Admit it. First dates can be awkward. Sitting across the table from a complete stranger (that you likely met online) and asking them questions is not as easy as it sounds. You’ve probably been on more than one date and wished that you were actually out with your friends instead. When that happens, you probably would have had more “success” on your date if it was a double date!
Double dates are a fun way to get to know your date and hang out with someone who makes you feel comfortable. Plus, if all goes well, you and your friend can make a romantic connection with someone and potentially start a relationship.
But how do you plan a double date? Do all the same “venues” for one-on-one dates work for double dates? As it turns out, a lot of date ideas are even more fun when you have four people participating instead of two. Keep reading for ideas on when, how, and where to plan your double date.
Do Double Dates Make Good First Dates?
They can! Double dates aren’t ideal for every situation, but under the right circumstances, you can have a lot of fun on a double date and get to know your date better. Here are six signs you and your date should go on a double date:
- You each have an open-minded, single, fun friend to bring along
- Both you and your date are open to the idea of a double date
- You and your date are both excited to get to know each other in a more casual setting
- Friends are important to you and your date
- You and your date see your friends regularly (using a double date as an excuse to “catch up” with a friend may take your attention away from your date)
- The area where you live offers fun, interactive, and unique opportunities for double dates
If all of this applies, start planning your double date!
Pros of Going on a Double Date
Why go on a double date?
- Friends can “vet” your date
- More people on the date can carry the conversation
- Less pressure with more people
- Debriefing afterward is fun!
- You can get feedback from friends
Friends Can “Vet” Your Date!
If you want to date someone who will get along with your friends, double dates are a great way to see if that will happen!
More People On the Date Can Carry the Conversation
When two people get to know each other, the conversation doesn’t always come naturally. It takes time, exploring each other’s interests, and specific skills to get an exciting conversation flowing. With four people to ask questions or tell stories, there are likely to be fewer awkward pauses.
Less Pressure With More People
When you’re on a date, you’re likely sitting across the table from one person whom you’re trying to form a romantic connection with. That’s a lot of pressure! On a double date, you’re hanging out with three people, and two of them are likely not people you’re trying to impress. This takes a lot of pressure off you and gives you opportunities to make jokes, relax, and act like you do around friends and family. Your date may actually get to see the “real” you faster!
Debriefing Afterward Is Fun
Good friends will always lend an ear to hear about your dates after they happen, but when you’re on a double date, you already have a friend who knows exactly what went down! After you drop your dates off at home, stick around and chat with your buddy. Sometimes, the best part of a double date is laughing about it afterward with a friend. The “debrief” makes even the worst dates a fun experience!
You Can Get Feedback From Friends
Maybe you tend to go on dates but don’t hear anything back. You find yourself thinking, what went wrong? Did you say something offensive? When you go on a double date, you don’t have to sit around wondering. Go on a double date with a friend who is comfortable giving you honest feedback. As they watch you interact with your date, they may have some helpful tips about playing it cool, expressing your interest, and more. When else can you get third-party feedback on your dating skills?
How to Plan a Double Date
Do you like the idea of a double date? Great! Now it’s time to plan yours.
Reach Out to Your Single Friends
When someone is asked on a double date with a stranger and their two friends, they may just feel like they’re tagging along. The best way to arrange a double date with a first date is to set one of their friends up with one of your friends. Sound like fun? Your friends might, too! Choose a friend who is open-minded, charming, and knows how to carry a conversation. They’ll be a great wingman to you and a great date to your date’s friend.
As you’re planning to meet someone, throw out the idea of a double date. You could say something like:
- “I’m so excited to meet you! Want to make it a double date and we can set up some of our friends? Might be fun!”
- “My friends are jealous I scored such a great date for this weekend. If you’ve got any single friends, I’d love to set them up with one of mine!”
- “Have you ever been on a double date? I have a good friend who’s single, if you know anyone!”
Be respectful. If your date prefers a one-on-one meeting, don’t try and push them. They might prefer to go on a double date once they know you better and want to introduce you to their friends.
Make Sure Everyone Is On Board With the Date
Like any date, you should tailor your date plans to the person you’re meeting. Don’t take a person who doesn’t drink to a bar, for example. If your date isn’t very competitive, mini-golf or even a board game date may not be their style.
