When arranging a first date, most men generally go for the dinner-and-a-movie strategy, or some variation of this model. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this; it is a strategy that has stood the test of time. It allows you to get to know each other and also sidesteps the possibility of uncomfortable silences as you both settle in to watch a film.

The problem with this strategy is that the first date is your best chance to make a great impression. Do you really want the first impression to be that you are the same as all the other people out there? Of course not; you want to be original…different…special.

Take a read through our quick guide, which will give you some ideas on how to make your first date one to remember.

First dates should be a masterful blend of conversation and distraction. You want a scenario that will allow you and your date to get to know each other, while at the same time having an entertaining distraction that can take the pressure off the need to talk incessantly.

Go to the theatre

If you’re not entirely comfortable moving away from the dinner-and-a-movie idea, perhaps consider a trip to the theatre instead. A play injects class into any first date and provided you pick the right show, can inject a good deal of romance into the evening too.

Unlike the cinema, there is usually an intermission at the theatre, which is the ideal time to get to know each other.

Go for a hike

This can be a very original date and while not suited to all, can provide you with plenty to talk about. It also means that you get to spend the whole day together and if things go well, you can still do something in the evening.

Go to the zoo or aquarium

You might feel a little childish but the truth is that most people are fascinated by cute animals, whatever their age. Taking in the wildlife will provide plenty of conversation starters and is a very fun and innocent way to get to know each other.

Live music

This can be a tricky one to get right. You don’t want an arena tour, nor do you want a heavy metal band. The key is to find a music venue which will allow for just the right blend of conversation and listening. Look for something a little more laid back than your average rock band.

Irish pubs with fiddle players can provide great atmosphere, as can bars with live jazz and blues.

Take in the sights of your own town

We often forget just how brilliant the cities we live in are. Head down to your local tourism office and see what’s on. Depending on the city you live in, you might just be able to jump on a tour bus or there may be festivals and events happening in your area that you didn’t know about.

This hometown tourism allows you to both get a fresh perspective on your city, is very original and provides lots to talk about.

Make your own drive-in movies

If none of these sound quite romantic enough for you and you are aiming for something a little bit more extravagant why not create your own drive-in movies?

You will need a projector (you can pick these up pretty cheap on auction sites), a leisure battery, a white sheet, a car and an appropriately romantic location.

If you manage to pull this off successfully, it could be one of the most romantic dates of all time and if you don’t, at least you’ll both have something to remember from the experience.

Wake up early and watch the sunrise

Dating etiquette generally dictates the dates take place in the evening so if you feel like being completely different why not set your alarm for 5 AM and take your date to a nice spot to watch the sunrise.

Pack a small picnic and enjoy breakfast together and then see where the day takes you.

Think outside the box, relax and enjoy yourself

These are just some ideas to get you thinking outside the box. At the end of the day, any date can be a great experience if it’s with the right person. Do everything you can to make it a relaxed, enjoyable and memorable experience for both of you, but if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you expected it – don’t worry. It is all part of the joy of dating so just have fun!