One of the most delightful parts of the whole date experience is the element of surprise. Plan the entire evening, from the restaurant choice to after-dinner activities (if you’re going out), or the evening’s menu to the choice of rom-com to watch afterward (if you’re staying in). Remember to think about the details, from your date’s dietary preferences to comfort level with whatever you have planned (i.e. don’t take someone who is easily scared to a horror film).
A good date should be enjoyable for both parties. Not only will it inevitably lead to a better night because you’re both more engaged, but it’s also easier to connect with someone who’s having a good time. That means not dragging someone to see your favorite band, restaurant, etc. unless you know that your date will actually have a good time.
This is not—we repeat—this is not the time to experiment. One of the most embarrassing things that can happen when you’re entertaining is to cook an unfamiliar recipe, whether it’s something complicated to impress your date or just a new dish. Stick with what you know—the simpler, the better. An easy dish that’s cooked to perfection will always be better than something more challenging that doesn’t quite turn out right. You’ll also have more time to spend with your partner.
The best thing you can do on your special night is to be present. No one likes feeling ignored or having a conversation with someone that’s half there. Keep your phone in your pocket for the night and resist the urge to leave it on the table. Whatever that notification is (barring an emergency) can wait. It may seem trivial, but it will go a long way to show that you care.
Whatever you decide to do, there’s a pretty good chance that your date will go well if you put thought into it. Now that you have a good list of ideas to consider, all that’s left to do is ask out that special someone.