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Hump Day: Day Date

With packed social and work schedules, young professionals are increasingly avoiding setting aside a large chuck of time for a typical nighttime date. Maya Chendke explains why cramming your next date into your daytime routine is already setting the stage for the "friend zone"

Everyone loves a good day date. Mostly because there aren’t very many alternatives these days.

No one goes on real dates anymore. You know, those things synonymous with “courting” or “dinner for two.” It’s all about day dates because we like to think there are better, more adult things for us to do.

In an era when young professionals are busy powering through their jam-packed iCals, our primary focus is on maximizing time efficiency and not the quality of our time spent. Tightly stacked appointments make us race around with our focus on the next target; never quite present in the moments we tirelessly schedule and set.

Instead of blocking off a night for a dinner date or a morning for breakfast, we often end up piggybacking multiple commitments into one evening (or day). There’s a pressure to have fallback plans, and to avoid feeling stupid for any disappointment a “wasted” block of time could be (like the blind date with the mesh shirt). We become so focused on trying to link up with other engagements and after-plans, that we become mentally checked-out of the potentially decent person before us, having a cup of tea during broad daylight (but not in a mesh shirt). 

The day date comes into play here because as a method to minimize the “waste” of our precious time, we schedule casual blocks that give the impression of two friends hanging out for a cappuccino. This lack of formality masks potentially ulterior motives behind “catching up,” and turns a plum opportunity of setting a romantic tone into a buddy moment. Hint: she thinks you just want to shoot the shit, and not actually that you like her.

Though it is essentially the norm for people who are interested in each another to suggest grabbing a coffee, I’d like to propose we make the effort to actually articulate better laid plans instead. Yes, it’s scary to put it out there that you find the person interesting…but why not just give it a shot? Scheduling a prospect in for a 45-75 minute Starbucks session doesn’t leave much room to decompress and actually get to know each other past pleasantries. Why don’t you take a gamble and suggest getting together at a hip new restaurant (that doesn’t offer free smiles on the menu). If you’re not gelling by the mains, then you can chalk it up to a nice experience (or have comedic anecdotes for your next BBQ).

Day dates can signal a casual tone that makes it really tough to navigate out of friend zone and into “potential.” Wouldn’t you rather leave yourself some buffer room to extend your brunch to a window-shopping stroll if you’re vibing? So stop looking at your Omega and give yourself some unscripted time. You’re young, you’re a super-fabulous professional, but you should also be populating some summer love into your day after the marathon conference calls and touch-bases. Just makes things that much brighter.

Maya Chendke