Weird Date Ideas That Actually Worked | Surprising Ways to Impress Your Date

couple on date outside

Welcome to a world where dinner and a movie are no longer the norm and weird dates are the a thing. And no, I’m not talking about how Netflix and Chill hasn’t taken over the more traditional notion of a fancy dinner and an avant-garde film at your local theater. 

This is the world of online dating, a saturated market filled with dozens of individuals who are all asking the same thing: Want to grab a drink? Or for those who don’t drink: Dinner? Coffee? 

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it before. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get to know someone in a safe, public space by doing something traditional and easy like drinks or getting food. But when you consider that online dating is an incredibly over-saturated market, then you may have to approach things a little differently.

According to one 2020 report, Bumble surpassed 100 million users. And with so many dating sites out there to choose from, it’s no surprise that one study found that 53 percent of individuals under 30 have tried a dating app at one point or another in their life. 

And when you consider that the older generation is still using dating sites, then this becomes an incredibly crowded place to be. So, how do you find that piece of sparkly crystal hidden in an unlimited shore of sand? 

Regardless of whether you’re the person sending out that first message or the one deciding which match you’ll talk to, there are some surefire ways to get yourself to stand out. 

And asking your match to do something a little more non-traditional is exactly one of those ways. So let’s explore some dating ideas that may seem a little far-fetched, or even weird and see exactly why they may work. 

From quirky and offbeat activities to unique dining experiences, I’ve compiled a list of surprising weird dates to impress your love interest, stand out in a saturated market, and create a memorable experience. 

Some will work for first dates; others are better after you’ve already gotten to know the person you’re seeing. Either way, these are ideas you can have fun and play around with. 

So keep an open mind, be ready for something new, and know that regardless of how well the date goes, you’re definitely going to make a lasting impression. 

This will be a weird date that neither of you will be quick to forget.

The Weird Date That Involved a Scavenger Hunt 

This one may seem a little out there, but if you’re reading this list, then you probably expected that. And hear me out; this one may require a bit of advanced work, but if you do it right, it’s going to pay off. 

And if you don’t, well, then you can keep this in your arsenal for future weird dates because once you create the foundation of this and flush out the idea, it’s something that you’re going to do again.

happy brain with idea and light bulb above head

The Idea: 

  • Choose a theme for the scavenger hunt. Don’t overthink this one too much. This can be as loose as planning a scavenger hunt around the time of the year (like for Easter you could put the clues in plastic eggs–you get the idea) or as complex as creating a hunt based on a shared interest. If you and your date both like breweries, then shape this around local pubs in your town. 
  • Create a series of clues or riddles that lead your date to the next location. These could be written on paper, old-school style, or sent via text message. If you want to get creative, make each clue a rhyme, or if you’d rather for something more straightforward, you can play the game of using one word to lead them in the right direction.
  • You can use a variety of locations for the scavenger hunt, like parks, museums, or local landmarks. If you’ve already been dating someone for a while, you can pick meaningful locations where something important has happened during the course of your relationship. If you don’t want to go anywhere, you can just pick different rooms, too. I did this once for a boyfriend where I left clues around my house that led to specific places and he had to figure out the rhymes to decipher them to get to the next clue. 
  • Incorporate challenges or tasks at each location, such as taking a photo with a statue or finding a specific object. This is an extra thing you can add, but one that is better done when you’re going to multiple locations. It’s not necessary to do this for the scavenger hunt to be successful, though. 
  • Make sure the clues are not too difficult, but still require some problem-solving skills. And have hints ready, just in case. 
  • Include some surprises along the way, such as a hidden message or unexpected twist. For this, I recommend adding activities you can both do. One part of the hunt can take you to a bar where you play darts and if your date beats you, then you buy drinks.
  • The ending should always have a prize. This can be a fun and exciting final destination, like a rooftop bar, a favorite restaurant, or a movie you both want to see. Another alternative is making the ultimate reward a gift. If you’re dating on a budget–like I was when I did this for a date–you can create a gift free of charge. I made a coupon book for my boyfriend, where each page was essentially a “freebie” of something I knew he liked. Or his real favorite: the “get out of an argument for free” card. 
  • Be sure to communicate the scavenger hunt instructions clearly to your partner before you start, and make sure they are comfortable with the idea before spending the time to plan it. And remember, if it doesn’t go well, or if you and your date break up, you can resume this idea and just make new landmarks based on the new person you’re seeing. Sounds like cheating, but I’ve done it like four times, and no one’s figured me out yet. (And if you’re currently dating me and I do this and you happen to be reading this, then I made all that up, and this was the first time I’ve ever planned a scavenger hunt!)
happy face looking to the right

Who It’s Best for:

Couples who’ve been together for at least a month. You’ll want to have some arsenal of information about the person you’re taking on the scavenger hunt. 

You could possibly get away with this before the end of the month but don’t make it a first date. That would come on a little strong, and not everyone is going to want to run around town (or invite someone into their house) that they’ve just met. 

It’s also a weird date idea for people who want to get creative and have the time to put in the work.

