Would You Rather Meet Out or Get Picked Up For a First Date?

Would You Rather Meet Out or Get Picked Up For a First Date?

This latest report from DatingAdvice.com doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me a little.

Money quote: “Three out of four American men and women, regardless of race, sexual preference, marital status, with incomes between $25-125K, and over age 34 said they prefer meeting somewhere for a first date rather than be picked up.”


What can I say? I’m a traditionalist. Despite my advocacy of online dating, I’m a firm believer that dating used to be better. You’ve probably said it yourself: “I miss getting to know someone organically, through work or mutual friends. And then, as we get to know each other, we feel a spark, and he asks me out for a highly anticipated first date.” This, for most people, is organic dating. When you get to know a guy through repeated interactions, you feel comfortable enough to let him pick you up and take you out on a proper date. He gets to demonstrate his punctuality, thoughtfulness, chivalrousness – and maybe even get you back to your place after the date if he’s lucky. Now THAT’s a date.

When you get to know a guy through repeated interactions, you feel comfortable enough to let him pick you up and take you out on a proper date.

But because dating is fraught with failure – especially online dating – people have gone to the OTHER end of the spectrum. Instant gratification. Let’s meet as quickly as possibly for a no pressure, no cost, no intimacy date for forty-five minutes at a coffee shop to see if we have chemistry.

And then you wonder why dating sucks. You’re not dating the way that you really want to date!

You want to get dressed up, not meet right after work.
You want to do it on a Saturday night, when you don’t have to wake up early the next morning.
You want to do it with a few drinks, not a Jamba Juice.
You want to create the possibility of intimacy, which is pretty hard to achieve at 2:30pm in the plastic chairs outside Starbucks.

In short, by meeting out, you’ve taken all of the fun, excitement, chivalrousness, and romance out of dating. You’re going into the date, assuming failure and looking for an exit strategy, instead of spending a week building up a level of trust and rapport before your big date.

Which just goes to show: just because 73% of people agree on something doesn’t mean that they’re right.

In short, by meeting out, you’ve taken all of the fun, excitement, chivalrousness, and romance out of dating.

Oh, and one other preemptive strike: Please don’t make this post about safety. Fact is: the men who are most likely to become stalkers are the ones whom you’ve dated more than once. Which is to say that a crazy guy is not going to reveal he’s crazy until later on down the road, when he already has your address, has slept with you or is your boyfriend. If you actually have a personal story about how a guy forced his way into your house on a first date, I’m sincerely sorry. Otherwise, let’s keep this discussion about the actual virtues of meeting at a restaurant or getting picked up at your home. Thanks.

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  1. 21

    I don’t consider a first meeting with an online guy a date. It is just a meeting. If there is the desire to have a date, that is another level. I usually meet for a date but not because I am scared. I just live in an out of the way place and see no reason for the inconvenience.

    In the spirit of couch surfing, I let a man with whom I had spoken several times on the phone stay at my house. He was considering moving to my town so he was going to be in town a for a few days. I wasn’t worried, I trusted my instincts, I checked his creds, and felt just fine about the arrangement. I didn’t fall in love with him but he is a friend and a good, interesting guy.

    Chancy? Maybe but I trust my instincts.

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Jane “I don’t consider a first meeting with an online guy a date. It is just a meeting.”

      And that’s exactly what I believe you’re doing wrong. You’ll enjoy dating a lot more when you make it feel like dating as opposed to meeting.

  2. 22

    What a timely subject for me. I have a first date tonight with an online date who iwill be picking me up. After a week and a half of building rapport and trust via several lengthycompelling telephone talks and texting while he was out of town on business and I felt safe enough to say, “yes,” last night. I love his traditional approach. He is making an effort and showing enthusiasm, how refreshing. i really feel like I’m being wooed and I like it. it is fun. So happy I said yes to him and hope to continue being in a position to keep saying “yes.”

    1. 22.1

      It was such a fun, romantic first date. Sealed with very nice kissing. He followed up soon after with a call tp chat and ask me out on our second dinner date this coming weekend. 🙂 I like him as much in person as I did throughout our week and a half of phone talks and texting. We were really comfortable with each other, conversation and laughter flowed, the food and ambiance was great and the physical attraction to each other was clear. Though he looks slightly different than his pictures in that he has put on a few pounds, and I was initially a bit dismayed but, he is a real gentleman, and still really nice looking, so, I can work with that.

  3. 23

    Yeah, the whole coffee-date thing sucks. It’s hard to feel a sense of romance when the barista is hollering out orders, the frappuccino blender is shrieking, and a steady stream of grumpy customers is bumping into your table. Plus everyone glaring into their laptops, writing the next big screenplay (if you happen to live in L.A.), and yapping on their cellphones. NOT romantic!

