A first date falls into two categories: following up on an introduction, or pursuing personal instincts when asking out someone of your choosing. No matter which approach is taken, first dates can be stressful for both parties. It is normal to be a little nervous as one always wants to put their best foot forward and make a good first impression. The question commonly asked is how to go about planning a date that says "I like you" and "I want to get to know you". In order for your level of interest to be conveyed it is important to show that effort and thought went into setting the right tone for your time spent together.
Begin the process with a phone call. As old school as it may sound, texts, tweets or emails just don't cut it as a way to ask someone out. Direct communication where conversation can flow back and forth is still king.
Pick a location where you can talk without screaming. Hip and cool is fine, crazy loud with a thumping sound track is a no-no. The restaurant's atmosphere and people watching are great sources for dialog. Observations made can be very revealing about each other.
Don't pick a see and be seen place. The focus should be on the two of you without the interruptions of having to interface with the people you know in the room. Plus no reason to inform your immediate universe what you are up to.
Movies are a perfect third or forth date idea as they provide food for thought later in the evening. As far as first dates go, stick to plans that allow you to get to know one another rather than sitting in the dark munching on popcorn.
Common hobbies and shared interests are great for couples to engage in, but not on a first date. As your initial get together, hiking, biking, sky diving may not be an ideal way to connect. No need to show them your sweated up look right away. Making small talk while gripping your knees and panting is not sexy.
Coffee: Not the best idea for an initial meeting. A cup of Joe says "I don't want to invest too much money or time with you". "I am in it for quick recon". Although coffee houses can be quaint and atmospheric, they tend to be viewed as in between activities, not the main event of the day or evening.
Lunch: A mid day meal can be seen as a one hour, more stilted, business like encounter rather than a date. On the other hand, a weekend picnic in a park, sitting on a blanket with savory threats is romantic.
Drinks: Clinking glasses is festive and shows a commitment of time and provides an upbeat vibe. What is appealing about drinks as a first date is that it leaves the door open for dinner. If things are going well it is easy to expand on your evening.
Dinner: This demonstrates a willingness to spend an extended period of time with someone. Nothing expresses interest more than a two hour meal, especially on a Saturday night.
The exciting part about a first date is that if it moves in the right direction, you are paving the way for second and third get togethers. When saying good night, assuming all went well, let it be known and take the initiative to plan another outing, leaving you both wanting more and giving each other something to look forward to...