Casual dates are always casual, or at least, that’s the idea when you first start dating. We tell ourselves that the whole thing is just “casual”, but inside, we are half scared and half excited. Casual dating is the next step after online dating and, if done right, it could lead to some exciting (and romantic) adventures for couples.

In this guide, we have prepared a complete guide to successfully help you pick the right casual date place, what to wear, and how to make a great first impression.

Pick the Right Place

Sounds easy… huh? But let’s think for a minute. Think about what you talked about in your texts – her hobbies, music tastes, favorite books, etc. So now, ask yourself, how well will a rowdy sports bar go over? Not very well, I suppose! Think! Be creative!

Special Tip: I love flowers and plants, so one time a guy (that I still keep in touch with) invited me to a quaint flower shop that I had never been to before. He bought me a single, perfect, daffodil and held my hand the whole time we walked around and studied the beautiful flowers. I was elated that he was so thoughtful! Although the sparks just didn’t fly between us, in person, and he had to move across the country to Seattle for his company, I still love him. I hope you are reading this Mark! Some lucky girl is going to have you.

The bottom line is, just because you have both agreed to a casual date doesn’t mean that it has to be lousy. It is true that going overboard and planning a romantic evening date would be going too far, but still, you will need to be a little more creative than just grabbing a burger and taking a walk around the city. It’s the simple (but special) additions in between the casual date that count

Casual is NOT sloppy

Sadly, nobody dresses up for dates anymore. I love the old movies where the women really dress like women, and the men don suits as everyday garb and look mysterious in their overcoats and wool felt hats. There is absolutely nothing left to the imagination anymore. Ah, …alas…it is not to be! But anyway, back to reality. The rule is to be presentable – whatever that is for your date.

Think about where you will be meeting and give some thought to the person you are meeting. Don’t wear a suit if you are meeting a girl who spends her day up to her elbows in motorcycle grease. She will probably feel more comfortable seeing you in blue jeans and a nice shirt. Although opposites attract, way opposites repel. Clean is ALWAYS sexy! Even grunge wear can be neat!

Be on time at the casual date place

I know that this sounds simple, but if you are late for your date, it sends out a strong message that you’re either selfish or a scatterbrain. Neither one of these things spark good feelings in your casual date. First impressions count, and they are hard to forget. Making someone wait for you makes them nervous too!

Don’t bring your dog, your laptop, your Game Boy, your iPod, or anything else to the casual date place.

Your date may love dogs, but it is not a good idea to bring one to your first date, casual or not. My dog likes to lick its butt, and I don’t want my date seeing that during our first meeting. Two, turn off your phone, please. Nobody wants to compete with you chattering on your cell phone? I got up and literally walked away from a guy who kept talking on his phone after he had just introduced himself. I don’t need that rudeness, and neither do you. Leave your toys at home!

Check the casual date place out

I once made a mistake of choosing a place that was quiet, but usually became noxiously loud later in the day. I kept apologizing because but we had to keep screaming at each other to hear what the other one was saying. I honestly had no idea that it became rowdy at that hour. Check out the casual date place before you meet them there! Okay? No one likes screaming their lungs out to speak to you! Whew! Don’t make that mistake!

Decide BEFORE you go who pays, or if you are going Dutch

If you are just meeting for coffee on your casual date, then it’s really not an issue. But if you are meeting for a meal, it’s worth mentioning who’s paying for the food. If I really think that I will like a guy, I always offer to pay first. In the end, the worst thing that can happen is that I make a new friend. But if this issue is not casually mentioned before you go, then it may turn out to be a sore spot. If a guy asks me out, then I generally assume that he wants to pay. But I offer to go Dutch anyway when I see the waiter/waitress hand him the bill.

Just be polite and use your discretion. In a text prior to the date, you can say something like “Joe, thanks for inviting me to Randy’s Café for lunch on Saturday. I am really looking forward to it! Would you like to go Dutch?” They usually write back and say that they are inviting ME, but sometimes they want to go Dutch. It all depends. But it’s a good idea to just bring it up. It also makes you, (if you are female like me), look good to a guy. He usually appreciates your offer. You are not out to “get something from him.” You are just being nice to him. Let him pay if he wishes to do so. It may offend him, otherwise.

Bring them something thoughtful to remember you by

Ah yes, …souvenirs. Months before I met this guy in person, he brings me a tiny pink-haired fink doll to our casual date place. I was stunned that he remembered that, from three months before. (I worshipped fink dolls as a child and still have an avid collection.) Needless to say, I hung on every word he said. I kissed him very sweetly on the cheek and he bashfully smiled at me. He knew that he was a hit with me! I found what he did so sweet! I bought him a tiny replica of a Harley Davidson motorcycle to put near his computer at work. To this day, it’s still there. It was just a little thing that went over big! Remember, we are all children at heart. We still love toys!

Don’t forget to smile

I have really had to practice smiling when I first meet people. I am usually a little nervous and I have a tendency to concentrate when I am trying to listen. I have always believed that listening was important than talking. But when someone doesn’t really know you, you can send the wrong signals if you don’t smile at them and tell them nonverbally that you like them, and that you want to get to know them.

I know that I am the consummate intellectual, but we all need to remember that we are all just human beings. We need the nonverbal stuff, too, to make us feel at ease. So flash them a kind, genuine smile, and wave a little when you first meet someone. It makes for a good first impression and it’s also thoughtful and friendly. Are you friendly? Relax and give the other poor person a break! Lighten up!

Now Go Out There and Just Have Fun!

Got a neat casual date place story, or idea? Send me your favorite casual date place ideas and I will post them as I update this page from time to time.

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