourself.”
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Date night: BYOB chocolate-making class
To take a little pressure off the romantic gesture without losing any of the fun and festive air of Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate together by participating in an adults-only BYOB chocolate-making class?
Chamberlain’s Chocolate Factory in Roswell offers 90-120 minute sessions where 10-18 participants create a selection of chocolate-dipped strawberries and truffles, with the option to bring adult beverages and food to the class. Classes are $50 per person.
A class is available Feb. 18 and another occurs March 18. Visit chamberlainschocolate.com/adult-chocolate-making to verify openings.