Before you make any reservations or buy tickets, make sure everyone in the group is excited for the plan. Surprises are nice, but they aren’t always great when you’re just getting to know someone. You might not know what activities remind them of an ex, are triggering, or is something they’re simply not interested in doing. Save the surprises once you’ve gotten to know your date better and can surprise them in a good way.
List Of Double Date Ideas
Going on dates doesn’t have to be about getting to know someone. You can also use a first date as an excuse to go to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, check out a festival with company, or just get out of the house! The following ideas make great one-on-one dates, but they often are better with more people! Axe throwing, laser tag, thrift shopping…try any of these dates and you’ll have a great time.
Brunch at Your Local Diner
There’s nothing better than sitting around a diner ordering comfort food. Pancakes, burgers, salads - your local diner has everything and probably has comfy seats! Brunch can also be a good time to go on a date because you can debrief with friends later in the evening. Mimosas, anyone?
Outdoor Movie Night
All you need is a projector, a sheet, or a big wall in your backyard and you’ve got an outdoor cinema! Outdoor movie nights are a great way to enjoy a movie without paying the price of a traditional movie theater. Outdoor movie screenings are also a great option for double dates if you don’t want to bring a date to your house. Want a date that’s also a blast from the past? Find your local drive-in theater (you’d be surprised how many still exist) and plan a movie night!
There’s something a little unnerving about meeting up with someone on a first date to hurl an axe. But when you’re with a group of four, axe throwing isn’t so scary! Find a local axe throwing place near you. Some axe throwing places are located in beer gardens, and others are BYOB. Plan to have a drink afterward and you’ll have plenty of laughs from the day’s events.
Walk Through a Local Festival
Music festivals may be an intense (and expensive) first date, but a stroll through a local festival may be a good way to support your town and find things to talk about. Book festivals, art festivals, and small film festivals happen year-round. Many are free! Look up events in your area before a double date.
Go Thrift Shopping
Thrift shopping is another inexpensive, alcohol-free date that provides plenty of opportunities for laughs. Plus, you may just get some errands done! Come up with some fun “contests” for your group. Who can find the best prom attire? Who can find the funniest vintage T-shirt? If the date goes well, you may just leave with a fashionable souvenir.
Go Rock Climbing
There’s no better way to build trust than to put your date’s life in your hands! Indoor rock climbing gyms often have specials for date nights. They can teach you the basics of bouldering and rope climbing. If you’re not interested in rope climbing and renting a harness, try bouldering. If you want to take some extra time learning how to belay a date, try indoor climbing and scale taller walls. It doesn’t hurt to see your date show off their strength!
Buy Tickets to a Sporting Event
Baseball games, hockey games, and other sporting events are better in a group. Buy tickets and make plans to tailgate if that interests you! If you all sit in a row, you can keep your conversations relatively separate but still have opportunities to pal around with your friend.
Four heads are better than one! Most bars have weekly trivia nights. Some are themed, some are random, but all are a good chance to have a drink and enjoy an activity. If you’re really good at trivia, you can also impress your date with your smarts! Trivia nights often come with a gift certificate for drinks, so you will have an excuse to come back another time.
Host a Dinner Party
Once you and a significant other are more comfortable around each other, consider hosting a dinner party as a double date! Invite your favorite couple over for dinner. You and the person you’re dating can act as the hosts, cooking a meal together before your guests arrive. If you are not living together, this is a great way to test out how you cook, clean, and entertain as a couple. Pair this with an outdoor movie screening and you’re set to have a wonderful night!
Take a Cooking Class
Does the idea of hosting a dinner party sound like a bad idea? Maybe it’s time to take a cooking class! Cooking classes can be a great opportunity to learn a new dish, get close with a partner, and “earn” your meal.
Taking turns singing karaoke on a date might be a little awkward. If you’re singing with a group, you are more likely to have more fun! When it comes to karaoke, the cheesier the better. Choose a silly song and don’t take yourself too seriously. Some bars and karaoke places offer private rooms for small groups - that way, you can get multiple turns on the microphone or even sing with your date.
Take a Hike
Hiking is a great way to get to know someone, but it’s understandable if someone doesn’t want to go into the woods alone with a stranger on a first date. A double date often feels safer, so this is a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature. Find a nice trail with a place to eat nearby.
