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. 41

    A woman here in Australia was recently bashed to a pulp and they believe she was attacked by a gay she had met on the dating site rsvp. Now if this was the case, given she was bashed at her home she must have given him her address.

    I would not tell a guy my address, nor would I get in his car with him until we had been on multiple dates, and I knew where he lived.

  2. 42

    Most of the time I end up meeting a guy somewhere for a first date because of one or more of the following reasons:

    1. It makes sense logistically.

    2. He suggests meeting up. I have yet to have a guy I’ve met on-line suggest he pick me up for the first date. Someone I’ve met in person — yes, but someone I’ve met on-line — no.

    3. Let’s face it…if you really like the guy and he drives you home…kisses you goodnight…it’s far more tempting to have sex with them the first date. Easier to meet up the first time, and avoid that temptation. 😀 It’s not about being afraid of men, it’s about being afraid of yourself! 😉

  3. 43

    There is also another issue here which hasn’t been mentioned. I live in a big Canadian city (Toronto) and I, and most other guys I know who are in my University graduate program, or who are working professionals who live in condos, don’t even own a car. We take public transport or cabs or simply walk to go to work and get around. I imagine it’s the same in Manhattan or any other big city. Meeting up for a first date has always been the easiest option, and it doesn’t have to be dull or boring. There a certain allure and excitement in finding someone you’ve never met in person in a semi-crowded bar for drinks.

  4. 44

    While there are obviously personal safety/comfort reasons for meeting out, I do get what Evan is saying. If you’re afraid for your safety from the beginning and unwilling to be picked up, you’re starting from a closed-off position, emotionally. If you trust being picked up, you’re beginning from a more open emotional position. We all know how much women want to feel sparks on the first date (or two). Well, if you’re emotionally closed-off, you’re less likely to have those feelings, and it’s less likely for Dates 1 and 2 to turn into Date 3 and subsequent.

    I think Evan has used a metaphor before regarding walls and doors. If you have walls around your house, it’s going to be hard for bad guys to get in. If you have walls around your house, it’s also going to be hard for good guys to get in. What you want to have is a door that a guy can knock at, and you can open.

    I also agree that going out to dinner or drinks on a weekend night is more date-like. Going out for drinks after work is a little like just going out for happy hour with co-workers (unless you have the hots for your co-workers). Getting dressed and going somewhere where you can get (just a little) booze in both of you is a social lubricant that can help get things flowing between you.

    If you’re that concerned about your personal safety, get a CCW or carry some pepper spray in your purse.

    1. 44.1

      One issue I have with having all dates (including first) be on weekends is that it would make our dating lives pretty sparse. There’s only one Saturday and one Sunday in a week, which is also when other events with family or friends tend to take place. So, even if I cancel any invitations from my friends or family for weekends, I’d still only go on two dates a week, and then wait five days before I can go on the next two.

      1. 44.1.1

        I didn’t say all dates should be on weekends…I said they are more date-like than the happy-hour-with-coworkers-like that weekdays are.

  5. 45
    Peter 51

    I wouldn’t expect to be invited around until she was ready to cook dinner. I would also expect to cook dinner first. So this is somewhere around 5 or 6.

  6. 46

    For me, I find it very much depends on the guy as to whether I want him to pick me up or meet him at the restaurant. As a general rule, if he’s someone I’ve met before (for example, out at a club or through friends) I am comfortable and delighted if he picks me up at my home. For me, this is lovely, IF I already feel reasonably comfortable with him.

    If he was someone I had met online and had a reasonably good and comfortable vibe from, I might also let him pick me up at home, and have done so, without incident.

    Generally, though, if I was meeting him for the very first time, I would not want him to come and pick me up, but rather meet him there. This is not so much for safety reasons (although that is a factor) as it is about me honestly being able to make an early exit if needed. Just knowing I have this option makes me relax. If he turns out to be in any way boundary-busting or insensitive to my comfort levels, or a just plain bad date, I definitely would want to be able to leave, and not wait for him to be ready to leave. This is not so much assuming the worst as it is a case of: bad dates do happen. I had one date where, the moment we sat down at the restaurant, he started watching the football on the TV and every now and again tossed a question in my direction but otherwise didn’t even look at me. It was a trial for me to go 15 minutes on that date, whereafter I did, politely, excuse myself.