    I was recently at a Starbucks (not on a date), and had an odd experience. Table to the left of me, a divorce attorney and his unhappy female client, going over some paperwork. Table to the right of me, a man and woman quite obviously on a meet-and-greet first date, making small talk. What a juxtaposition. And, NOT romantic!

  4. 24

    I see what Evan is trying to say but alas, he can’t change the world and the way all the women in it think or feel. Although for most of what he preaches I wish he could. 🙂 So we as men play by women’s rules or we’re not in the game at all. Especially online.

    I’m in the group that thinks a “meet & greet” is NOT a date per se but it can and has turned into one on occasion for me with a woman who obviously trusted me getting into my car and us heading somewhere else close by to play darts, dance etc…..One time the woman even said to me before getting in my car “you’re not an axe murderer are you?” and I said “even if I was I wouldn’t axe murder you, you’re too cute”…LOL

    For guys online it’s a given that we’ll be meeting a woman rather than picking her up on a meet & greet, I’m fine with that and actually prefer it. I don’t even walk her to her car in the parking lot for fear of making her uncomfortable.(Right or wrong ladies? Please chime in) Even on the first date or two I don’t mind depending on the logistics etc….. like how far apart we live, where we’re going etc….. in all honesty I leave it up to the woman and whatever she’s most comfortable with is fine with me as long as she lets me know. Now if we’re going on date 5 and she still doesn’t let me pick her up at home or she doesn’t want to come to my house then we’ll have a problem.

    1. 24.1

      Q: Can I walk you to your car? [asked at the end of the date]

      A1: No, you don’t need to do that, but thank you. [you bid her farewell there]
      A2: That would be nice. [you walk her to her car]

    2. 24.2

      In general most guys I meet online assume that we’re just going to be meeting at the place. I’ve gone on probably 100+ dates in the last three years and can count on one hand the number of times an online guy has offered to pick me up for a first date. They always just assume we’re meeting there.

      As for walking her to her car JB, I always love when a man walks me to my car. It’s romantic and gentlemanly no matter what date it is.

    3. 24.3



      I think you should always offer to walk her to her car. Let her answer tell you if you actually do or not. But ALWAYS ask!

  5. 25

    Any time I’ve expressed that I wanted to wait til being picked up on a second date instead of a first, the man was understanding about where I was coming from, and didn’t take it personally. I mean we ended up going on another date. I always say something like ” I really appreciate your offer to pick me up but I’d feel comfortable meeting somewhere in person for a first date, what do you think?”

    I’m not saying he’s a potential stalker and don’t trust him. I think it’s similar to the philosophy when a man is asking us to exchange numbers or call him after just one email message, without make him feel as though he’s an untrustworthy creep.

  6. 26
    lisha viens

    If my kids are with their dad I let him pick me up. If they have any intelligence at all between my unique name and job they would have enough to stalk me in less than 5 min anyway. Someone knows where I am and if it was really really bad I have friends who’d come get me. Getting picked up and dropped off after is my favorite.
    If my kids are home, I’ve gotten a sitter so I meet them. With the chaos of instructions, hugs, kisses, etc adding a new person into the mix isn’t the most relaxing start to a date for either of us. Not to mention the potential awkwardness of a very perceptive and forthright 7yr old. I do try to keep them separate from dates until someone becomes a serious boyfriend.

  7. 27

    Even if I’ve had a couple of phone conversations with some one from an online dating site, I still prefer to meet them at the pub/restaurant for Date #1.
    Usually it will be at a place that is walking distance from where I live. Most guys ask me to recommend a place that is convenient for me & I always choose one of several good “first date places” close to home.
    So that if the date is a bust, I don’t have an issue with logistics / getting home. And if the date goes really well, and the guy has a car, it’s not out of his way to drive me home (and I’ll accept the offer of a ride).
    But in the center of Boston not everyone has a car – a lot of people use the T/bus/taxi to get around.
    Sign of a date that went very well: Date ends with smooching with the guy while waiting for his bus to arrive 😉

  8. 28
    David T

    Goldie said: But most of the time, guys want to meet on neutral territory as much as we do! They, too, have had their share of crazy, and don’t want to take any chances with a female stranger in their car;”

    In my case I would MUCH rather pick her up. I love talking to someone while driving. Low pressure. It gives time to get to know a bit in private with few distractions before the event and the necessary distraction of driving makes uncomfortable silences non-existent and also we are forced to either make eye contact or deliberately look away.

    The reason I “want” to meet on neutral territory, and I guess most men do, is I go into the asking out *assuming* she is nervous and paranoid because of my past experience on first dates. Like Evan said “If I spoke to you on the phone for a week, felt a connection, built up trust, asked for your address and you told me that you didn’t trust me, I’d feel like shit.” Even more, I don’t want to put her in that position of explaining herself or talking around it.

