How Can I Turn Drinks into Dinner Without Scaring Guys Off?

I’ve been reading your blog for about two years now and your book ‘Why He Disappeared‘ really helped me get over a failed relationship. Thank you! I have been dating in London for over a year now and I don’t understand something…

When you talk about dates, you usually talk about meeting a man for dinner, him planning the date, etc. I’d like to go on that kind of date, but what I usually get is invitations for drinks, a popular phrase is ‘something casual’. I said yes to several of those and they were mostly disappointing. They either invite me to go to a pub, or have no idea where to go at all and leave it to me to decide on the place. After a drink or two, if it’s going alright, I suggest having dinner – they never do – but it’s usually about 8pm and I’m hungry, and again, they have no idea where to go.

I thought it was the fault of dating apps – that’s what I’ve been using to meet men, so I signed up for e-Harmony, still the same result. So my question to you is, what should I do in this situation? I realize I hate drinks dates. I don’t think it gives anyone a chance to impress anyone; I’m not going to wear heels to go to a pub.

A couple of people suggested meeting for a coffee. If they don’t know me well enough to risk spending two hours having dinner with me, we could chat a bit more, or talk on the phone. I personally don’t mind spending a couple of hours getting to know a new person over dinner; I do not see anything threatening in a dinner date situation.

Am I missing something? I tried telling one guy I was talking to online that I don’t know what to make of drinks dates… he never wrote back. How do I explain to people that I don’t think drinks are a good idea without putting them off? Or do I meet them, have one drink and then say ‘sorry, I have to go’? I would really appreciate your help with this!


I feel for you, Katerina.

But the greatest gift I can give you right now is not sympathy; it’s actually teaching you to understand the male point of view regarding your common situation.

Have you ever talked with a man about his dating experience? Have you ever read the male commenters on this blog? It’s not that you’re “wrong” to hope to have dinner on a first date; it’s that you seem to have no empathy for the male dating experience. It’s not even that you’re callous about it; it’s that you’re clueless — the same way men are clueless when they ask you out on a date without a plan. So…

If you’re a quality man with an average profile, you write 100 generic emails to the 100 most attractive women on the website.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

If you’re lucky, 20 will write back.
If you’re unlucky, 10 will write back.
If you’re delusional about the kind of women you can get online, 0 will write back.

Now, when this man finally does get responses, they’re not unlike the responses you get from men: short, awkward, stilted, poorly spelled, incurious.

Out of those 20 emails, only 10 may be worth a second response.

Of those 10 emails, only 5 might get to the point of exchanging phone numbers.

Yes, you were missing something: an understanding of the male dating experience.

Of those 5, only 3 might end up on a first date.

Of those 3 first dates, one might be in a bad place in life, one might not find him attractive, and one might have lied about her weight and age. So…

How do you feel if you’re this man?
How do you feel about dating?
How do you feel about yourself?
How do you feel about women?

Probably pretty shitty.

Make no mistake: most men expend a LOT of energy for very little reward.

But it doesn’t end there.

It seems to men that no matter what they do, they’re doing it wrong.

    • – Push too fast to meet? You’re a stalker.


    • – Take too long to meet? You’re a player with too many options.


    • – Spend a lot of money on a first date? Too intimate. Too much pressure to put out.


    – Spend too little money on a first date? He’s cheap. Selfish. A serial dater.

What do most guys do in light of all of this? Exactly what you described


    • a. Choose a casual, low-stakes place for coffee or drinks, so he doesn’t have to spend too much time or money on a woman who, 75% of the time, will not become a second date. (Presuming there’s a 50% chance you don’t like him and a 50% chance he doesn’t like you.)

b. Ask “What do YOU want to do?” He figures if he asks you, he can’t get it wrong. (Which is, of course, the wrong answer. You don’t want him to ask you where to go. You want him to make the decision YOU would, picking anything – except a coffee shop, bar, pub, chain restaurant, or fancy restaurant, as long as it’s well-reviewed, local, and you haven’t eaten there recently. How could he go wrong?)

None of those is to suggest that your desire to have a better first date connection is a foolish one. If anything, I completely agree with you and have written extensively about the value of building up trust, rapport and anticipation BEFORE the first date to ensure that you go on better first dates.

Most guys don’t like the odds of splurging on dinner with a stranger, so the trick is in making him invest in you PRIOR to your first date.

To answer your question more pointedly, Katerina, yes, you were missing something: an understanding of the male dating experience.

Now that you know that:

    • A) Men face more rejection in a month than you’ve likely faced in your lifetime.


    • B) Men get stuck paying for a new woman each week who doesn’t come as advertised or doesn’t like him in return, and…


    C) Men don’t know (or care) what you want out of a date — they’re just trying to see if there’s chemistry before investing a lot of money…

Perhaps that will help you have more empathy for these poor clueless schmucks.

Now that you do, your best bet to get a guy to WANT to take you out to dinner?

Follow my 2/2/2 rule as outlined in my TED talk and Finding the One Online — and watch as men step up to the plate like never before.

In summation, most guys don’t like the odds of splurging on dinner with a stranger, so the trick is in making him invest in you PRIOR to your first date. Not by demanding dinner after your first eHarmony email, but by flirting and leading him from email to the phone to a date over the course of a week.

My Love U clients SWEAR that this is the most life-changing thing they’ve ever learned about online dating, so please, don’t knock it until you’ve taken my course and tried it yourself.