  7. 47

    Evan here you go. Some years ago before I was married with kids, I let a first date pick me up. He said we were going to a friend’s party and that lots of cool people would be there. He was a military man. He just needed to make a quick stop first at his room in the Hotel where the party was being held. My gut was screaming but I went up to his room. This was about 20 miles from my house. Needless to say there was no party, I fought my way out of the room (I have 3 brothers) and hailed a cab. I was short on the fare but after I told my story to the cab driver, he said not to worry, I could have been his daughter. It could have been a lot worst! So I am in the never let a first date pick you up camp. It is all about safety. And when your young daughter gets older, you will have a change in heart.

    1. 47.1

      Again, this guy was probably a pickup artist. Never agree to go into their room/house/apartment! If they really did forget something, they’ll have no problem with you waiting in the car/at the elevator/in the lobby. And don’t worry about seeming impolite: if there is a problem, you’re much more likely to get out of that situation unscathed if you don’t put yourself into it to begin with.

      1. 47.1.1
        Rachel Smith

        If a woman does decide to be brave enogh to share a story here let’s not blame her! It wasn’t her fault. Point is it doesn’t matter if she went into his apt, he could have just as easily driven her to a desolate place like an empty park and try to do the same thing.

        1. Beebee

          I remember a comment thread a while back, can’t remember what post it was, where women who said they are reasonably cautious with men they don’t know were accused of being man haters. A few said that if women are assaulted it’s their fault for not reading the man’s intentions (how’s that for a contradiction?) They weren’t really interested in addressing the topic at hand, they just seemed to want the women to accept responsibility for whatever a man wanted to donto her, so that they can believe men don’t do those things!

          Look I don’t care if the number of male date rapists is 5 out of a population of 360 million. I’m not trying to be a victim of one of those 5. If a man can’t understand that and wants to take it personally that id prefer to meet somewhere for a first date or whatever, well then he’s not the guy for me.

          This has worked fine for me. Never had a guy get mad and go “what you think I’m a rapist?” In fact men are usually the first ones to worry about safety, offering to walk me to my car, “text me when you get home” etc.



        2. Rachel Smith

          Amen my sister Beebee- very well said!


          I’m right there with you in not being one of those 5. Someone has to be- but I can do my best to try to make sure it isn’t me.   I made a super lengthy comment at 3.5.1. Sometimes it seems we can’t win- we are suppose be open and trustful, but being too cautious is seen as we hate men and think they are all bad. But then if we misjudge them and they hurt us it is suppose to be all our fault because we should have seen it coming. It’s like we take the responsibility off the guy and put it on the girl for his criminal behavior. And it’s women who will put this burden on other women as well! We need to be supportive that no is no and if the guy didn’t get the message that it is his fault and not hers. Full stop.

  8. 48

    Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment. Let’s talk about how it can be a considerate thing for the woman to do for the man, to meet out.

    1.Men have just as busy of a schedule as do women. Therefore, I am not wasting a man’s time if he knows within the time he has allocated that we are not a match. He feels my respect for his time, energy and opinion of what fits for him. Who doesn’t feel more warmly toward a person who is respectful of him/her?

    2.Dating can be expensive if you have buy 2-3 rounds of drinks. Buying a woman a cup of coffee is much cheaper. I would think this would make a man feel reassured that my interest is in him – not his wallet, not in his “date performance” or as a “meal ticket”. Nervousness is easily forgiven; being a person who can’t be comfortable without a few drinks, not so much.

    3.It gives the man an idea of who I am without my having to explicitly verbalize some things. (Informing a man via phone or email without visual context can come across as a list of demands, far too direct and off putting to many men). Therefore I have found it helpful to provide non-verbal cues about my lifestyle. He learns I don’t drink by observing me not drink. He learns I express intimacy only within relationships by observing that while I have given him many (verbal, non-verbal and visual) cues that I truly like him, want to spend more time with him, am having fun and am eager to continue; I don’t dress provocatively or invite him past my front door. This is just as much to damp down my own over-eagerness, so I don’t get carried away, and make more of the relationship than it is. A “no” when the man in question is parked in my driveway comes across as a very personal rejection, instead of being constrained by the surroundings. I find men to be happier when they are not personally rejected.

    4.It gives the man a chance to show he can be chivalrous and romantic in any circumstance. When I meet for coffee, many men have stood outside the door, opened it for me, paid for my drink, leaned in close to ask for a suggestion about where to sit, pulled out my chair and placed a chair for himself close to me — showing punctuality, chivalry, intimacy and thoughtfulness. This made it both fun and exciting for me. This creates more romantic tension about what could happen in other circumstances — leaving both wanting more.

