You’ve decided to grab coffee with your new online dating crush, and you think since it’s just coffee you don’t have much to worry about, right? Wrong! Coffee may be just coffee, but you still need to be aware of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to “grabbing coffee” with your online date. Read on to learn the most valuable and must-read tips when it comes to a coffee date.
1. Size Matters
This is such an important area to take into consideration not only for you but for your date. If you order a small size coffee it won’t take much time to consume. If you order a large size coffee it will take considerably more time to consume. Vice versa is said to be true for your date.
The size issue is very important to consider when placing your order because if you have already been out with this person and you already know you’re into them you may want to spend more time hanging out, so opt for the larger size. Although, perhaps it’s a first date, and you’re not entirely sure at this point if you’re that into this person yet, so maybe you’ll want to order the smallest size. The smallest size beverage allows you to drink quickly and then get out as soon as possible if the situation deems it necessary; after all… you may need to run home to feed your cat, lol! Ask yourself how much time do I want to spend with this person? Then order accordingly. Size matters.
2. Make It Clear It’s a Date
Coffee is so casual, you can literally grab coffee with just about anyone be it your family or friends. Be sure to make it more special by picking an upscale location, something outside of a generic Starbucks filled with Millennials typing away on their laptops. If you aren’t sure of where to go, ask your friends, if you don’t have any friends then go to Google and see what great coffee shops they suggest. Choosing something more unique shows you are too cool for school and you put actual thought into the date.
Be sure to find a way to casually mention in conversation either before or during the date that it’s an actual date. Sometimes this is an area where things become a bit grey since grabbing coffee is something you can do with your family or even your boss, and people get accidentally put into the friend zone because they didn’t clearly communicate the expectations going into the date. If you already mentioned it’s a date prior to meeting up then don’t mention it again (come on, don’t be weird). If you didn’t mention it beforehand, then be sure to mention to your date (somehow) that it’s a date, whether it’s the first date or the third date doesn’t matter, just be sure to let them know.
Be sure to bring your flirting game with you. This is how you can set the tone for the entire experience and make it about more than just grabbing coffee. The flirting is how you make it a date. Perhaps you are the master of flirting and you are already at a point in the relationship where you feel comfortable playing footsie underneath the table, or you are in the early stages of dating and haven’t even held hands yet, regardless bring out the flirt in you so they know it’s a date. But, please keep the PDA (public displays of affection) to a minimum, thanks.
3.Select a Neutral Location
Selecting a neutral location is more than just its relative safety. You obviously want to pick a location in a non-conspicuous place, that’s well-lit, and has plenty of people around. Don’t choose a coffee shop that has to be accessed through a back alley, even if you’re meeting up during the daytime. Select something as normal and non-sketchy as possible.
Make sure the location of the coffee shop is an equal distance between where your date and you will be traveling from, in other words, meet somewhere in the middle. If you don’t mind traveling further than your date, then perhaps suggest a coffee shop closer to where your date will be traveling from. This is a great option if you know your date is meeting up with you directly after work, so they don’t have to rush to try and get across town.
4. Scout Out the Location
Wow, such an important step! You’ve heard of try it before you buy it, right? Well, you need to go to the location and check it out, don’t just look at pictures online from the latest Yelp review, or the coffee shops website gallery, go in person. You’ll want to scope it out first if you’ve never been there before.
What is the atmosphere like? Will you be able to talk to each other, or do they play obnoxiously loud music in the background? Is the place cluttered with people on their laptops? Is it so busy you’ll never get a table? Do they have live events happening at their coffee shop during the hours you plan to meet up with your date? Maybe they have slam poetry night scheduled, or even karaoke, these could be total deal breakers for your date. Or the most unthinkable thing could happen… their coffee could be bad… yikes!
Whatever the situation, you’ll want to check it out first to make sure it’s the right setting for your date. After all, it should only be a backdrop to your evening, not the main event. Scope it out.
5. Be on Time
This is such an important area… be on time. Your date is in those beginning stages of getting to know you, and you don’t want to give them a bad impression of who you are. Make sure you arrive a few minutes early, but nothing obnoxious like 30 minutes early, you don’t want to give the other person anxiety over making you wait long periods of time for them to show up. Even if you arrive 10-15 minutes before them, wait to text them you that you’ve arrived to the coffee shop until about 5 minutes before your scheduled meeting time. Remember, they are on their way to meet you, they could be riding their bike, driving through traffic, on the train, parking a car, tipping a cab driver.
Arriving on time for a meeting with someone is a sign of respect. It is your way of showing that person you not only take them seriously, but you respect them and know their time (like yours) is valuable. Rarely do people who arrive late for a first date receive a second date, unless they did their due diligence to communicate proactively with their date they would be late.
6. Know Your Order Ahead of Time
Knowing your order ahead of time is not only a great way to save time, but it helps you to appear more confident and decisive. You don’t want to spend a ton of time reading the menu and after several minutes still not knowing what you want to drink. If you have never been to the coffee shop you are meeting at, then use your Googler and look at the coffee shop’s menu online beforehand.
Don’t default to the “I’ll just have whatever they’re having” mindset, most people find this sort of ordering extremely unattractive in a date. Be prepared and know your order in advance so you can show your confident side. Also, even if you haven’t been to the coffee shop before, reviewing the menu beforehand makes you a good resource for your date if perhaps they haven’t been there either, you can help walk them through the available options.
7. Be Aware of Your Reaction
If your coffee order is wrong… do not get upset or freak out about it on the server or barista. Unless the issue has something to do with an allergy, say you are allergic to dairy and you asked specifically for coconut milk, then you should absolutely let them know as nicely as possible about the issue.
