There’s no template for the ideal coffee date. From first dates that run hours long, to networking over espresso on lunch hour, there’s only one key necessity - actually going. We’re always connected, but never connecting. The Cut describes it best: “The coffee date, I now firmly believe, is the most underestimated of all social interactions that require us to turn off Netflix and put on real pants.”
You’re giving the gift of your own time, letting that person know that you value them enough to sit down, turn off, and tune into what’s happening in their life. And, as much as we all care about that, we get busy. Dates get pushed aside, rainchecks are called, and eventually the date is gone. Make it a priority in the next couple months to carve out that time and bring back the magic of coffee dates into your life. A twist on the bucket list if you will, we challenge you to make your own coffee date list.
Coffee is a connection
Author and writer Robbie Abed planned 250 coffee meetings in 400 days. The result was hundreds of connections and a strong network he could rely on, that could also count on him. Mark Suster wrote that 50 coffee meetings is the entrepreneur’s equivalent of that essential “10,000” hours.
Rainesford Stauffer sums up the magic of that espresso, “It’s not coffee, the beverage, that hold the magic; it’s coffee, the social activity.” Other activities allow for distraction, with the simple coffee date, you have to rely on the connection you have with each other. It’s a terrifying and exhilarating way to get to actually know someone, as they are.
Time to get started
Make a list of people
Who are you going to connect with? After starting with your obvious friends, think of the people you haven’t seen in awhile. Old relatives, past co-workers, a good friend that you haven’t seen in ages but always promise to grab coffee with when you see them.
Here are some ideas:
- Grandparents, aunts, cousins
- Past co-workers
- Someone you admire (professionally or personally)
- A good friend you haven’t seen in ages but always promise to grab coffee with when you see them
- A new friend you recently met but haven’t connected with since “that” event
The Professional Route
Deb Halliday is a community builder who was asked to design a new initiative to advance early childhood learning. She challenged herself to get 100 cups of coffee with leading experts in her field so she could bring diverse views to the new project. If you have a project coming up at work, or a personal passion you wish to pursue, reach out to skilled people in that field and set a time.
Choose a unique spot
Get out of your normal routine and pick a new spot you’ve always wanted to try. The fact that you took the time to choose the perfect spot will show. Better, carve a couple hours out and choose a new neighbourhood to explore with your friend.
Send the invite
Email, text, handwritten note; however you want to play it, you won’t meet with anyone unless you actually ask. If you get anxiety or feel intimidated, set a timer (max an hour), and send the invite by the time it’s done. Worst thing? They say no (gasp). And you move on.
Plan the date
Planning a date is easy - sticking to it is the hard part. Send your date a Thoughtfull Gift of Time certificate to lock it in, and put the date in your physical calendar (or phone), set a reminder for a day before so you don’t have to pull the I’m-so-sorry-I’m-super-busy-can-we-push-it-back?
Turn off your phone, and focus on giving all your attention to the person sitting in front of you. Something as simple as an hour talking to someone is enough to start a friendship, change your views, and give you inspiration.
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