    The man has had the opportunity (except the decreased likelihood of instantly getting physical) and benefit, with less cost. He has had a chance to feel respected, to feel the woman’s interest is in who he is as a person, and has gotten good recon in terms of non-verbal cues and had intimate moments.
    As such, the coffee meet doesn’t seem so bad.

    1. 48.1

      I love this, Nissa!

  9. 49

    When reading the Greenwald book, “Why He Didn’t Call you Back,” I was interested to learn that many men interpret a woman’s signs of affluence as her being out of his league; a princess who’ll expect to be spoiled and/or not someone he could ever feel like he was able to provide for. I dress in low-key clothes, drive a 4 yr-old VW and don’t work in an industry known for its huge salaries. I do, however, live in a (relatively) expensive neighbourhood in a (relatively) expensive house.

    I have become increasingly aware of the reactions from men I date. There’s almost always a comment along the lines of, “Wow” or a slightly defensive, “I can tell you that I don’t live in anything like this.” I think that if we’ve “met out” a few times and enjoyed ourselves, it’s easier for me to overcome the suspicion that I might be a snob or judge him by his modest apartment than if he sees my home the first time we meet face-to-face.

    I might advise a friend who has a collection of vintage Rolexes or plays polo to refrain discussing these on the first few dates for the same reason. Having expensive things or hobbies is certainly nothing to be ashamed of but, alas, first dates can already be loaded with all sorts of crazy expectations, false impressions and nerves. I figure: why add to that?

    1. 49.1

      I have had the same reactions when a guy has come to my house. That they felt “not on the same level” and/or intimidated even though I’m just an average blue collar worker. Then one time I met a guy elsewhere and after we had spent most the day together, I asked him over. His comment upon seeing my house: “Wow! Now you’ve just added some bonus points to yourself”. I actually didn’t like that comment as it made me feel like I wasn’t anything until he saw my house and he might possibly be thinking what he could get from me material wise. We never got together again.

  10. 50

    Hi – First time commenting on this blog. I have been on Match.com for over a year. I would never consider having a man pick me up at my home for our first offline meeting. It’s just too much too soon. I consider the first meeting Date0. If we like each other, then we can go on a real date for the next meeting.

  11. 51

    We’ve all met people ‘organically’. Some we hit off with, some we don’t. We would have all driven ourselves to the venue though before meeting. (Who asks a total stranger to pick them up before they’ve ever met?) So I don’t see what is so unromantic about driving ourselves to an ‘inorganic’ first meeting. What’s the difference really? It doesn’t have to be about fear, just about feeling comfortable.

  12. 52
    Fast and Furious

    These days I don’t think you know who you could trust and for that reason I would meet out. I went out on a date with a girl previously and she offered to pick me up and drop me home. In my mind I was thinking “I have no idea who this girl is(yet), I cant let a total stranger pick me up”

  13. 53
    Make it happen!

    I don’t know how old this post is but I just searched this topic. I have been on a few dates from online and its defiantly a complaint I have. I feel limited as a guy when I don’t get to drive. If I really like the girl during the date it kills me when we walk out of the restaurant and then “oh where did you park the other direction, ok well lets do this again sometime soon!” I mean If I really like the girl I always want to kiss to make damn sure they know I like them. In these situations it’s like I am pressured to just jump in and do it soon as we leave the restaurant before they walk off to their car. I always get way better response on dates where I make the effort to give the girl a kiss at least. The opportunity is almost completely gone if I don’t get to drive. I am not super comfortable kissing on first dates and it really brings on the nerves when I have to do it out in the open. It is always light years better when I can pick up the girl and drive her, open the car door get to know what music she likes radio stations she likes. Drop her off at her place and give her a real goodbye kiss, it also opens up the option for her to invite me to stay at her place. Meeting a person somewhere is impersonal the girl might as well say meh I don’t like you that much, I have like 10 other dates this week I’ll just fit you in and don’t expect any physical contact   because there’s a way higher chance I’ll just want to leave and might not call you back. I will always offer to drive but usually get resistance so I end up going on a lot of these meet and greets that just suck, this is why guys don’t want to pay for anything anymore. I pay for everything because that’s how I was raised but if I don’t even get a real date experience or get treated like some random stranger, I’ll just go eat with my friends instead. Oh there was no chemistry! He didn’t even make a move! Well ya but you set up the date for failure.

