5 Rules for Great Blind Dates

The Facebook Dating Project has taken me on some interesting blind dates, and I’ve been on enough to offer some concrete dos and don’ts for men and women. My first dates have ranged from sporting events to afternoon drinks to unfortunate booze fests. Here’s what each of them taught me.

Keep it to two hours or less. If you’ve never laid eyes on the person, then there’s no need to pursue a relationship on the first date. You’ll know within 30 minutes whether or not you want to see this person again. If you’re having a great time, you’ll both want more and a relationship can unfold. If you’re having a terrible time, be out in an hour — no harm, no foul. My ex-boyfriend and I had a phenomenal first date. We never stopped talking, and I wanted to make out with him in the middle of the Farmer’s Market. But I was having dinner with my cousins so I had to go. He called the next day and asked me to dinner.

Don’t spend a fortune. I have an adorable single guy friend who felt it was his duty to take a woman out to dinner on the first date. But sometimes he did that three nights a week — on an assistant’s salary. There’s no need to sit through, or pay for, a meal on a blind date. Coffee or drinks at a bar are far less expensive. Or do an activity for free. Go on a hike, see an art exhibit, or better yet, volunteer. If you’re digging it — get coffee afterwards. The bottom line is this: If you’re on the dating scene, you’re going to be dating often. It doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet — especially if you’re never going to see this person again.