Whether it’s the first date or the fifty-first, if it isn’t free from a series of awkward silences or stale conversation starters, we’d much rather be sticking pins in our eyes. No matter what stage the relationship, these common symptoms scream stuck-in-a-rut dating to any onlooking outsider as well as the two bored partakers. If for you dating equates to dinner and a movie most Friday nights either with a new love interest or your long term boo, you could be one pasta alla norma away from morphing into a date-bot, only programmed to lift your fork to your mouth and repeat “come here often?”. Luckily, help is here to steer you away from the same-old and put the fun back into going out (or staying in). These fun date ideas will surely break that dreaded first date ice or bring that zing back into any committed relationship.
1. Sign up for a cooking class
Instead of sitting in the restaurant, thinking of a suitably interesting yet non-personal question to ask whilst you wait for your meals, flip reverse the situation and let the cooking do the talking. Attending a cooking class is an excellent way to find out more about someone without forcing the conversation, least of all if they can cook! You may uncover mutual travel experiences or your shared dislike for coriander over recreating the perfect Pad Thai.
2. Visit the zoo
Visiting a zoo may seem a little childish but cute animals and easy conversation – what could go wrong? Excluding the unlikely event of falling into the gorilla enclosure, not much! If you get the feeling your potential date isn’t throwing off wild animal vibes, mention that you promised your younger sister you’d take her to the zoo. This way it’s for her and definitely not because you want to see the penguins.
3. Paint each other’s portrait
Painting each other’s portrait is not to be done in public and it is possibly 6th date territory or one for the spouses. Feel free to go full Kate-Winslet-in-Titanic style if that’s what you’re into, however the more modest shoulder-up portraits bring higher comedic value and usually end in tears of the better kind. Who knows, you might even discover your inner Da Vinci.
4. Play badminton
The great thing about badminton is that you don’t have to be a hardcore athlete (or even remotely fit for that matter) to partake. It’s unintimidating, effortless and requires minimal sporting ability. Simply keep a relaxed rally going and let the conversation flow.
5. Go bowling
A lot of couples I know absolutely thrive on rivalry. They will quarrel to the bitter end about who slapped the pack of cards first or whether ‘quib’ actually is a real word and hold on, does that warrant a double word score? As it so happens these relationships are rock solid. Despite their love transforming into animosity for the duration of the game, they get huge joy from watching the other squirm in desperation to be victorious, which only brings them closer through a mutual desire to see the other loose? I don’t know, it’s very confusing, maybe they realise how both insanely competitive they are that it must be fate. Anyway, go bowling, it’s fun! Don’t use the barriers at the side to catapult your ball down the lane though, that’s cheating.
6. Make a picnic
Rather than sitting through what feels like an interrogation forced to divulge your life story over a macchiato, having a picnic is a much more intimate yet relaxed way of trying to get to know someone. You aren’t surrounded by listening ears, you can catch some rays and even people watch without getting caught out.
In the unlikely event that you’ve not already bonded over a love of food, find out their favourite finger foods and pack up a gourmet selection. Alternatively go above and beyond with some homemade treats to really pull out all the stops.
7. Go to a pub quiz
If you want to take the heat off just you and your date and create a more casual affair, get some friends together and head down to your local pub quiz. If the pub isn’t your scene, host your own trivia night by creating your own quickfire quiz questions with different themed rounds. This will help you to slyly assess their intellect and general knowledge without putting them on the spot.
8. Attend a concert
Attending a concert is more active than a cinema trip (complete with raucous heartfelt singing, air guitar and dad dancing) and way less pressurised than a sit down meal and also more fun than both! Seeing someone you both adore perform live will be a stand out memory in your dating history and inevitably bring you closer together through an amazing shared experience.
9. Visit an art gallery
Art can be highly confusing yet it makes for a great talking point! Peruse an exhibition you would never normally think of going to and discuss each painting; your likes and dislikes, its deeper meaning, the artist’s thoughts. Everyone has a different perspective on art and discovering how your date interprets paintings or sculptures may even reflect a side of their personality you never knew was there.
10. Do a grub crawl
When it comes to fun date ideas, going on a grub crawl is a true favourite of mine. This is a challenge to be undertaken in one of two ways; hop from place to place ordering only desert, or go all out and try a course at each stop-off. Personally, I prefer the latter. If your eating habits are similar, you can make the crawl even more entertaining by ordering a dish for the other person. When they arrive share both and rate each meal on a scale of one to ten. The person who totals the highest rating over all courses is champion orderer and should be extremely proud of themselves.