  14. 54
    Make it happen!

    Oh yea and I guess nobody’s going to be drinking either since there’s no DD. Very romantic.

  15. 55

    I think it’s unfair of   you to dismiss safety concerns. No matter how long I’ve talked with someone on the phone, I’m not letting them know where I live or get in the car with them if I haven’t met them in person at least once. True, NOT ALL MEN are serial killers. But it only takes one, and you have to understand that women have been warned about allowing themselves to be in this situation their whole lives.

    In addition to safety, though, what if it’s a bad date? What if I would really rather not be dependent on this person for a ride? What if he is coming on way too strong and I don’t want to have him bring me home, walk me to my doorstep, and then disengage myself from an awkward situation where he pushes to be let inside? It’s just a bad idea. I am disappointed at how inconsiderate you’re coming off by being so cavalier about women’s safety concerns.  

    1. 55.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Get to know him better before you go out and you won’t be as fearful when you go out. Go out with a total stranger, and yes, getting picked up will feel awkward.

      1. 55.1.1

        Getting to know someone online or via phone only doesn’t really work all that well. People can be very charming or funny or know hwo to have a great conve=rsation when they are hiding behind a computer or phone. Not face to face. I have had the experience of this more than once. I met someone online, but in a business forum and not a dating site, who lived in England. We IM’d for hours and hours and hours for over a month. Exchanged pictures. I asked all kinds of very blunt questions. We really got “involved” with future possibilities. He flew here for 2 weeks. Within the first few hours there were so many things that I saw a things he hadn’t been completely truthfull about. But I had 2 weeks so tried to ignore those things. As time went on it just kept getting worse. He wasn’t like the person I had been talking to at all!!! He wasn’t dangerous or crazy but he wasn’t the same as he was on the computer. It was a total bust! About a year ago I talked via computer and phone with a guy from online for a good 2 weeks quite a bit. Everything seemed absolutely great!!! He lived a distance away so we planned for him to come to my house, pick me up, go to dinner and he would stay in my guest room. Then the next day we were going to the beach to ride bikes. So coems the day when he’s supposed to come over and he didn’t pay attention to my directions so passed my house 3 times. Then he shows up in crappy shorts and a polo shirt OVER a tank top and had old sandals on his feet. He told me he put the polo over the tank because while we were talking as he was trying to find my house I had mentioned I was wearing heels. Ugh! In addition to this, he was at least 4 inches shorter than he said he was making me tower over him! AND he was way heavier than he said he was, too. At dinner he asked how I was liking him and I told him I just wasn’t feeling it between us. He then started to pout and act like a total baby and kept asking me why and what happened? I eventually told him we could still ride the bikes as friends and he eventually said ok. Then the next day at the beach he was bugging me all day long about it and acting like a little brat. My girlfreind texted to ask for a phone number so I texted it back to her and he accused me of tecxting with someone on Match!!! Needless to say, the ride home sucked. He wasn’t dangerous either but my point is, just by messaging, texting and talking on the phone you really can’t KNOW anyone no omatter how much or how long you do it for. Even when in person, it usually takes a while to see the “real” person and really get to know them. People can be total strangers for a while…..

  16. 56

    Soul Sister’s posts are smart and right on. My brother is a cop and yes, women have been raped, assaulted, robbed, & even murdered on 1st time online dates.  
    It so much better to be safe than dead. If one woman is saved by reading our warning posts–how nice is that!
    Media can hype both ways–but stranger danger is real. Only in sci-fi movies do women really defend themselves–with guns and impossible cgi martial arts moves.  


    1. 56.1

      LilyG 56 – yes, I think there is an element of truth in what you said and thank you for saying it.


    2. 56.2

      I agree with you Lily.   I have emailed a guy for an extended time, spoke on the phone, he seemed fine.    He came across fine both online and over the phone.   But the moment I met him in real life, I knew something was off.   He looked flighty, furtive, like he was scanning the area & trying to decide what to do.   He immediately he wanted to go to a nearby beach, one that is secluded / in a heavily treed area.   I said no thanks, maybe another time.

