It seems that there are only two major types of first dates: blind dates and acquaintance dates. Let’s break these down into their finer components, weight out the pros and cons, and see if we can’t come up with a better solution somewhere in between these poles.

Blind dates which consist of meeting someone who is on the periphery of one of your friend’s lives, who you’ve never actually met, or because it’s part of an arrangement between two other people who think they know what’s best for you. Blind dating is one of the ultimate social experiments – in which two people who have never met, who each only have a thread of connection through a larger social web, are set up face-to-face to determine if there is any compatibility or chemistry. Ideally, our well meaning friends and family members expect there to be sparks and instant attraction which leads to a long, happy and sustainable relationship.

Any number of things can corrupt this experiment, though. Social anxiety aside, most people who’ve ever gone on a blind date can tell you that they tend to spend the entire time trying to piece together how each knows of the other, and what their exponential connection is to each other, instead of getting to know the person with whom they’re on the date. It becomes more of a extrinsic networking affiliation, rather than a true test of personal compatibility. Chances of blind dates leading to second, third dates or a relationship are practically non-existent.  

Acquaintance dating takes the social experiment to a new level. It’s the ultimate litmus test for compatibility and attraction based on a passing familiarity with someone. Most dating falls into this category: the nerdy hottie in your English Lit class, the hipster you regularly say “hi” to at the coffee shop, or that really sexy secretary in the department next to yours. These dates usually go well, because there already exists a mutual level of attraction as you explore a little deeper into the other’s personality. These scenarios typically lead to more dates, and often have a higher chance of culminating into physical intimacy.

Several things can make acquaintance dating imperfect. What usually happens is: you’ll have lots of things to talk about on your first date, but as time goes on, you sometimes find some major incompatibilities. You break things off, but then you still have to see this person – either in professional or social settings. You reroute your entire schedule and alter your everyday routines in order to avoid that person, which leads to general feelings of dissatisfaction.

So, where is the middle ground between these “first date” types? Which combines the best elements of each, but has the higher odds of getting you second dates and physical relationships? One of the best options is phone dating! You’re completely anonymous, at first, so you can be more honest and open with the person on the other end of the line. There’s no physical space to occupy, so if you’re not interested, you can just hang up and find someone new to get to know.

Connections are made based on what you have in common with one another, instead of the social connections of your friends. There aren’t any workplace or social situations (drama) that can disrupt the normalcy of your life, either, if things don’t work out. It’s the perfect way of guaranteeing yourself all the intimacy you desire, using conversations with real people to establish emotional and sexual attraction, before you put yourself out there!