Amelia wasn’t her usual positive self.

Most of the time, when we talked about her dating life, she was optimistic that the time she was spending on dating apps would pay off.

She’d been working on moving conversations offline. It was a big leap, but she’d wasted too many hours chatting with men who never asked to meet.

This time she seemed depressed as she told me about her latest connection.

“I said to him, ‘What about coffee sometime?’ and you know what he said, James?”

I shook my head.

“He said, ‘Coffee’s boring. Are you a boring person?’”

“Ouch!” I winced.

Amelia continued, “So he said we should go for a drink, and he suggested this place not far from me. The thing is, I don’t really like to drink. I really love coffee. I hate the bar scene.”

She sighed.

“But that’s all guys seem to want these days. Like they have a better chance of getting lucky if there’s alcohol involved.”

Who Gets to Decide?

Where do most of your first dates take place?

Maybe you don’t feel you have a choice.

You might suggest some options, but you let him decide.

He’s the man. Planning the first date is his job. You wouldn’t want to appear unfeminine by asking him to come to you.

But what if his venue choice makes you uncomfortable?

Do you risk putting him off if you nix his first date idea?

Read Between the Lines

The venue a man suggests for a first date says something about him.

I asked Amelia if she thought it would work between her and someone who liked hanging out in bars.

“I guess it made me feel bad when he called me boring,” she said. “I mean, I know coffee isn’t original, but I will always make time in my day for it. Maybe I wouldn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t like coffee as much as I do.”

Even more than the location, the conversation you have about where to meet can be revealing.

If a man pressures you to meet somewhere you’re not comfortable with, that’s a red flag.

Now, there’s a reason some men avoid the coffee date. They’ve been told that it makes them seem cheap.

But an expensive dinner isn’t any better. It’s excruciating to realize you have no chemistry and nothing to talk about after the first few minutes—with ages to go before you can escape.

When It’s Your Turn to Choose

Amelia wondered if she’d done something wrong by being the first to suggest they meet.

Wasn’t he supposed to be the one asking to meet her?

Not anymore, I told her.

Men appreciate it when a woman displays interest. It can be hard to gauge someone’s signals online. When a woman gives a green light, he can stop stressing.

A lot of men even prefer it when the woman recommends a meeting place. It takes pressure off him.

An informal poll suggests that few women (6%) want to be in charge of planning the first date.[1]

Half of women think that the person who asked should plan the date.

If you have the courage to suggest a place to meet, where should you go?

There’s a simple rule to decide:

Pick a place where you feel SUPER comfortable.

First dates are nerve-wracking enough.

You don’t need an unfamiliar venue to make it worse.

When you meet a man in a place where you feel completely relaxed, you show up with greater confidence. He is on your turf. You know the best place to sit, you know the best thing to order, and you know where the restrooms are. 😉

You also get to see whether he shares your tastes. Is he pleased to learn what you like, or is he irritated when your coffee shop doesn’t stock his favorite drink?

If coffee is your preference, don’t allow anyone imply that makes you boring.

The casual coffee date is classic for a reason, I told Amelia.

It’s low investment. It’s easy to fit in. You can take a walk and sip coffee as you go if you don’t want to stay inside.

And it doesn’t trap you into wasting hours with someone you don’t want to see again.

What’s your favorite place for a first date? Share it with us in the comments!


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