How To: Navigate A Double Date

In December, when I was still studying abroad in France, my best friend Emilie (who is French) came to visit me at the end of my program. We went to Marmande, France, where her grandparents live. The last thing I thought we would be filling our days with was a double date. Initially, I was excited when Emilie told me about the idea. But then I realized that I was going on a date with two young French men who spoke very little English, and since I have the French speaking skills of a five year old, I had no idea what to expect. Can you say possible date disaster?

I knew the date was going to be off to a good (and entertaining) start when the guys’ cologne arrived at the door before they did. After driving around the town several times, we found out that on Mondays, most restaurants are closed when you live in a small French town. Which is why we ended up at an all you can eat Chinese buffet. In France. Chinese food there is not the same as chinese food here. But mine (hopefully) is not the common, everyday double date.

Double dates fall into their own category of dating. Because you’ve got twice the number of people as on a regular date, there are twice as many possibilities for a good or bad moments. Instead of two people making decisions, there are four people trying to please one another. And when dinner is involved, there are four palates to satisfy.

Thankfully, once the initial awkwardness was over, my double date turned out to be a very memorable night. And despite having to communicate in Franglish with lots of hand motions and head nodding, I realized a few key things that are always helpful to remember on a double date:

**Tips and Tricks**

Talk Culture. Even if you’re from two different countries, there is always the commonality of culture. If the conversation falls quiet, bring up a singer or a movie. Even if you don’t all have the same taste in music, movies, or tv shows, there is a good chance that one of you has a strong opinion about Lady Gaga. Meat costume, anyone?

Smile. The power of a smile. We often forget how useful smiling can be. Smiling can help to make any situation more comfortable, as it quickly puts people at ease. Language barrier be damned!

Be Flexible. As we all know, dates don’t always go exactly the way we plan; I sure didn’t think I would end up at a Chinese buffet when I was getting myself ready. But really, that’s part of the fun of it. Doing something you don’t expect and going with the flow gives you a chance to get to know everyone better.

Allies. Don’t forget that you have an ally at the table. Even if you go into the date not knowing the other couple, or the two invitees, there is usually one person you know beforehand. Use that person to help tell a funny story, ask a question to, or ask their opinion. When all else fails, it’s always fun to compare different colleges, classes, and hometown cities.

Remember to have fun and don’t be surprised if you end up at an all you can eat buffet!

Kelsey Krasnigor thoroughly enjoyed her double date in France, which is one of her most memorable Monday nights of her life, but continues to avoid Chinese buffets.

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Originally posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

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