First dates can be fraught with anxiety: the outfit choice, the conversation topics, the simultaneous potential for romance and disaster. That’s probably why most people setting up a first date stick to a tried and true plan, like dinner, drinks or coffee.
WATCH BELOW: Etiquette: How to avoid those awkward first dates
A 2015 study conducted by mobile dating app Clover found that women prefer going for coffee whereas men lean toward dinner at a restaurant as a first date outing. (Evidently, women can size up a potential mate in the time it takes to knock back a cappuccino.)
But in this era of ghosting, breadcrumbing and cushioning, it helps to get a little levity on the dating scene. Enter the Twitter hashtag BadFirstDateLocations. It started yesterday and already the social media site is rife with a litany of suggestions for bad first dates that are as hilarious as they are cringe-worthy.
Of course, there were plenty of #covfefe references, too.
Despite the absurdity of the Twitter responses, Chantal Heide, Canada’s dating coach, says there are definitely good and bad first date locations — and the bad may surprise you.
“In my opinion, bad dates are any that are conducted ‘interview style,'” she said to Global News. “This means sitting across from each other and grilling the other person. Restaurants and coffee shops are typically where first dates end up, but the discomfort of sitting across from a stranger with the intent of finding out if this is ‘the one’ along with the pressure to perform can add so much stress that really, you’re not getting to know who the person is in a genuine way.”
Instead, she suggests engaging in an activity that allows for outside stimulus to help spark conversation. A walk, whether it’s in a park, zoo or art gallery, is ideal because the interesting things the couple sees will incite a natural back-and-forth exchange.
Additionally, any moments of silence will feel less awkward and there won’t be as much pressure to be “on.”
After a few walking dates, Heide suggests sitting down to a traditional dinner scenario where the couple can then deepen their connection.
She does have a worst scenario, however.
“McDonald’s,” she says. “That’s about as bad as it could get, aside from taking them to your ex’s birthday party.”