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The Worst First Date Ideas

The Worst First Dates EVER

Previous studies have suggested that it can take up to nine dates to be ready to commit to ‘the one’. But if you aren’t sure of that person, it could mean a LOT of first dates. But have you ever wondered what could be considered the worst first date idea? Well, wonder no more.

We’ve asked 11,682 people for their opinion on the worst location for a first date to help you plan accordingly. Although, if you are planning to go to the cinema, we have some bad news…

Revealed: The cinema has been voted the worst place for a first date

According to a staggering one-fifth (20%) of the respondents, the cinema is the worst place to go for a first date.

The Top 35 Worst Date Ideas

This could be because - if you are hoping to get to know someone and start a relationship - the best place to do that is not going to see a film where you cannot talk for several hours. That’s not to say you can’t ever go to the cinema with your date, but perhaps save this for a future date when you know each other a little better.

We spoke with Jessica Alderson, the CEO and co-founder of the dating app, So Syncd. She said, “It's not a surprise that going to the cinema was voted as the worst first date idea, with 20% of respondents rating it as their least favourite. It doesn't give you the opportunity to talk and get to know each other, and you are stuck in the dark for a couple of hours or so. The goal of a first date is to work out if you both feel a connection and want to continue investing time in each other, and the cinema doesn't allow for that.”

Mcdonald’s is NOT the worst place to go on a date, but it is worse than going to a funeral or a football match

Around 46% of McDonald’s fans have been on a date there, but those surveyed by us wouldn’t recommend taking your first date there.

1 in 7 (13%) of the 11,682 asked suggested not taking your first date to Mcdonald's.

Jessica Alderson said, “13% of people voted McDonald’s as the worst choice for a first date. It isn't a romantic date venue and can show a lack of effort. McDonald's has a reputation for being cheap and convenient, which gives the impression that someone doesn't care about impressing their date. Not only that, but the lighting is bright, it can be noisy, and there are often kids around. All of these factors aren't conducive to a romantic atmosphere that enables you to feel a sense of intimacy.”

1 in 14 say no to staying at home for your first date

For a first date, dating experts advise meeting in a public place for safety reasons. However, if you are looking at this option to save money, there are other first-date options such as finding an art gallery or museum with free admission. Thankfully, these didn’t make our worst first-date ideas list, either.

Jessica Alderson stated, “7% of respondents said staying home was the worst choice for a first date. Two main factors come into play here. First, it implies that they aren't willing to make an effort to make the night special. If the date is at their house, they don't have to travel anywhere, dress up, or make any special arrangements. It's a red flag if someone isn't bothered about making a good impression on a first date. Second, it can be related to safety issues too. You always want to meet someone in a public place in the early stages of dating to make sure you both feel safe and comfortable. Meeting at someone's house for the first date is risky if you don't know them well.”

And don’t take your first date to meet the parents either

If you were thinking of taking your first date to meet your parents, we don’t suggest doing that. 522 votes (4%) said that was a terrible decision for your first date.

You haven’t had the opportunity to get to know the other person yet, and having your parents there is not going to help contribute to the romantic atmosphere you are hoping to create.

Thinking of going to a restaurant? This is the FIFTH worst first date idea

If you are considering going to a restaurant for your first date, you may want to reconsider. According to 4% (or 476 votes), a restaurant is the fifth worst choice. Surprisingly, the votes suggest that going swimming is a better option than going to a restaurant. But why is that?

Jessica Alderson said, “Despite restaurants being a typical first date location, 4% of people voted them as one of the worst places to go on a first date. This is interesting because a lot of people would actually choose a restaurant as their top first-date venue. However, some see it as too intense for a first date since it can be expensive, and you are expected to sit for an extended period of time without knowing if you will get on. With a drinks date, you can make a quick exit if you're clearly incompatible but when food is involved, you have to sit it out.”

Watching a football match or going swimming is a better first-date option than going to a bar

Interestingly, a further 4% said that going to a pub or a bar would also be the worst possible first date.

“4% of respondents said going to the pub or bar on a first date was their least favourite idea. While many people would enjoy this type of date, it can be seen as too casual by some people, especially those who are more traditional and looking for a serious relationship. In addition, it can be uncomfortable for those who don't drink alcohol. However, a pub/bar can still be a great first date choice if you are both looking for a relaxed, low-pressure evening of chatting and seeing if you click.”, said Jessica Alderson. 

That means, going swimming or even watching a football match is a better option for your first date. Although, they do still appear in the worst dates list with 383 votes and 311 votes respectively.

How to craft the perfect first date

Jessica Alderson explains, “Picking the first date venue can be difficult, particularly if you don't know them well. One of the most important aspects is to choose somewhere that enables you to talk and get to know each other.  It's also important to show that you are making an effort by picking a venue that is special and memorable. With that in mind, it's a safe bet to avoid the worst first date choices from the survey, such as the cinema, McDonald’s, and staying home.

“While it's important to be mindful, you don't need to overthink it, either. After the first date, you'll have a much better sense of what the other person likes and what makes them feel comfortable. With this, you can tailor your future dates to both of your preferences. Ultimately, even if the first date venue isn't perfect, it won't matter much if you both have a good time and hit it off.”



11,682 tombola bingo players were asked ‘In your opinion, where is the worst place to go on a first date?’. All responses were manual short answers, which were analysed and grouped accordingly.