The Weird Date that Involved a Cooking Challenge 

You don’t need to know how to cook to make this work. In fact, one of the fun things about this date idea is that you’re actually learning something new–and possibly trying something new in the process.

happy brain with idea and light bulb above head

The Idea:

There are a couple different ways to do a cooking challenge for a date.

  • Attend a cooking class where you both cook the same thing and whoever made it better wins.
  • Take the same recipe you learned in the cooking class and attempt to make it yourself, but add one mystery ingredient. Your date has to figure out what you added. (It has to be more than something like ‘salt’; it should be something they can actually taste).
  • Each of you picks a difficult recipe for the other person to cook and then you both have to do your best to make what they’ve given you.
  • Do a blind tasting. One of you cooks and the other has to guess what they’re eating or drinking.
  • You both cook the same meal and then have a third-party friend do a blind tasting and pick which one they like better.
  • Decide on a few ground rules before you start:

Is there a prize at the end?
How competitive are you going to get?
Do you measure the likeability of the food on a scale of 1-5? 

happy face looking to the right

Who it’s Best for:

While it’s possible to do the cooking class as a first date idea, the rest of these choices are better for a second or third date. And of course, it’s something fun you can do even if you’ve been together for a while. 

This is great for the foodies and also ideal for people with a competitive spirit. But be warned: if you don’t lay down ground rules, and one of you is more competitive than the other, this could turn ugly. (As someone who is super picky and way too competitive, I say that from experience). 

The Weird Date that Involved a Game of Truth or Dare

Yeah, yeah, you’re playing a kid’s game–but this is the one with the mature-rating pasted on top. I like this as a first date, because the entire date isn’t going to be dependent on this game. It’s just going to be a part of whatever you choose to do. 

You can do this over drinks and even during dinner–just be careful how steep you make those dares if you’re in a fancy restaurant. There’s flexibility to this date. It can work on a first date or if you’ve been with someone for a while. 

happy brain with idea and light bulb above head

The Idea

Okay, everyone knows how to play truth or dare, so instead of breaking down how to play, I’m just going to give some ground rules to keep in mind.

  1. Make sure your date is down to play otherwise, this isn’t going to be much fun.
  2. Don’t force it if they don’t want to–especially if this is a first date.
  3. Set ground rules before you play. What’s the penalty for someone not answering the truth question or not taking a dare? Do they have to take a sip of their drink? Do you get to ask them three questions in a row next time? Do you play a random game of Never Have I Ever? Possibilities are endless; you just have to pick it. And trust me, that makes it more fun.
happy face looking to the right

Who it’s Best For

This is a great way to get to know someone on a first date. Keep in mind it’s also ideal for people who are more on the spontaneous side–specifically with the dares.

If someone wants to play but doesn’t want to do the dares, suggest playing Never Have I Ever instead. That way, you still get the truth element without having to do the dares.  

Happy brain in awe with stars in eyes

Why Weird Dates Work

According to psychology, the concept of habituation can explain why things can become boring over time, including our typical date ideas. 

Habituation refers to the process by which we become less responsive to repeated stimuli. Essentially, doing the same thing every day gets boring. 

This is specifically the case if you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a while. 

If you keep doing the same activities and routines with your partner, they become less novel. This can lead to a decrease in excitement and interest, which can ultimately harm the quality of the relationship. 

And while weird date ideas may not be great for first dates, depending on the person, they may be open to it. Because, after all, it’s something different, and it’s a fun way to get to know someone.

Technology has been shown to have a significant impact on our ability to focus and sustain our attention on a single task or activity for an extended period. This is because technology provides us with an endless stream of information and entertainment that is constantly vying for our attention. 

It’s essentially instant gratification. And that’s especially the case when you meet someone on a dating site. Taking that transition from online to in-person can be intimidating, but the more unique the date, the more surprised your match will be–and the more likely they’ll actually be down for more dates.

The novelty effect refers to the phenomenon where a new or unfamiliar stimulus, activity, or experience can capture our attention and elicit a stronger response than a familiar or routine stimulus. 

In the context of dating, trying out a new activity or experience can create a sense of excitement and anticipation that can enhance the overall experience and lead to a more positive impression of the date. 

Doing something different from the norm can also create a sense of adventure, spontaneity, and shared exploration that can strengthen the bond between you and your partner and deepen your connection. This is especially helpful in the early stages.

The novelty effect suggests that newness can be a powerful driver of our attention, interest, and behavior. By incorporating new, unique–and even weird–experiences into our dating lives, we can keep the excitement and novelty alive and create a more memorable and meaningful experience with our partner.

In a saturated dating world, where people are constantly bombarded with endless options and choices, it can be challenging to capture someone’s attention and make a lasting impression. 

By planning a unique, creative, and weird date, separate from the norm, you’re more likely to set yourself apart from others who may be doing the same old things. 

Plus, with these kinds of experiences, you can put your weirdness on display and showcase your creativity, personality, and interests, ultimately cultivating a more authentic and meaningful date. In other words, friends, let your freak flag fly!

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