Center for Shared Insight, PC

Dating Gone Right: 5 Date Ideas That Foster Authentic Connection

October 12, 2016
Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.
couple embracing with a beautiful view after hiking

In a world of speed dating and swiping, it’s more difficult than ever to make an authentic connection with a potential love interest. Online dating is a constant distraction reminding us to question “what else is out there” and open relationships are more commonplace than ever.

As a mindful dater in this world, it probably feels extremely challenging to truly get to know someone in a timely manner. Finding the right place and enough time in your schedule to truly talk and get to know someone can be difficult in our increasingly complex and digital world.

Below you’ll find five date ideas that help facilitate getting to know someone in a 360 degree way – and suggestions to help pave the way for a more authentic connection.

Take a painting class.

Adult art is on the upswing and combining art with adult food and beverages makes for a fun, unconventional evening. Painting is an activity that brings out our child-like spirit and playful nature, which makes it a great way to get to know someone’s less serious side. More than that though, seeing the way a person responds to their own artistic talents (or lack thereof) could provide some valuable insight into their character. Beyond learning how creative your date might be, you’ll learn how well he/she follows directions (or rebels!), and whether he/she is self-critical. While we rarely have the opportunity to create art as adults, this activity can activate the creative right hemisphere of the brain and lead to additional insight about life and relationships. The best part? You’ll end the evening with a personal keepsake that you can potentially treasure for years to come.

Attend a partner yoga event.

Not only does yoga provide an environment in which it’s easy to be oneself, partner yoga can help facilitate trust, healthy vulnerability, and physical connection. Chemistry is an important consideration in any romantic relationship and taking a yoga class in which you might be asked to be in close physical contact can provide some clarity around the potential for romantic chemistry. Especially if you and your partner have not yet extensively explored your physical and sexual intimacy, this is a great way to “break the ice.” Many poses will require communication to execute, which is good practice for the potential of complex communication further into a relationship. Not to mention, learning to unwind together can only help facilitate health habits and practices for future stressful times.

Take a cooking class.

Similar to a painting class, interactive activities provide more opportunities to communicate, and even collaborate in this incidence. Learn which one of you is the more natural leader, or even alpha, in the partnership (who reads the recipe aloud and instructs on next steps?). This activity can also provide insight into how fluidly you might handle future life projects together – from a small house project to a more stressful home relocation. Not to mention, cooking together helps uncover stories and preferences you might not normally find out about someone, such as their disdain for olives or childhood baking memories with their grandmother. Being in the kitchen together, even a mock kitchen at a cooking studio, is a chance to tell stories and dive deeper. This date night can also provide clarity around personality characteristics – such as attention to detail and patience. Cooking together more formally could provide the foundation for this important ritual in your future home, daily.

Go to a museum.

Examining art, science, or history together is a great opportunity to talk through differences in preference (style and design) and can also provide information about a person’s interests. Moving between exhibits and choosing where to spend time in a museum provides an opportunity to practice the give and take of a relationship and the importance of honoring one another’s unique interests. With plenty of external stimulus, it’s  easy to have worldly discussions about society, love, and passion. A museum provides plenty of opportunity for fun and laughter, which are important and often overlooked qualities in a happy relationship.

Disappear into nature.

Whether it’s hiking, boating, snowshoeing, or a long walk on a country road, it's important to get away from it all once and awhile. We live in a society in which we are constantly bombarded with external stimuli, activities, technology, traffic, and friends. A healthy relationship should still feel good when removed from daily distractions. Spending a half day in the mountains or at the ocean provides clarity, peace, and rejuvenation for a relationship. Having time to just focus on each other, conversation, and the simple beauty of what surrounds you is a welcome retreat from the day-to-day obligations you have to one another.  Without distraction, it’s also easy to access whether there is enough to talk about without the external world directing dialogue and activities. Once again, hiking or sailing provides insight into character when one is challenged with directions, bad weather, or stamina.

Whether it’s your first or hundredth date, spending quality time with your partner never goes out of style. In a world where time always feels limited and date nights may be more challenging than ever to schedule, plan activities that foster authentic connection and provide feelings of connection that last for days and months to come. Create lasting memories with a loved one that help set the foundation for an authentic connection on which a relationship can deepen and grow.

Want to learn more about building an authentic relationship and understand your path to lasting partnership? Contact Dr. Hick for a free consultation to learn more about how therapy can support a more authentic and fulfilling life.

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