We often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Between commutes spent in heavy traffic, logging hours at the office, hitting the gym or working out to keep ourselves fit and running essential errands for groceries and such, there isn’t an abundance of time left on the clock. Where does one add dating to the mix?
Wherever possible, of course! Sure, we occasionally have the luxury of time and can spend full evenings getting flirty with someone new (or keeping the flame lit with someone familiar). But for many elite daters, time can be a precious commodity—and sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of it.
The trick is learning how to use your time wisely and rethinking how you date. Who says a date can’t be done in 30 minutes, start to finish? Why is the dinner date the standard, when there are two other perfectly good meals to enjoy with someone? Why can’t you knock something off your to-do list while getting to know someone better?
It’s not the length of the date that counts, it’s what you did with your time that matters. Did you have a nice conversation? Was there chemistry? Did you make a connection? Here are some great short date ideas for when time is limited.
Short Date Ideas: The Dessert Date
From business dinners with clients to family meals to evening social engagements, you might be booked solid for the last meal of the day for a while. So, why not save room for dessert and a date?
Enjoying an after-dinner delectable with someone can not only be quick and convenient, but also romantic and whimsical. Dessert menus are inherently fun—it’s difficult to be serious about sundaes, after all—and often feature beautifully crafted confections. Sharing a bite that is gorgeous and gourmet is an intimate experience that your date is going to remember—and that’s what you’re going for, right?
One thing to remember if you’re asking someone out for dessert is that location is everything. Elite daters likely wouldn’t appreciate a fast-food dinner, so it would follow that they also don’t want a Dairy Queen end to their evening. Instead opt for something slightly more sophisticated like Milk Bar or Sugar Factory—if those aren’t viable options, find something on par with them. You also could suggest meeting at one of your city’s fine-dining restaurants—simply ask the hostess for bar seating and let your server know you’re there for a nightcap and dessert.
If pandemic restrictions or social distancing is limiting you, consider putting together something at home. You could order takeout or, if you’re culinary-inclined, make your own dessert. You could also get creative with a tabletop s’mores set or warm up a pot of chocolate fondue—make an activity out of it and have some fun with your date!
Think of the dessert date as the updated classic coffee date—it’s casual, it’s comfortable, and it’s as quick (or as long) as you’d like it to be.
Short Date Ideas: The Classic Coffee Date
Yes, it’s cliché. Yes, it’s unoriginal. And yes, you knew it would be on this list. But as trite and unimaginative as it is, the classic coffee date works.
Why? Because it’s effortlessly convenient. From the minute you order to the time you’re walking out the door, this date can be done in less than half an hour. It’s often a go-to first date choice because of just that—if the date isn’t going well, you’re just a few caffeinated sips away from saying, “Thanks a latté, it was nice meeting you.”
But if you’re simply short on time, you can also use this aspect of the classic coffee date to your advantage. Are you working late on a big project at work? Take a break for a pick-me-up and meet your date at the coffee shop around the corner from your office. Do you have a time commitment that’s eating up all your evenings? Start your day just a little earlier and meet someone for a morning coffee—there’s bound to be a Starbucks that’s on the way to work for both of you.
Just remember to choose the right coffeeshop, one where you can have a conversation with someone. No one wants to constantly be talking over noisy espresso machines and loud-mouth baristas shouting various beverages into the ether. Like I previously mentioned, it’s what you do with your time that matters—make sure you’re using this time to conversate while you caffeinate.
Short Date Ideas: The Streaming Date
While you might not have time to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie, chances are a quick episode of your favorite sitcom or the new “it” drama everyone is raving about is likely doable. Insert your “Netflix and chill” joke here.
But no kidding, this is a great date for elite daters who are short on time! It’s like the classic dinner-and-a-movie date, except minus the dinner and subbing in a television show for a feature-length film. Taking commercials out of the equation, even the longest TV episodes can be viewed in under 45 minutes—and with so many streaming services now, there should be endless options of what to watch between the two of you.
And even though you don’t have time for a full-on movie night, you can still pull out all of the stops to make it feel like one! Make sure you have popcorn, refreshments and anything else you think your date might enjoy. Bonus points if you set up a projector for a more cinematic experience. Extra bonus points if you’re watching it from your home theater!
Short Date Ideas: The Workout Date
Another approach to fitting dates into a busy schedule is by dating while checking something off your to-do list. You probably aren’t going to find anyone to say “yes” to a post office date or meeting up at a grocery store, but a workout suggestion will likely work with the right person.
Are both you and your date into staying fit? Do you both enjoy taking gym classes? Are the two of you constantly trying new exercise fads and workout crazes? Then the Workout Date is for you.
If both you and your date are fitness-inclined, suggest taking a new gym class together. There are always new kinds of classes popping up at high-end cycle and yoga studios—give one a shot with your date! Gyms and fitness centers across the country have opened up their doors again, and if not, there likely are more than a few outdoor classes that meet at your local parks.
If the pandemic restrictions have shut down fitness businesses in your area, plan something on your own. Suggest a run through your city’s biggest park or meet up at a nearby hiking destination and enjoy a view with someone by your side. If you’re in a long-term situation, surprising someone with a Peloton or Nordic Track to match yours guarantees they’re equipped to take the same classes as you for future fitness dates. There are endless options for elite daters who don’t mind getting a little sweaty together!
And because working out was already something you were planning on doing, you can make these dates as long or short as you want. It’s a win-win situation!
Short Date Ideas: The Picnic Lunch Hour Date
If you’re looking to squeeze in some dating during the day, may I suggest a picnic in the park? You need to eat and so does your date—even on the busiest days at the office or the most hectic days on campus.
The picnic part sounds cheesy—and it is. It’s also the most important part, because it’s really what’s going to sell this as a real date—otherwise you’re just two people eating sandwiches at a park. So go all out!
Head to Amazon for a picnic basket, checkerboard blanket and bottle of sparkling cider and then plan your menu. Order takeout or fill your picnic basket with gourmet charcuterie. And don’t forget dessert—something decadent yet fresh, like chocolate-covered strawberries. It’ll be a romantic end to an uber-cutesy (and quick) date.
Short Date Ideas: The Dog Walk Date
Here’s another idea of how to work dating into your schedule seamlessly, as you’ll be killing the proverbial birds with one stone. And while this concept might seem unromantic, wouldn’t it only be unromantic if the daters weren’t into it?
That’s why you’ll need to make sure that your date not only has a dog, but that they also think the idea of meeting up for a side-by-side walking date isn’t too out-of-the-box a situation for them. Did they include a photo of themselves with their dog on their SeekingArrangement profile? Do they bring their furry friend up in conversation often?
If you’re both dog people, take your pooches out for a stroll with some kind of destination for the humans in mind—your favorite coffee shop, a trendy juicery, a dog-friendly café. You’re checking off “walk the dog” from your list of errands, so adding on some time for a cup of coffee while Fido takes a rest isn’t going to blow up your schedule.
You should never be too busy to enjoy your life—and that includes dating and being surrounded with people you enjoy spending time with. If your time is limited, know that the length of a date and the success of making a connection are not mutually exclusive!
So, next time you’re short on time but still want to go out, try going on one of these great short dates! And if it’s successful, go on another!
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