There is an art and a science to double dating.

Without any set or prescribed rules, there is an art to selecting the optimal time to invite friends – or even family – to join you and your date for an evening on the town. The science of determining the right moment centers on focusing on your date’s likes, dislikes and what poker players call “tells.” Whether you weigh these factors correctly can decide whether the double date is a dud or a success.

Hits And Misses

I learned a lot about double dating from actual experience – mostly failures, but with a few homeruns sprinkled in here and there. An early failure in my double-dating history was on account of arranging a foursome evening that lasted far too long. Double dates are actually like “regular” dates in which the first encounter should include a time limit so both parties can escape without embarrassment. I learned this from arranging to go to a four-hour baseball game with my date, a close friend of mine and his new girlfriend. As it turned out, the women did not click and, by the third inning, the awkward silence was palpable.

That disaster taught me to use the science of more carefully reading my date’s personality along with the art of planning. For example, I knew the same woman who was part of the baseball game disaster would fare better at a New Year’s Eve double date, mostly because one of the other participants was my sister. My date and my sister knew each other from high school, and my older sibling has the sort of personality that makes others comfortable.

Based on my trial and error, I can offer several points of guidance for successful double dating.

Getting To Know You

To make sure your double date will go off without a hitch, ask yourself these questions as you consider how to set up the date:

  1. How well do you know the couple you would invite, and how well do they know you?

Inviting another couple you know in passing – say, your new neighbors – should be left to veteran double daters. Same goes for friends you have known since elementary school (the ones who are keenly aware of every foolish thing you have ever done). The last thing you want is someone bringing up an old embarrassing story when you’re trying to impress your date.

  1. Is your date one with a lot of friends, or is she more of a loner?

Being too anxious to show your match off to friends and family can lead to nights of regret if you don’t know a lot about your match. For example, someone with just a few friends may not feel comfortable in a group setting too early in your relationship. If things are clicking, there’s no rush to arrange double dates until you can be assured it will work for all involved.

  1. Has your date ever suggested a double date, even in passing?

After a few successful dates, you match might suggest getting together with another couple. While that is clear evidence your potential bashert is open to double dating, there is no need to say yes or rush into the invite if you are not ready. Remember, in that scenario, not only will you need to impress your match, you will be under the microscope of her friends. Tread carefully.

  1. What is the best activity for a double date?

Finding a date activity or outing that is more fun and lively as a group will stimulate the interaction among the group. That may include bowling, trivia nights or even a scavenger hunt. Beware of activities that are so competitive that your date may be embarrassed.

  1. What will the chemistry be like?

Once you get to know your match’s point of view on politics, religion, education and even food, be cautious to go into a setting where you know the other couple will have diametrically opposed standards. Imagine your date going into a tirade about the evils of eating meat if she is a vegan and your guests are hardcore carnivores. Fireworks are good, but far better than on the Fourth of July than in a white tablecloth restaurant.

If you feel confident you can arrange a great double date, go for it! With these tips, you’ll be ready to make it a night to remember (hopefully, in a good way).

You may also be interested in Dealing With Your First Argument As A Couple

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