So, do you want to meet for coffee?

I’ve been away for a few weeks gathering great data and anecdotes from all kinds (all kindz) of people, and I’ve got some great topics for future posts. This one is about the typical go-to first date now-a-days: coffee.

I get it. It’s the first date, or as we have said, maybe not “date”- it’s a meet up, or a hang out, or some other noncommittal term, so no one is pulling out all the stops, but sometimes I struggle with the whole “meet for coffee” thing. Here’s why:

Since my specialty is neuropsychology, I tend to conceptualize behavior in terms of questions such as: “What did the brain learn?” or “What do we keep doing because the neural networks are strong making this behavior easy?” When it comes to coffee dates, they’re easy in every sense of the word. It’s easy to get there, easy to order, easy to pay,  easy to leave, etc. You don’t have to put great effort into where to go, what to wear, what you’ll discuss, the whole vibe is casual. Why is this a problem?

Whatever we practice, we get good at. Overtime, “practicing” casual coffee dates gets easy and therefore the brain likes it. The logical extension then is that anything more than a coffee date gets more difficult, and if never practiced, it’s very easy for the brain to decide “that’s too hard.” I doubt people consciously think this, but if you never challenge your brain for more, it’s going to think more is (too) hard. Worse is that you can blame another person, whom may want more than meeting up for coffee or drinks or hooking up, for being “too difficult” and dismiss them. I wonder how many ladies have been labeled as “picky” or “snotty” or “demanding” or the classic, “high maintenance” as an artifact of this process?

Could this be why many men find it hard to go past casual dating to more serious relationships? It’s hard and they are just plain out of practice? It goes back to what I was posing in my first post regarding how men and women prepare for relationships. How do you know how to have deeper and meaningful conversations if you never practice? How do you know how to listen for what a potential partner might like, and then plan a next date accordingly if you never do it? How do you have a DTR if you never talk about or think about DTR’s?

I also wonder if this could be related to why (most) women like the idea of older men. The whole having money and being more established stuff may actually be secondary. What’s primary is that an older man is much more likely to be proud to do more with you than coffee, a movie, or getting drunk at a bar. Older men are much more practiced at actually being in a relationship and are proud to be with you, which I think is what most women want. Thoughts?

For the record, I do go on coffee dates/meet ups/hang outs, and I’ve had a fine time on them, I just don’t like them as a mindless, easy standard. Now, I can hear protesters asking: “Well how do you know you even like someone in the beginning? Why waste time/effort on more than coffee if there is nothing there?” The answer is: Getting to know someone and being a good partner are skills that have to be practiced, and the effort and practice you put in even before you meet “the one” is going to prime your brain and serve you better for when you DO meet “the one.” For us believers, it’s kind of like doing well with what you have so the Lord trusts you with more. If you’re nonchalant, casual, thoughtless, or sloppy with what you have, why would He give you better?

So, let’s all be good to each other, value the time we have with each other, and maybe try a little harder at “practicing” more than what’s easy as we go on this journey. 🙂

Next post: online dating



One Reply to “So, do you want to meet for coffee?”

  1. That’s interesting, I find most guys will go for drinks as a first date. The one guy this year who’s asked me for coffee was a teetotaller. I think coffee can be good for a first date as it’s fairly low investment and a good icebreaker, but can be a bit difficult to navigate around work.


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