First dates are always a little stressful. You want to put your best face forward and make a good impression, but exactly how to do that isn’t always clear. If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, why not plan an outing that shows off your interests and lets your date see you in your element?
Taking a hike can help you to show your date that being active and enjoying nature are important to you, and it can also be pretty darn romantic.
Here’s why hikes make for a killer first date:
It’s always a good thing when a first date stands out as creative or personal. While dinner and a movie might be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re planning a first date, it does nothing to set you apart from the countless other potential romantic interests your date has gone out with. After all, there are a finite number of restaurants in a given city, and if you or your date go out often, there’s a good chance that at least one of you has probably been to the place you’re going before. One of the best parts of a good first date is the excitement of discovery, and a boring, stale setting is a great way to kill that excitement.
Taking your date on a hike, on the other hand, is a great way to set yourself apart, and create a personal, memorable experience for both of you. You can enhance this excitement of discovery by reading up on the area you’ll be hiking in advance. Learn about interesting geological features, wildlife, or plants, and share this newfound information with your date if there’s a lull in the conversation.
Like we mentioned earlier, you could always go with the old standby of dinner and a movie. Maybe you even switch it up a little with a concert or art exhibit. But do you really want to spend all that money and an entire evening with no idea whether your date will even enjoy the activities you’ve planned? Dinner at fine a Italian restaurant followed by a symphony performance can be a great way demonstrate your appreciation for high culture -- that is, if your date likes Italian food and classical music. If not, it’s a great way to waste a couple hundred dollars and come across as boring and stuffy.
Taking a hike, on the other hand, gives you and your date an opportunity to get to know one another in a low-pressure environment before making plans that require a lot of time and money. This takes pressure off of both of you because there are no sunk costs that might make you feel obligated to stick around; if either of you decide that the date’s not going that well, all you have to do is turn around and head home.
You Can Shape Your Date as it Progresses
While we’re on the subject of conversation, it’s worth mentioning that this is one arena in which hiking is far superior to dinner and a movie. When you’re stuck across a table from one another silence can become uncomfortable very quickly, and it can be difficult to find a happy medium between too much and too little eye contact. Should the two of you really hit it off, on the other hand, your post-meal entertainment plans can cut short a great conversation prematurely.
Because you’ll both be on the move and facing the same direction during a hike, there’s less pressure to exhibit the perfect amount of eye contact, and there will be enough distractions in your surroundings that you won’t constantly be grasping for a new subject of conversation. Conversely, if things are going exceptionally well and conversation is flowing effortlessly, you can find a quiet spot to sit down across from one another and talk.
Better yet, bring along a picnic. If things don’t seem to be going well, you can skip right past this part, but if you and your date seem to have some chemistry, find a flat spot, throw down a blanket, and enjoy a little food and conversation.
A Few Extra Tips
- Make sure to schedule your hiking date so that you’ll have plenty of daylight. Leave a couple extra hours, just in case things go especially well and the two of you lose track of time.
- As always, let at least a few people know that you’re going on a hike, where you’ll be, and when you plan to return.
- Opt for a relatively short, easy trail, that way neither you nor your date get winded or sweaty. You’re both looking to make a good first impression, after all.
- If there’s one available, opt for a trail with multiple loops of different lengths. That way, if things are going well when you’ve finished the shorter route, you can continue through some fresh scenery.
Whatever you choose to do, use your judgement and be sensitive to your date’s cues, verbal and otherwise. If they don’t seem to be enjoying themselves, they probably aren’t. Don’t force it if the two of you don’t seem to be a good match. There’s no harm in turning around and going home. With good planning and a little luck, though, your hike might just be the perfect way to get that sought-after second date.