If it’s only a slight error in your coffee order, it may be best to just roll with it even if that is not your natural inclination or what you would normally do. Mistakes happen, it’s what makes us all human. As an added bonus, your date may find it refreshing and attractive to know that although your coffee order was wrong you are a person of empathy and understanding willing to let it go.
You don’t want to scare off someone you are just beginning to get to know because they were turned off with how mad you got about your coffee order being incorrect. Although, if you are the type to get seriously upset over “spilt milk” then maybe it’s time for some self-reflection and change.
8. Don’t Revisit the Same Location
If you already took a date there, don’t do a repeat, chances are high you could potentially run into your former date. This would be awkward to say the least. There are a lot of different coffee shop locations and options out there, so mix it up if you are a bit of a serial coffee shop dater.
Also, remember not to bring your date to your favorite coffee hangout if you are in the beginning stages of dating. Look, we are protecting you here… say the two of you split up, we don’t want you to lose your favorite coffee hangout in the process. If you end up dating for a while it’s totally okay to introduce your new beau to your favorite cup of joe.
9. It’s Coffee, Not Filet Mignon
Dress casually and comfortably, you’re going for coffee not filet mignon, so dress appropriately. Just don’t dress like a slob, you don’t want to end up looking like the guy with the half-washed t-shirt in those laundry product commercials. Make sure you’re not dressed so casually you appear to have just gotten out of bed or rolled off the couch and into the coffee shop. First impressions are everything in the early stages of dating so put effort into your appearance and dress, just don’t go overboard.
10. Stay Focused
Coffee shops are busy places with lots of people coming and going. Be sure to stay focused on your date and remember to make eye contact. You don’t want to be looking at every single person who walks by. You also don’t want your date to think you might be checking out everyone else walking by, or that you are some sort of creeper. It is important to be in the moment, so don’t worry about people walking around behind you or in your peripheral vision.
Some people are more easily distracted than others, and they may find it incredibly difficult to stay focused on their date. For these people, we recommend picking a point somewhere in the middle of the table between you and your date, and whenever you know someone is going to pass by look at this spot on the table and then immediately look back up into your dates eyes, it will force your brain to refocus on the task at hand. Just ensure you do this as casually and naturally as possible so your date isn’t trying to figure out what it is you’ve been staring at on the table, lol! This is also a great trick to utilize if you’re nervous.
Put your phone, and smartwatch if you have one, on do not disturb mode because you want your date to know you are completely focused on them and nothing else. Maybe even say out loud to your date you are going to put your devices on do not disturb and that you are going to put them away (not in plan sight sitting on the table in front of you). Making these declarations out loud to your date will certainly earn you some extra brownie points. People long to feel important and this is a sure-fire way to make it known you understand how important they (and their time) truly is.
12. Share Something Sweet
We’re not talking about telling your date about how you like to volunteer on the weekends at the local animal shelter or elderly retirement home, we’re literally talking about sharing something sweet, like a slice of cake. Although, sharing your fun stories about washing the dogs at the local shelter will certainly earn you brownie points with your date (pun intended).
Sharing a sweet treat with someone is not only a great way to bond, but research shows that individuals are more open to situations and conversation while they are eating. Also, sugar releases those happy chemicals in our brains making us more relaxed and comfortable in the situation. Whether you want to be more intimate with your date and share the same slice of indulgence, or you’re a bit of a germaphobe and prefer your own plate, either way having something sweet involved in the equation is like the cherry on top of the sundae. 🙂
13. Remember F.O.R.E.
This is super important! Coffee shops are ideal date locations for getting to know someone through conversation, but you don’t need to think too hard about what to talk about beforehand, just try to remember F.O.R.E. People love to talk about themselves because it’s the thing they are more knowledgeable about, and F.O.R.E. will help you to engage with them.
F.O.R.E. stands for family, occupation, recreation and education. You don’t need to create conversation about these topics in that same order, but it does give you the main topics you should cover when trying to create conversation with someone. You don’t need to have every detail of their life regarding these areas, after all it’s just coffee. Steer clear of asking super in-depth questions such as “how many students were in your organic chemistry class?” That would just be strange. Just be cool and relax… you’ve got this.
Use these topics to help start the conversation, and if you hit a weird moment of silence then revert to the F.O.R.E. acronym to see if there is an area you haven’t yet spoken about. You date will think you are a great communicator, and they will also think you are truly interested in getting to know them.
We recommend starting with questions surrounding Family first. These questions would include where they are from, where they live now, how many siblings they have, etc. Next, we recommend asking them about their education background, although remember this is not a job interview
14. Have the Next Step Ready
Okay, so let’s say it goes very well at the coffee shop, then what? Be sure to have the next step ready. Your date may not have planned much after your coffee date in the hopes it would go well and the two of you might want to venture onto something else afterwards. Have a game plan ready if things go well, and “coincidentally” neither of you have plans after coffee. Think of several options of things you could do in the area near the coffee shop, maybe there is a great secondhand book store and your date loves to read, or maybe there is an antiques show or farmer’s market happening nearby, perhaps there’s a nearby boxing match, whatever it is, have it ready to go on the backburner just in case.
The Bottom Line
There is no need to ever have a boring coffee date again. The concept of coffee may not be anything super spectacular, but it is an inexpensive way to have a great time and engaging conversation with someone. Its surprisingly much easier to make conversation over coffee than trying to time your conversation over restaurant food courses and your server constantly butting in to ask your table the obligatory “how’s everything tasting” question. With these helpful tips you can prepare yourself for an amazing coffee date that you’ll remember for years to come… hopefully only for good reasons though. Cheers.