    Talking about Evan’s regret over the death of anticipation build up I have no problem with the point and click and meet quickly world, though I am also not a fan of coffee ‘dates.’ Just this week I began chatting with a woman on Tinder. We had GREAT chemistry chatting, progressing to texting and a phone call that same day. We had an unusual and fun first date that very night, both convinced we would be friends at least no matter how the date went. She was due at her gym, so we did a workout with some down time during and after at her gym. She said “if you survive , we will get along fine.” LOL

    I met her at her gym (yes, I didn’t pick her up, but for the logistical circumstances of the day this just made sense.) and did a brutal circuit class followed by a walk about town while I held down my dinner, and then a boxing class. It was a BLAST. If you can get all that sweaty out of the gate and still hold hands and share a smooch or two afterwards, you have moved past a lot of pretensions that can be hurdles. We connected well, and if nothing comes of a languishing iron I have in the fire (but has great potential if it does) there will definitely be a second date. Oh, and she is cute, sweet, kind and plenty feminine. You should see her pictures on her Tinder profile. 😉 Maybe I have been lucky, but so far I have enjoyed dates with the three women I have met through Tinder dates and haven’t hooked up once.

  9. 29

    I don’t need to be picked up in a stranger’s car to prove how nice I am.

    If a guy has any smarts at all, and is not an arrogant goof only concerned with how HE is perceived, he’d first consider my comfort and arrange things so that it’s a non-issue. That’s romantic.

  10. 30
    Sparkling Emerald

    I have twice let a guy pick me up on the first date if we met through OLD. They both seemed very surprised. They both gave me the OPTION, of either meeting somewhere or picking me up at my home. The 2nd guy kinda lectured me about letting him pick him up on a first meeting. (so why did he offer it as an option ?) I told him I felt like I had screened him well through e-mails and phone calls, and get this, he lectured me that it still wasn’t safe. This was after we had been out a few more times. So besides his undisclosed pot smoking, his tendency to sometimes lecture me like I was a dumb student put an end to that “almost relationship”.

  11. 31

    I always meet up at the first meeting and first date. Had a few strange ones and it made me realize that having a child and being single, I needed to be more aware. After I get to know him more, and trust things, him, then he can pick me up.

  12. 32

    Thank you Evan. It has taken a long time for that to sink in. And a few re-reads of your post.

    My mind is slowly changing.

    Now all I need is the man! (However, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that at least one of these women out here is HEARING you.)

  13. 33
    soul sister

    Just wanted to chime in here about two things: totally agree with all the women on here, you do not ever get in a car with a stranger. As far as building trust, I have built up trust, emailed, talked to a guy I met on line, and IRL he was NOTHING like he sounded on the phone and through email. So you can build up trust with a stranger, and he turns out to be a bad guy cause you miss-read him. So if you can be surprised to find out he is an asshole, you could also be surprised to find out he is a rapist. Yes, I agree, the odds are low, but ask anyone who has had something rare and tragic happen to them: A .00001% chance becomes 100% chance if it happens to YOU, and the potential “romance” of a date is not worth the price to pay if you are wrong. This reminds me of why men never worry about walking through a dark parking lot at night and women always do (or should). Men are just not in the same physical danger as women in our society. Period. So a man cannot understand what it feels like to be physically vulnerable and know it. This is also why women who go home with a man they don’t know for a one night stand, no matter where you meet him, are playing with serious fire.

    The second comment: if you have children, you absolutely do not want them knowing how many dates with new men you are going on! If I am going out for a meet & greet, I don’t tell them that! I just say I am meeting a friend, call my cell if you need me. If I were to wait until I felt ok with a man meeting my kids when he picked me up, we would be waiting a long, long time…men do not meet my kids until they are a boyfriend. The two worlds do not collide before then, ever.

    Final comment, I dated a cop who did neighborhood “Stranger Danger” type presentations. We met on line, dated about 3 times, finally allowed him to come to my house for dinner and a movie. Before our date, I asked him to please send me a text picture of his cop badge. Just because he SAID he was a cop didn’t mean he really was! He sent the pic back two mins later, and all his text said was “you are a smart woman…wish all the woman I meet on crime scenes were this smart, then I wouldn’t be meeting them”….sorry Evan, in total disagreement with you on this one. The world is indeed a scary place. No need to hide out in fear, but some healthy discretion can only be a good thing.

  14. 34

    I 100% agree with Evan. If you consider your date “a stranger” and are coming from a place of fear and mistrust, why are you dating online at all? If you changed your attitude to one of confidence and trust, you would take time to email, talk on the phone, and take he opportunity to rule out the creeps before meeting. Although I have to say never has a man I met online actually offered to pick me up on a first date.