      Over the course of the next 15 or 20 minutes, he repeatedly told me he wanted to go to the beach.   We were in a coffee shop and I sat next to police I was so uncomfortable.   They had to leave on a call.    When they left, he visibly relaxed, breathed a sigh of relief, smiled and then said “Let’s go to the beach now.”    Yes, let’s go to a secluded area with a stranger who can’t or won’t hear the word no.

      I left after thanking him for his time, and can’t tell you how grateful I was for the fact this guy did not know where I lived.    An unusual date, likely a mistake to meet for coffee instead of go to dinner or a show – but there was   no venue for a first meeting with this guy that could have mitigated the fact we were all wrong for each other.

  17. 57

    Evan, I think you are ignoring the fact that online dating is fundamentally  different from organic dating. It doesn’t make sense to carry it out in the same way.

    With organic dating, you have mutual friends. You’ve met them before in a safe environment, or if not you have some sort of a character reference. You have an idea of what to expect and know that the man probably isn’t going to be a first class jackass. Malicious people can cause lots of trouble without ever entering your house, once they know your address. It might seem harsh to tar all men with that brush – but anyone who has had that experience won’t be in a hurry to repeat it. I fall into that category.

    With online dating, you know nothing about this person you’re meeting except what they’ve claimed. For me, that’s just not good enough. I need to meet a man in a safe (public) place to see if they seem reasonably similar to the image they’ve been putting across. That is my first test of trustworthiness and one of the only tests I will ever subject a date to.

  18. 58

    I’m a 29 year old man and just recently new to the online dating thing. In every instance that I’ve met a women for the first time I’ve offered to meet up somewhere rather than pick her up at home. My reason was always that I figured most women would find it creepy or be uncomfortable with me coming over to their house on the first date. Every time I’ve had a second date though I have offered to pick them up with no pressure and every time they have agreed to allow me to pick them up (the only exception was one woman who was still living with her parents and didn’t want me to meet her parents yet but that’s another story lol). Even as a man I’m not completely comfortable picking someone up on the first date if we haven’t actually met in person.

    1. 59.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      a) Online murderers are exceedingly rare. As rare as “real life” murderers, I’d suspect.

      b) I’m pretty sure you’re validating my point – that trying to protect yourself by having a guy not know where you live until date 4 instead of date 1 will not save you from someone else’s crazy. Not that you don’t have the right to wait, but that it’s largely an illusory tactic that’s about your comfort rather than your safety.

      1. 59.1.1

        It’s exceedingly rare.   I’m sure that’s a great comfort to this   woman and her loved ones.

        I think I would have to understand your point in order to validate it.

        Are you saying why wait, if it’s inevitable then just meet sooner, because you are only postponing the inevitable if you get involved with the wrong guy?   No.   Get to know him on safe ground before you put yourself at risk.   If he isn’t willing to spend time with you unless you are taking a chance on your safety, you can bet he doesn’t care about your comfort or anything but his own needs.

  19. 60

    Regarding the poor woman that was murdered: She should have done a background check before inviting that guy into her home. He had a criminal record that would have alerted her to the fact that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I had three boyfriends (not at the same time <smile>) whom I met online and did background checks on. When I told them, after we had been dating a while, they were not offended and each one said that I was smart to do it. Better safe than sorry.

    1. 60.1

      Let the victim blaming continue

    2. 60.2

      Unfortunately I’m not sure that background checks are always fool-proof.   There’s always a first time for everything and in the cases of some people, there’s a first time for crazy!   I remember seeing a horrible story on Investigation Discovery with a woman who dated a guy with no prior criminal record.   When she decided to break up with him, he sexually assaulted her and almost killed her.   When dating him, she says he was always polite, and she really didn’t see any red flag behaviors.   She’d met him through mutual friends, so he seemed pretty “safe” and vetted.   I’m sure that’s not the only case where the perpetrator was someone with no prior criminal record.

      I really wish there was some crystal ball, fool-proof method for weeding out those people but can’t think of one.   How many times do we watch the news and the neighbors all say about the criminal–“but he seemed like such a nice guy!” Rarely do I see someone say–“yeah, he seemed crazy”.


      1. 60.2.1

        @Christine: True… nothing is foolproof, but if the person has already broken the law (as this guy did), doing a background check before going out with them could very well save your life.

        1. Christine

          Well, that’s true that if the person has broken the law before, a background check could raise red flags.   I wish there really was some fool-proof method for weeding out crazies, but am not sure what that is.   Especially with the guys who are good at hiding it!

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