As with most things, there are more ways than one to view a double date. For a start, it depends on the configuration of the four of you - you might know all or none of the other three people on the date (…and as the occasion progresses, you might like all or none of them!).
On the plus side, a double date can potentially offer a more relaxed date scenario - ‘mates on a date’ type stuff. On the negative side, it means you don’t get your date all to yourself.
So before embarking on one, consider the pros and cons of a double date.
The ’silent moments’ factor
I’ve been on quite a few double dates and in my mind, they can really help take the pressure off the four of you, especially when conversation might have dried up otherwise. There’s nothing worse than being on a date with someone and just running out of things to say; at least on a double date, there’s safety in numbers as far as chit chat’s concerned and you’re far more likely to keep the evening flowing with four people telling jokes and anecdotes.
The ‘boost your ego’ factor
Double dating with your best mate can have its advantages. Who better to enlighten your date with flattering remarks about you? You could even prep each other before the date with all the things you want to talk about on the night (what loyal mates you are, your hilarious college days…) and all the things that are banned from discussion (…that drunken night in Turkey).
The ‘rescue’ factor
If you’re going on a double date with at least one person you know, you can rest in the comfort of having someone to save you should things go wrong. Be it if you’re dying in conversation over dinner, or literally in the toilet trying to escape from your date, having a friendly ally on board is never a bad thing. They can rescue you out of that poor taste joke, make excuses why you’ve had to leave (’sorry, it’s his radish allergy again’) and generally cover your back through the evening. Of course it works both ways though - so be prepared to be the wingman for your friend.
The ‘information’ factor
A great way to eek out information about your date, is to go on a double date with them and their friends. What were they like at school? What are their bad habits? Are they embarrassing when they’re drunk? Get digging!
The ‘laugh’ factor
If you get it right and everybody’s happy, double dates can be great! This is especially the case with four people who know each other well, of course - adding two more friends to an occasion just makes it more of a laugh and less of a ‘date’ all round. And that’s the gem of a double date - it can help make the ‘date’ feel undatelike, which is actually quite an advantage when you just want to have some fun.
The ’snog’ factor
Possibly the biggest drawback of a double date is that you don’t get your own date to yourself - and when you fancy the pants off them, this is a real disadvantage! You might have to sit there all evening, making polite conversation to the other daters and keeping your hands to yourself, when all you want to do is snog your date’s face off in some dark and seedy corner somewhere. Of course, the sexual tension this causes may actually be a thrill.
The ‘they’re getting on and we’re not’ factor
This could be tricky. The people you’re with are all laughs and touchy feely with each other and you two are daggers! Not ideal. Moreover, you may have to endure the other couple’s choice of film or restaurant which may not be your cup of tea and sends the whole evening into freefall in general. That’s the risk you take on a double date; the event can be taken out of your hands and it may not always work out the way you would have planned it.
The ‘cross-fancying’ factor
Have you ever slightly fancied your friend’s date? I reckon double dates can really bring this out in people! Everyone’s trying to put on a good show and be a bit jokey and flirty - and before you know it, you’ve got designs on the person sitting opposite you, rather than the one who’s got their arm around you! Alternatively, you might find your friend’s date being overly friendly towards you. Love triangles, love squares - whatever you’re brewing, it’ll end in tears!
The ‘fromage’ factor
Are double dates just a bit cheesy? I’m not sure. Are they a way of opting out of being all grown up and going on a proper, serious date with just one person? Perhaps. Some might see double dates as a bit of a cop out and a bit of a cheesy cop out at that; the jury’s out.
On balance, I’d say double dates are a good thing. In the main they provide a good way of having a fun time out with your date, with less of the pressures of a one-on-one date scenario. Steer clear of double-dating on your very first date though, just in case you want to get snogging.