  15. 35

    soul sister:

    Asking someone that you’ve been on three dates with to send a text of his badge before he arrives at your house for dinner and a movie is over-the-top. Not saying that you can’t do that, but you were lucky that he responded the way he did.

  16. 36
    Soul Sister

    Kristen #34 – by all eye witness accounts, Ted Bundy looked and acted like a really sweet, normal, handsome guy. I am sure some of those women’s families wish they had not been so confident and trusting. If only all creeps wore flashing neon signs on their heads and sounded like monsters But they don’t. I have gone on many, many online dates and had a blast. I am not coming from a place of distrust and fear, I am coming from a place of healthy discretion. If a woman was murdered (yes, very rare indeed, but just because I don’t personally know someone who was, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen), and if I heard she let some guy in her house she met online, I would think she was not very smart. Just like the young woman who walked home at 4:00 AM by herself from a bar (I think in N.Y?), and turned out the bouncer had followed her and killed her because she was walking and vulnerable. Opportunity meets whacko. Do people walk around in the middle of the night and never get accosted? Sure, but the ALMOST non-existent odds no longer matter for her, she is dead.

    I know more people get killed in car crashes than some stranger, and yes, I still drive every day. But I take precautions, I wear my seat belt, I buy newer cars and pay attention to the safety rating. If I leave work late and the parking lot is dark, I ask my security guy to walk me to my car. No big deal. There is so much in life we can’t control (like cancer or other illness), why not up our chances on the things we can control.

    Anyway, not judging anyone for the choices they want to make, but if you are riding in my car, you will wear your seatbelt or not ride in it. Bad things happen to people every day who say “it would never happen to me”….and yes, sometimes you take every precaution I the world, and bad things still happen. But that young girl who walked around at 4:00 AM would still be alive if she had called a cab….just sayin….

    P.S. any person you don’t personally know would be considered a stranger. A few phone calls/emails does not mean you know them. Sometimes people are shocked by what other people they think they knew very well do, happens every day….”wow, my neighbor seemed so nice, he just didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would kill his wife and kids”…

  17. 37

    Answer? It depends.

    Yes, it’s disappointing when a man wants to meet up, and yes I am less into him. When a guy asks to meet up he’s NOT putting his best foot forward. He is telling me he’s not committed to impressing me, and hence, nor am I. Go big or go home.

    Single parents have more to worry about. If I were a parent I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting some guy know where my family lives. If I had a roommate I wouldn’t feel comfortable, either.

  18. 38
    Sparkling Emerald

    I don’t know what the big deal is about meeting out for the first date or two. Most men offer that anyway and are very understanding. Evan, I agree with about 80-85% of what you say, this falls into that 15-20% category. Some women have a 2/2/2/2 rule with the 2 being 2 dates being met out.

    I don’t think a potential relationship has ever be de-railed because the MET for happy hour instead of being picked up.

    Being cautious where caution is called for is not operating from a place of fear. I put money away for retirement, I wear seat belts, I wear a bicycle helmet. I keep my doors locked at home. None of these things GUARANTEE my safety, but I feel like they increase my safety. Do any of these things make me “living in fear ?”

    The TWO guys I have ever let pick me up on a first date, expressed surprised and questioned my decision. So I won’t meet out again (except in the case of a POF’er that I swam into, whom I just happen to have known from the past) So not only will I feel more at ease meeting someone out, but my date won’t find my judgement to be questionable.

  19. 39

    To each their own. One can make all kinds of arguments about a date potentially being a serial killer but seriously that is absurd. A serial killer is not going to be deterred by a refusal to ride in a car together on the first date. The chances of a date being a serial killer infintismally small and not worth consideration. Approaching dating from a place of fear and mistrust is different from taking reasonable safety precautions. If you believe men are potential serial killers, rapists, etc., do whatever makes you feel safe.

    1. 39.1

      Doesn’t need to be a serial killer. Just a creepy, lonely guy who doesn’t know the difference between date rape and consensual sex would be a bad enough outcome for a first date.

      Although I have to add, I do live in a city that recently made national news, after a local man had offered rides to three young women on three different occasions, they had all accepted the rides, and returned back home to their families ten years later, after living in his basement for ten years.

      1. 39.1.1

        Not analogous, Goldie.

  20. 40

    While I have changed my mind about online dating and have decided that it is not for me, if I ever ‘met’ someone online, there is NO WAY I would allow him to pick me up at my house for a first date. That is one precaution that another coach who I subscribe to, advises. When u are going on a first date, meet in public places. That is definitely a safety precaution. If we go on other dates, let’s say we reach the 5th date, then I would start letting my hair down and feel more relaxed with him. Then he can pick me up at house. If I go out with a guy who I knew from before and he is single, then its ok for him to pick me up.

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