Dinner and a movie are a classic first-date idea, because well, you don’t want to know everything about the person in one go, and this allows you to explore a connection at your own pace. Also, because people have zero creativity when it comes to planning an outing!
While small talk over popcorn or dessert may be fine on a first date, why wait until Date 3 to discover that there is zero possibility of a deep connection? So, here are:
5 meaningful date ideas for a deeper, intellectual and emotional connection
1. Meet over coffee—at a bookstore!
It would be just a coffee, but the greater stimulant would be the surroundings and the conversations that books enable. Walk through sections that interest either or both of you, talk about books – or their movie adaptations – that have influenced you, and read select passages of favorite or random books to each other. You’ll discover quickly whether there can be a true meeting of the minds.
2. Board games
It may sound old-fashioned, but board games are actually fun to bond over and to see how well you work together or against each other. They are intellectually stimulating, make for both couple and group dates, and are a good way to see a person in a competitive environment, with low stakes. Just don’t bring out Monopoly or Uno – not low stakes.
3. Culinary workshop
Attend a cooking class and cook a meal together, because the way to the heart is indeed through the stomach. Cooking is an intimate exercise, and it allows you to see how comfortable you are in each other’s personal space.
4. Volunteer activity
To truly have a meaningful date not just for yourselves, but for the world, volunteering together is a great experience. If there’s already a cause or do-good project that’s already dear to you, your date will get to see you for who you are and you can also gauge how that important part of you would sit with them.
You’d also get the chance to see your partner in a giving environment, in turn, and it would be a date with a purpose. Not plugged into a non-profit or cause already? Here are some ideas:
- Weekend volunteering:
Sign up for being regular volunteers in the weekends for a cause of your choice. See what local organization you can join and support, depending on your expertise and availability. Working together on such activities would go a long way to build mutual respect, bond at an emotional level, and foster a beautiful friendship.
- Environmental outreach:
Beach cleanups, planting trees, awareness camps about e-waste or recycling, and such would allow you to get more time for humans on Earth – and in the process get you more time with your potential partner, on something that has meaning. This can be done just by the two of you, or as part of volunteering groups.
- Charity walks or runs:
If you do not have the time to volunteer together every weekend, small one-time events should be your choice for date ideas. Run a 10K or go on a charity walk raising awareness and funds for a cause dear to you.
- Old age/children’s home:
This may be too heavy for the first few dates, but after, if you are emotionally invested in this cause, suggest that your date join you at a volunteer activity that you both might enjoy at the home.
5. Short trips
Day trips or weekend trips to explore are for people more comfortable around each other, at the next stage of exploring a lasting connection. When there’s no other disturbance, you get to know how compatible your thoughts and interests are, from a new, closer angle.
Try to do things that hold special places in your hearts, and you will be able to know each other’s hearts a little better. Try to do things that put both of you in new situations, and you will get to know each other and yourselves in a new way. Put thought into your date ideas to see understand each other’s thinking better during it.
Happy meaningful dating!
A version of this post also appears at “First Date Tips.”