It’s always nerve wracking trying to come up with an affordable, appropriate, interesting first date idea. You don’t want to come across as too eager, too cheap, or too dull. You don’t want to be unoriginal and do the same old “dinner and a movie” thing. You also don’t want to over commit yourself to someone you are just getting to know either. So what’s a person to do?

First, don’t choose an activity where you are going to be focusing on something other than each other. Unless you are 100% sure that the best date of all time for this person would be going to the movie, theater, or a concert where you are going to be focused on the action on stage, save that for another time when you know each other better. First dates are for deciding if you want a second date. If you don’t even look at each other most of the time or talk, how will you know?

Find out what the other person is interested in. If your date has fun, she’s more likely to feel that you are fun and will want to see you again. On the other hand, if you propose to go sailing and she afraid of water, you’re not likely to even get a first date.

There is much more pressure when a lot of money is spent on a date, it’s a fancy affair, and it takes place in the evening. Choosing a daytime casual outing can make things more relaxing and fun.

Here are eight ideas that incorporate all these suggestions:

Miniature Golf: This is a casual date that allows you to focus on your partner, but not so much that you risk getting stuck with nothing to say to each other. If you go in a group, this takes the pressure off even more.

Zoo: Being at the zoo is a good, flexible first date choice. Since there is no set start and end time, you can dictate the pace. If things are going well, you can linger over exhibits. If you’re struggling to get through, you can fly right through the whole thing.

Coffee: Going for coffee is a low-risk proposal. “Hey, we should have coffee sometime” is a casual statement that people throw out on a regular basis. If you are not sure if your prospective partner is interested in you, ask him out for coffee and see if he later takes the initiative to suggest something more.

Ice-cream: This is a lot like asking someone out to coffee, but indicates more of an interest than going to coffee. The underlying message of going for ice cream is much more “datelike” than going for coffee. You also get the bonus of it being inexpensive and short. You are not committing a lot, but you can get a lot in return.

Carnival: Being at a carnival can bring out the playful kid in anyone. Most people get wrapped up in the atmosphere and let down their guard. This is an excellent way to get to know someone, laugh, and have a lot of fun.

Live sports game: If you are the type of person who sits in the stands and doesn’t say a word, this is a lot like going to the movies. Forget this option for a first date. If you are an active participant who cheers, yells, and gets involved in the action, this is a great way to share your passion with someone who also likes this activity.

Sports activity: Physical activity focused on a common interest (like tennis or roller blading) is a fantastic way to get to know someone. Just make sure that the focus is on fun, not winning.

Take a walk: There is something very romantic about going for walks. The chosen scene should be pleasant, like a beach, a park, or an arboretum. It’s rather expected that if things are going well, you can hold hands. The atmosphere invites you to linger. It also can provide inspiration for things to talk about.

First dates can be very stressful. By keeping it simple and choosing an activity that appeals to your prospective date, you increase the odds that both of you will have fun and that you will get to know if you want a second date.

Author's Bio: 

Laura Giles is the owner of Dao, LLC, a wellness center in Charlottesville, VA. She is a therapist who focuses on providing people opportunities to be well from the inside out.