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. 61

    I don’t know how old this post is but, I’m going to comment anyway lol.

    I definitely understand why meeting on a first date when you meet someone online is important.   But I think if you met someone through a mutual friend, then being picked up on a date is totally ok.   I actually think this is where I fail with dating.   We aren’t allowing the man to be the man, then we complain about them not being a man and how much dating sucks.   I’m now going to change my meet up rule for first dates.   I have dated for a long time and I have not been picked up on a date in many years.   Once I start the “lets meet” crap, it seem like pulling teeth getting the guy to pick me up and I feel like he placed me in the friend or homie zone.   I don’t want to be the cool new chick he’s dating and meeting to hangout.   I want set the right tone on what I expect up front.   I know a lot of people are going to say “well you weren’t dating a real man because he didn’t pick you up”.   My last ex was a great man who lived a hour away from me.   He would drive that hour to see me multiple times a week. I would drive us for dates out of understanding of this but I see now that doing that was a mistake and I never got the exciting first date pick.

    Fear can stop the strongest person from getting what they true want.

    P.S. I take kickboxing and carry pepper spray for any man who wants to try me LOL




  2. 62

    I’d rather not have the responsibility of driving a woman home when things don’t work out or there’s no spark.   When I pick a woman up for a date I feel a responsibility to making sure the date goes smoothly, as though I were hosting the evening.

    But it takes two so, no.

    Women should bring themselves to the first date and pay for themselves.   This way they have a stake in  making certain the night isn’t a total waste of their time and money and maybe they’ll pitch in a bit in terms of conversation or entertainment.

  3. 63

    It comes down to two choices.    Put your own needs, feelings and safety first, or ignore that and put the feelings of the man first.   And it is true, insisting on a public venue instead of being picked up at your home may offend the other person or make for a situation that is less than ideal for him emotionally.    Girls are conditioned from an early age to put others needs first.    This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in the case of someone who has less than honorable intentions – these sorts of individuals can take advantage of that.    Which is why, sadly, women have been given the advice by police etc that if they feel uncomfortable with a stranger they need to risk hurting his feelings – get off the elevator he or she is boarding, cross the street, walk away etc.    It’s common sense yet women are conditioned to protect & others feelings at the possible detriment of ourselves.

    I know that if I am meeting someone I wish to consider a relationship with, he will consider my feelings and safety and not put his ego ahead of that in the first few meetings.

  4. 64

    I completely and thoroughly disagree. Evan, this is absolutely a safety issue.   As a woman, I feel it is important to speak out about this issue. With all due respect, you cannot speak for women and their experiences. Just because most women know their rapist first (between 65 percent to 85 percent based on one article I read), doesn’t mean that strangers cannot rape. And considering around 1 in 6 women experience rape or attempted rape, I don’t think that women are being paranoid for no reason. Most rapists are are known by the victim because people don’t generally trust strangers. However, if people did trust more strangers, you would see more rapes committed by strangers. I have been on one date where after 5 minutes of meeting a guy his hands were all over me at a movie theater. I would have hated to know how bad it could have gotten had he met up at my place and given me a ride. Even if my safety wasn’t in danger, it would have made me extremely uncomfortable to be in that situation in the first place. And there were no signs that he would have done that before meeting up with him. Also, I think it is important to stress that MOST men on dating sites are good men. However, I don’t think throwing caution to the wind is ever a good idea.

    The other issue I have is that  it is important to find a partner that respects my boundaries. If I don’t feel comfortable with a date meeting me and picking me up, then I should not feel pressured otherwise and told that my feelings are invalid. Besides, it has never been a deal breaker in my experience.  There are plenty of men who will respect my feelings on this issue that I don’t have to compromise my need to feel safe just so he can feel chivalrous. There are so many other ways to do that anyway.  The idea of putting thought into the date does count. There is the Monster Trucky Rally Theory in Aziz Ansari’s book.