Set Up a Picnic
What’s more romantic than a picnic? For people who don’t like to hike, a picnic is a great way to get outside, enjoy some food, and get to know each other. There’s plenty of ways to make a picnic fun and memorable:
- Pack a “cheese board” with small treats (consider how you will cover it from dogs and bugs!)
- Bring games for the park like cards, a volleyball, or Yahtzee
- Bring your pets along!
- Put together a “classic” picnic basket with napkins, a picnic blanket, and more!
Small things like a picnic blanket or a cheese board really stick out in a date’s mind.
Go to An Escape Room
Escape rooms are filled with puzzles, jokes, clues, and other fun ways to show off your smarts. Four people is the perfect number for an escape room. Plus, the adrenaline of having to beat the clock will get your heart pumping. And everyone knows that high-adrenaline activities are great for dates!
Tour a Haunted House
Around Halloween, many venues transform into haunted houses! This is another date that is a little strange one-on-one, but a lot of fun with friends. Get your heart pumping and get silly with your date by touring the spooky, silly, or downright scary haunted houses in your area.
Board Game Bar
Look around for board game bars in your area. There are many places that offer dozens of board games to play while you have a drink. Other bars just have a few on hand for fun. Puzzle and board game bars are great for double dates. You can all play a board game together, or you can branch off and play different board games. Either way, you all have something to talk about and focus on as you’re enjoying a nice beverage.
When was the last time you played a good old-fashioned game of laser tag? Depending on how your local laser tag forms its teams, you might play against your date, with your date, or as a group of four against strangers! This is a silly way to let loose with someone while still working together as a team. Check to see if you can bring food and drinks so you can get to know your date more formally after your game.
In warmer weather, mini golf is another classic date idea that is more fun with more people! When you’re playing one-on-one with someone, there’s not much to do while you wait for your date to hit the ball. Four people playing mini-golf is more interactive and more competitive. Like laser tag and other competitive dates, be sure to check if the venue is BYOB or requires advanced reservations.
Paint and Sip (or Pottery) Class!
If your date doesn’t like to be competitive, go the creative route. Paint and Sip classes set participants up with a canvas, paints, and a teacher who helps you paint a nice picture! (Most venues show you what you’re painting before you buy tickets.) Participants are usually allowed to bring their own alcohol or snacks. If you’re naturally artistic, you can impress your date and your friends with your skills. Everyone gets to leave with a nice souvenir, too!
If painting isn’t your style, look around for other artistic opportunities. Pottery classes, craft stores, and other venues often offer classes designed for dates or groups. Your date may not have gone on a date as creative as this before!
No, don’t browse through Reddit on a double date! Find a Reddit thread for your area and ask for specific double date ideas. People may have already asked! If you live in a place like Sydney, NYC, or Singapore, you can already browse through a list of great double date ideas.
How to Have the Best Double Date (Dating Tips)
Make Reservations Ahead of Time
Getting four people into a venue is twice as hard as getting two people into a venue. If you’re going to an escape room, a sporting event, or even a park that has an entrance fee, look up whether you need a reservation. If reservations are recommended, make them just in case. This way, the beginning of the date goes smoothly and no one has to worry about finding a new restaurant or venue to have the date.
Pay Attention To Your Date!
Dates are a way to get to know someone. If you aren’t taking time to have a conversation with your date and get to know them, your date is not going to want to see you again. This happens on double dates when two friends use the time to catch up or share inside jokes and completely ignore their dates. That’s not fun. Check in with yourself throughout the date. If you’ve spent a lot of time talking with your friend, find a way to focus on your date and ask them questions. You can hang out with your friends any time!
Even on a one-on-one date, the question of who picks up the check is tricky. Every person has a different idea of who should pay. Some women still believe a man should pay for the check, others insist on going 50-50, and other people believe that the person that picked the venue should pick up the tab. Communication is key. If you asked your date on the date, offer to pick up the check. They may offer to split the tab 50-50. In that case, you can offer one more time to pick up the whole thing but don’t be offended if everyone wants to “go Dutch.” If you’re going on a double date with a partner, whoever invites the other couple on the date should offer to pay.