If you and your partner pride yourselves on always thinking outside of the box, you may already be a little weary of overrated date night ideas. Whether dinner and a movie just don’t cut it or you’d rather wax your entire body than take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, being in love can mean putting your own spin on how you spend time together. Of course, communication and transparency are key. And if you’re not into an idea for date night or you’d rather be doing something else, it’s always OK to (politely) say so. Your boo will probably be happy you did.
Maybe your partner likes to make a big show out of holidays, and you prefer to keep things low-key. Or perhaps you love to go hiking, but your partner’s idea of being outside is sitting on the patio at their favorite bar. Planning a special date night doesn’t have to mean dragging your boo somewhere they don’t want to be or pretending you like a bunch of stuff that you don’t actually like. It can look like being open and honest with each other about where your head is at.
Here are eight overrated date night ideas to skip when you’d rather be doing something else.
1. A Group-Hang (When You Really Wanted A One-On-One)
Listen, you love your group of friends. Heck, you probably love your boo’s group of friends, too. They might even be the same group of friends! While it’s nice to spend time with all of the people you care about, it’s also OK to want a one-on-one night with your partner. Whether you haven’t seen them for a while or just really want to connect, you never need to feel pressure to do a group-hang when you really want a hot date night for two.
2. An Expensive Anniversary Dinner (When You’d Rather Cook At Home)
Relationship milestones can mean something different to everyone. Maybe you’re excited to celebrate your six-month anniversary, but don’t really care about your two, three, or four-month anniversary. Maybe you’ve been dating for so long that you can’t remember when you started. While it’s totally OK to go all-out for every anniversary, you don’t need to feel pressure to spend a bunch of money or make a huge gesture to acknowledge how long you’ve been in love. If you’d rather cook at home or order take-out to celebrate, you can create your own kind of traditions — including not celebrating at all.
3. An All-Out Valentine’s Day Celebration (When You Wanted Something Small)
Just as you can celebrate your personal anniversaries and milestones however the heck you want, you get to make the rules about how you navigate holidays. Maybe you skip a fancy V-Day date to volunteer at the animal shelter. Perhaps you’d rather spend the holiday with your sister than your partner. Whatever the case, you don’t need to have a glamorous or super romantic date night for each and every holiday. You can just do you.
4. Going To The Movies (When You Were Hoping To Talk)
If you and your boo are total cinephiles, you may love going to the movies together. However, if you like to talk during dates or you really were hoping to connect deeper with your partner, silently sitting facing forward in a dark room may not be the best space to do that. It’s OK to tell your SO that you’ll meet them after they go to the movies. It’s also OK to ask them to do something more interactive on your date, like mini-golf, pottery painting, or getting coffee and catching up. The world is your dating oyster.
5. A Double-Date (When You Don’t Even Like The Other Couple)
You don’t have to like all of your partner’s friends. I’ll say it again: You. Don’t. Have. To. Like. All. Of. Your. Partner’s. Friends. Should you be polite to them? Probably — you should consider treating them with empathy and respect in the same way that you’d treat anyone else. But do you need to go on a double-date to a restaurant you don’t like on the other side of town with them? Why no, you most certainly do not.
6. A Nature Outing (When You Actually Hate The Outdoors)
Yes, relationships are all about compromise. Sometimes, you have to go to your partner’s sister’s baby shower instead of eating a breakfast burrito in bed because you’re working on connecting your families more. However, if you hate, hate, hate spending time outdoors, you don’t need to go on a “cute nature date” with your partner. In fact, if you really hate anything — shopping, French food, going to the gym, nature museums, board games, etc. — you don’t need to feel the pressure to “suck it up” or “just deal with it.” Your boo likes you for you. They don’t like you for pretending to be someone that you’re not. It’s OK to let your partner enjoy their hobbies with other people who enjoy them, too. Meet up after and do something you both like.
7. A “Chill” Night At Home (When You Wanted To Go Out)
OK, if your boo has the stomach bug and just got fired from their job, chances are they aren’t in the mood to take you out on the town. However, if anniversaries or birthdays are important to you, or you just got a promotion or internship, and you’re trying to celebrate, you don’t need to feel any pressure to “chill” when you’d rather go out. You’re not “needy” or “materialistic” for wanting to have a special night with the person you’re dating. It’s OK to want to make a big deal out of something, and it’s OK to want more out of date night than take-out and a movie. There are plenty of thoughtful date ideas that don’t break the bank, so communicate how you feel and open up a dialogue with your partner about settling on a compromise.
8. Doing Something For The ‘Gram (When You Want To Connect IRL)
There’s no shortage of Instagram-worthy moments that happen on date nights (think: rooftop bars, flower walls, and neon signs with arbitrary messages like, “Here You Are”). While sharing your joy on social media can be a sweet way to connect with your friends and family, you never need to feel any pressure to get the “perfect shot” on date night, or to even Instagram about your date at all. You and your boo can connect IRL, and that can be enough.
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