Top First Date Ideas without Nerve-wracking

Fact: First dates can be nerve-wracking. It doesn't matter if the date is with someone he or she knows pretty well; it can cause even the most confident person to become a bundle of nerves because first dates fall under the category of "uncharted territory" - an experience hitherto unknown.

To quell quivering nerves and prevent that oh-so important first date from bombing out, a few guys and gals have tips and suggestions. Read on and find out which date destinations have gotten the thumbs-up, and which no-nos to avoid.

Choose a location that's not too intimate or secluded

In places where there are other people around, couples won't feel too pressured to fill in those awkward gaps of silence. For example, dinner at a popular dining destination. "On my first date with my husband," shares Megan, "we went to an Italian bistro. It was obvious that we were both nervous, but since the restaurant was full, we had fun people-watching and making up stories about them."

Emily and Ted, on the other hand, wound up going to a stand-up comedy show. "It was the perfect choice," says Emily, "because we were both laughing too hard to be nervous five minutes into the date!"

Bert, a foodie, suggests going to food festivals. "It's a casual setting and you can sample different cuisines and dishes," he explains. "You can talk about the various stuff you've tried, and you get to find out what food your date likes."

Hang out with others

This doesn't mean double-dating - though, if it will be better for both parties, doubling up can certainly ease the stress and tension. But this one refers to charity-related activities, such as volunteering at the local soup kitchen. The presence of other people will definitely lighten the awkwardness, and knowing that they're doing something worthwhile can boost their confidence as well. And for some alone time (since what is the point of going on a first date if not to get to know each other better?), the couple can grab a meal or have coffee after doing volunteer work.

Agree on a destination that interests both the guy and the girl

Museums are great venues for artistic couples, as they can always talk about the artworks they've seen. Jamie, a potter, says it's his way of gauging if there's potential - "Like if she and I have the same views and tastes." If the couple is the adventurous type, an amusement park or activities like bungee jumping or zip lining are good, fun choices. It gives them an opportunity to discover common interests and what's more, have something to talk about.

Schedule the date in the afternoon

They can go on a picnic at the park, catch a matinee, or visit a museum, then have coffee or a light dinner afterward. Audrey recommends this. "If I'm going on a first date with a guy I'm not really into or I'm not sure about, I always make sure that we go out during the day. If he turns out to be a dud, I can always make an excuse and the day won't turn out to be a total bust, since I can go out with my girlfriends at night. And if it just so happens that he and I really click, then we have an excuse to prolong the date!" she laughs.

Try out an activity that both have not experienced before

These include rock climbing, yoga, pottery lessons, and the like. This puts both parties on even ground, so no one will feel superior and/or inferior. "My first date with my girlfriend, we went wall climbing," says Rick. "It was amazing! We were both newbies and we bonded over feeling like idiots as we scaled the walls." It's a chance to know if the other is into sports or leads an active lifestyle - not to mention an opportunity to show off those awesome pecs, abs, and butt to impress the other.

Take a hike!

When hiking, there's no room for awkwardness - those moments of silence are actually warranted in order to appreciate the scenery and save one's energy during the trek. The talking can come after reaching the end of the trail - and most likely, they've both walked off the initial jitters and can converse normally by then.

Avoid going overboard and keep the date low-key

A surefire way to make a first date bomb is by trying too hard to impress each other. Jessica, a banker, remembers a disastrous first date. "It was with some guy my friend knew; she was the one who set us up," she recalls. "He wasn't bad-looking; in fact, he was kind of cute. But I got so turned off when he started talking about himself, bragging about all the places he had travelled to. To top it all off, I ended up footing the bill because his credit card was denied and he didn't have enough cash on him!" People should remember to just be themselves, because any hint of fakeness is bound to be discovered one way or another.

Also, it's best if the first date is low-key and not too formal. Men should forget about all the pomp and circumstance; they should just save it for special occasions like anniversaries and the like. A first date is, after all, an opportunity to get to know each other better, and the pressure of attending a formal event will only exacerbate the first-date jitters.

Head over to the zoo

The exotic - and not-so-exotic - creatures of nature that they see make for great conversation-starters and ice-breakers. The couple can reminisce about the pets they had when they were kids or talk about why one is a dog or a cat person. Plus, being at the zoo can give one the license to bring out the kid in him or her.

If all else fails, just go catch a flick at the cinema

At the very least, if both or one of the parties realizes that there's zero chemistry between them, they can let others do the talking - namely, the actors on the silver screen.

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