Written By Brynn Taylor
So, even though I'm not actively dating at the moment, I consider myself someone who has not only dipped her toes into the dating world, but fully submerged herself into an ocean of men and a pool of awkward courting interactions.
And even if we completely take away the uncomfortable getting to know someone phase, dating is still hard AF. You can be on a first date, second date, or even with someone for years, but it's always seemingly difficult to gauge AND keep people's interest.
I consider myself to be someone who is pretty easy to please, but I also can't deny I'm strongly attracted to guys who think outside of the box and come across like they put a ton of effort into planning a date.
For most guys, planning a date seems like a lot of pressure or a burden that you don't want to be held responsible for. But I promise you, it's so simple.
And ladies, if you want a guy to plan an awesome date for you, sometimes it doesn't hurt to make a few fun suggestions!
Whether you're unsure of a good idea to recommend, or nervous that you might pick something boring or unoriginal, I have a created a list of date ideas that won't suck for any party involved. Unless of course, that person doesn't like to have fun.
The Active Date
Going on a date that gets people moving is not only physically rewarding, but it also gives you endorphins and makes you mentally feel good about yourself.
I recently went on a date to an indoor trampoline place, and thought it was so cool to get to bounce around like a kid again; even though we were the only adults there who weren't solely supervising their children.
I thought it was really cool to enjoy a date where we weren't sitting around the whole time, which is already different than your typical dinner or movie date. We didn't get to do much talking, but we worked up an appetite and got some food afterwards, which made for a really awesome night.
During the warmer months, I love dates that include going on a hike, walking around a park, or walking through a garden. There's also a ton of places to do water activities like kayaking and paddle boarding.
And don't be discouraged in colder weather. Apart from indoor trampoline places, there's indoor rock climbing, and ice skating!
I find that you can never go wrong when you get to exercise while simultaneously getting to see someone's playful side.
And if you've been together for a while and have done all of the above, try doing a 5K together, or running a marathon. You can train together at the gym or introduce a new type of workout you've never done before.
The Intellectual Date
A personal favorite date of mine is one that exercises the mind. I think it's very attractive when someone knows how to think their way through any difficult situation, and there are a ton of dates where you can do that.
One of the better dates I've been on was an Escape the Room date. You can get a group of friends together, or go as a pair, like we did. If you go without a group, you'll get put with a bunch of strangers, but it's also fun to interact with people you don't know and work together towards escaping.
We got put with about nine or ten 80-year-old women, which made for a bunch of good laughs and a date that will definitely go down in the books.
Other fun intellectual date ideas include going to a trivia night at a local bar, finding a place you can play board games (some restaurants have them all ready for you), or even going to a park and bringing a deck of cards.
If you've been together a while, try introducing game nights into your routine, or head to a bookstore and pick up a few mind-teaser game booklets or puzzles and do them as a couple.
The Competitive Date
So if you're anywhere except for on the reality show The Bachelor, introducing some competition into your dating world is both fun and flirty.
This date can combine some intellect or action, or it can just be plain, healthy competition.
Of course a lot of board games are competitive, but also going to an arcade, playing some mini-golf or going bowling can make for a fun, fulfilling night out. I personally love to get down with some Skeeball or Air Hockey, and feel way too much satisfaction when I get a higher score. But don't let a girl win! This isn't the 1950s.
You can head to a boardwalk where you can do all of these things, or find a place that just specializes in one. There's also a few places I know of that do indoor go-karting and mini-golf all year round, so the weather is no excuse to miss out on a good time!
The Interactive or Artsy Date
The arts are a great way to introduce creativity into your life, even if you feel like you aren't necessarily a creative person. Often times, people don't get to explore their artistic talents in their daily lives, but I think it's so important to get in touch with the creative side of our brains. Also, I think this gets you mad points with the ladies, so you guys can thank me later.
Personally, I love going to see live performances. Concerts, Broadway shows, even local community theatre plays, and I'm there. I also love to paint, and think that those paint-by-numbers classes are amazing and tailored to everyone, even if you've never picked up a paint brush before. Some places, like Pinot's Palette, even throw wine or BYOB into the mix and, for a girl like me, that's honestly the best idea since sliced bread.
But I understand that's not for everybody, or sometimes can be a little costly.
An alternative for a more theater- or art-phobic person is interactive theater. It's a whole new experience that even someone whose doesn't like live performances can appreciate time and time again, and it's easier to get cheap tickets.
When I was in high school, I took my boyfriend into NYC to see a show called Accomplice, and it is still the coolest thing I've ever done by far. They put you in a group and you meet at a "top secret" location. Then you and your group travel around the city meeting actors and getting clues to try to solve a murder case. You also stop at some bars on the way to get drinks and food.
These type of murder mystery dinners aren't that hard to find, and are not exclusive to major cities. There's also locations all over that are tailored to a certain style performance like burlesque clubs, Medieval Times, or comedy clubs.
If you haven't yet, try searching for some interactive theater in your area. I promise, you won't regret it.
The Philanthropic Date
I think it's important to bring some positivity and selflessness into a date. If it's something that you enjoy, maybe suggest taking your date to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or animal shelter.
What person doesn't like making someone else happy, and putting a smile on some less fortunate person's face? And who doesn't love puppies?!
If you're in a relationship, some animal shelters let you take a dog or cat for an extended period of time, until they get adopted. And even if it's one of your first couple dates, you can find a place that just let's you take the animals out for one day.
Sure, getting dinner just the two of you is always fun, but feeding an empty stomach or an empty soul is much more satisfying.
Even if I go out on another million dates, there are certain ones that I'll never forget. Don't get stuck in the rut of suggesting the same type of dates over and over when there are so many options to choose from.