  5. 65

    First date is always meet for coffee somewhere for an hour. No longer than that, doesn’t matter how well it’s going. I won’t pick her up, even if she wants to get picked up. Doesn’t matter I know her for 10 years or whatever. First date is meet for coffee and we each take our own transportation. Zero exceptions on this. Second date I offer to pick her up. She can say no, and that’s fine. If she refuses by the time it’s the third date, it usually means that she just wants to be friends (a polite way of saying that she wants to use you for a free dinner).


  6. 66
    Sammy Jaafar

    Very interesting discussion. I understand Evan’s point of view but I have to agree with the other comments regarding safety. Even if adds an extremely small safely factor, I think it is best if a woman doesn’t share her address before at least 2 dates. The same applies for men but we have to admit the risk is greater for women. As a guy, I don’t ask for a woman’s address or offer to pick her up until a couple dates and I’m sure she’s comfortable with it. I wouldn’t be offended if a woman didn’t want me to pick her up on the first date. I would understand her concerns and not take them personally.

  7. 67

    Hi Evan,


    I’m tagging in late, but wanted to mention something:

    A strong,   successful gentleman offering to pick up his supposed “strong,   successful, confident” date is a test. And it’s one many women flunk right out of the gate.

    -Freak out over the offer?   Next!

    -Defensivly state you only meet out for 1st dates? Soft next.

    -meekly agree? Ok, but no bonus points.

    -Confidently but easily agree to meet at the restaurant for X reason?   Alright.

    -Enthusiastically agree to get picked up with some indication you’re aware of the world (“I want to browse the library first”, “pick me up from yoga/work”, etc…)? Good!

    -Confidently flip the tables and teasingly suggest she pick me up, or that she’ll walk because she wants to try the wine? Yowzaa!!!

  8. 68

    I know I’m late to the game here, but I’m a woman who will give an analogy.

    If you asked most men if they would be willing to have sex with someone they met online without a condom, I’d bet 99% of them would say no.   I’d imagine that most men would say no because they would “rather be safe than sorry”, because they don’t want to risk pregnancy or STDs.

    Now, the odds of impregnating a woman is low – I mean we have to assume that she’s 1) fertile, 2) ovulating, 3) not on her own birth control, and 4) that conception occurs.   But it has and does happen enough for men to not risk it.

    The odds of a woman giving a man a STD are also low – you have to assume that she 1) has a STD and 2) passes it along to you.   However, again, this has and does happen.

    What if a man who is about to have sex insists on a condom only to be met with a woman either feeling “insulted” that the man thinks she has something or a woman who doesn’t feel as “feminine” using a condom?   Would a man be willing to chance it to avoid hurting the woman’s feelings – no.   He isn’t operating out of a space of fear either (since he is willing to have sex with the woman), he’s just operating on caution because “it only takes once”.

    Now, are most men violent/stalker/serial killers – no?   But there’s only so much you can tell before meeting someone in person – because your subconscious picks up on cues that give you a feeling about someone.   But most women have thought that they would have wanted to sleep with someone until she met him in person.   Why risk that person as their ride home?

  9. 69

    I’m a single girl and have lived alone in my own home for a long time. Before, I lived in the suburb of a city and now I live in the sticks…legit. I have had precisely two stalkers in my dating life: my ex-husband and a man I went on 3 dates with who ghosted me and then went berserk three months later when I wasn’t interested in reconnecting with him.

    I said all of that because I regularly have allowed men to come to my home to pick me up for dates when it’s practical. I have a first date tomorrow and it’s impractical for him to pick me up for logistical reasons concerning where we live so I am going to his home and he is driving us on our date. I’m not even remotely concerned. On Sunday (yes yesterday), I had a second date and he came to my home.

    Let me be clear. I live in the middle of nowhere in Southern Arizona and most of the men I am dating live an hour north in Tucson. Despite it being more practical for me to meet them, I never deny them the opportunity to pick me up if they offer, or deny the opportunity to meet somewhere to get into the same vehicle.

    My stalking experiences were terrifying and involved a lot of sleepless nights and police calls. That doesn’t stop me from being willing to trust someone.

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