First Date Idea: Truth or Dare
It’s no secret that dating in today’s world can be tough. Both meeting people in person and on the internet pose separate challenges. But by far one of the biggest challenges in either case is truly breaking the ice - getting to know someone on more than just a superficial level. For some couples, it takes months or even years to fully get to know each other. And unfortunately it’s not uncommon for couples to discover irreconcilable differences years into their relationship. One of the easiest ways to avoid this? Get honest right away - even if it’s only your first date. A fun and easy way to do this is through a simple game of Truth or Dare.
The rules are simple: Each party takes a turn selecting “truth” or “dare,” while the other asks them an honest question or dares them to do something. Contrary to haunting memories you may have from your youth, games of Truth or Dare don’t have to focus on embarrassing questions or dangerous dares. To keep the game fun, it’s a good idea to set limits with your date at the beginning so that dares don’t become impractical. Furthermore, if there are any topics you don’t want to discuss just yet, say so before the game begins.
Breaking the Ice
Reasonably, a lot of men are wary of being hit with a series of personal or serious questions on a first date. Not only does it tend to make them uncomfortable, it tends to make the asker’s behavior seem too eager and unnatural. At the same time, most women don’t want to waste an evening with a man who they are not at all compatible with. An adventurous game of Truth or Dare is the perfect way to bridge this gap - allowing each party to ask interesting questions while still keeping the mood light.
Most of us have what are commonly called “deal-breakers” when it comes to long-term dating. For example, some women may be sure that they don’t want children. Thus dating a man who definitely wants children would simply not be possible. In another example, a woman might travel frequently for her career. So dating a man who is unwilling to travel or engage in a long-distance relationship would not be possible. Other common deal-breakers in relationships include religious beliefs, ideas on monogamy, smoking, sense of humor, and even pets. A game of truth or dare can quickly reveal some of these surprising incompatibilities that would otherwise not come up until a fourth or fifth date - or maybe even later. While being in complete agreement isn’t necessary, it is important to date someone who is largely on the same page with lifestyles and goals. Some of these unique differences may be worked out, while others may be too insurmountable to continue the relationship.
Why would two wonderfully compatible people have a bad first date? In one word, nerves. Combine high expectations with self consciousness, and each party is bound to be at a loss for words. Generating quality conversation is difficult when nervous, and it’s not uncommon for both women and men to over-think everything they say on a first date. Truth or Dare provides the perfect structure for nervous people to interact and get comfortable. Everyone knows the simple rules, and you can stick with questions that you are comfortable with to keep the interaction free of anxiety. Several websites even offer lists of Truth or Dare questions so you don’t even need to come up with them on your own.
Backed by Science
Aside from the hypothetical reasons above, Truth or Dare also has several scientific findings on its side:
Risky Conversation Trumps Safe Conversation
A study published in Personality and Individual Differences showed that delving deeper during first date conversations is worth the risk. Not surprisingly, the study found that pickup lines and rehearsed jokes had a clearly negative effect on early relationships. Researchers recommended breaking out of comfort zones and leaning toward more revealing conversation to create a positive impression. Of course, this tactic can fail if one person gets offended or is made uncomfortable. However in that case, the two of you may be incompatible -- and it is best to know this right off the bat instead of letting the uncertainty linger.
Directness Trumps Indirectness
Another study on dating showed that directness trumps indirectness when it comes to communication. This goes against the commonly touted strategy of “playing hard to get,” which is actually more likely to be misunderstood or perceived as fickle. Instead, clear and direct statements and questions were shown to be most effective in regards to flirting. If you have trouble in this area, Truth or Dare is a solid game to choose because it requires directness. Forcing each person to come out of their shell at least a little bit, the game leaves little room to hide or be vague. While it may be initially more scary than a “safe” and casual date, this route will get you acquainted with the real person across the table much faster.
Yet another study that focused exclusively on first dates found that men and women had considerably different expectations for how the night would go. Thus breaking the ice with a game of Truth or Dare could alleviate some of the confusion between how male and female minds work. This gives each party more freedom to be open and honest -- instead of tip-toeing through an evening that is riddled with misunderstandings.
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