Mother in-law, new neighbour or that person from your Zumba class you’ve been dying to make friends with — when you invite someone round for a cuppa for the very first time you simply have to impress.
But how do you create a cosy, relaxing atmosphere for your first proper tête-à-tête? And what are the best tricks for making sure the conversation flows easily without those dreaded awkward silences or gaps?
From decor and conversation ideas, to menu options your guest will love, here we provide the ultimate guide to nailing that casual, first coffee date at your home.
- Plan ahead
First of all, if you’ve already got a date in the diary for the big meet-up, give yourself a pat on the back. Inviting someone round for the first time can be nerve-wracking, so, remember, you’ve already cleared the hardest hurdle.
Once that’s out of the way, it’s important to get ready. And step one is to plan what you’re going to offer your lucky guest. Are they a coffee or tea drinker? Do they have any allergies you need to know about? If you don’t know the answer, call ahead to find out. After all, there’s nothing more embarrassing than going all out on a scrumptious array of food and drink, only to find your guest can’t eat any of it!
Once you know their drink and food of choice, you’ll be able to spoil them with the best. After all, having someone round for the first time is a special occasion. We suggest a nice pack of artisan coffee or exotic tea from your nearby delicatessen or roasterie. Your guest will appreciate the effort you’ve made, plus it gives you a chance to show off your fantastic coffee knowledge and superb culinary taste.
- Create a comfy setting
Once you’ve planned the drinks and treats for the big meet-up, you’ll want to turn your attention to your home. Is it as coffee date-ready as it could be?
If you haven’t had guests round for a while, it’s easy for your home to lose its visitor-friendly sheen. So, take a critical look at the rooms you plan to do the entertaining in. Think how they’d appear to your new friend-to-be. If your home is looking shabby around the edges, spend ten minutes sprucing it up. Plump up your cushions and tidy away any loose papers or miscellaneous items so they’re out of sight.
Placing a few high-end magazines neatly on your coffee table is always a nice touch. More importantly, it gives your guest something to look at while you pop into the kitchen to replenish the snacks. On the topic of coffee tables, it goes without saying that investing in a stylish table top you can entertain guests around, is an absolute must.
A well-designed oak, glass or mahogany coffee table oozes class and sophistication, and it’ll win you instant brownie points before you two have even got down to conversation. However, picking the right coffee table for your home is a bit of an art.
A good rule of thumb is to opt for a round table if your room is dominated by strong or harsh lines. Very long sofas on the other hand can look extra sleek accompanied by a rectangular or oval-shaped table. We love this Rigby Lamp table and Lucy Marble coffee table set, both classy options that go well with most home decors while providing tons of entertaining space.
- Have conversation topics at the ready
Whether you’re 24 or 54, a coffee date with someone you’ve just met can always feel a bit awkward. If you get the social jitters, and are worried about what to say, make a mental note of a few conversation starters. If you’re meeting up with someone from your local sport or hobby group, remember you’ve already got a mutual interest you can talk about. And if you’re not sure what their hobbies are, that’s a great conversation starter in itself. People love it if you’re genuinely interested in what they do.
Come prepared with at least 3-4 questions or topics to get the conversation flowing if you have a mental block. It’s easy to forget that conversation is a two-way street, so remember, responsibility for a great conversation doesn’t just fall with you. Your guest is probably nervous too, so don’t be worried if any silences do happen, it’s inevitable and completely normal!
- Mind your manners
It’s easy to be overly-chummy or too casual on a first coffee date – you want to show yourself at your best – but don’t forget to be on your best behaviour too! Good manners always impress. So, remember to take their coat and offer them a drink as soon as they walk through the door.
Offer a second serving if their plate or cup is looking a little empty. Show them the way to your toilet, so they don’t get lost and wander into your child’s bedroom instead. Being polite to your new guest also means paying them your undivided attention so, try to keep your phone out of sight. Unless it’s urgent, any calls from your boss, partner or kids can always wait ‘til later.
- Always follow-up
If your coffee date went well, chances are you’ll want to meet-up again. So make sure you make that clear towards the end of their visit. A line like, “I’ve loved our catch-up today, and hope we can do it again soon” is a great way to show you had a great time. It helps you end the date on a positive note and kills any ‘will-we-won’t-we-meet-up-again’ awkwardness.
If things go really well, why not throw around some fun ideas for your next meet-up? Don’t forget to allow them the chance to repay the favour and host you at their home too. Once you’ve got a loose plan for your next meet-up, follow up after the coffee date with a quick text. Reconfirm how much you enjoyed the coffee date and would love to see them again.
If you’re new to coffee dates, they can seem like a minefield to navigate. But, in reality, nothing could be simpler. With a bit of planning, conversation prep and the right décor, you’ll be the king or queen of coffee dates in no time and hosting your next meet-up quicker than you can say “skinny mochaccino with an extra shot”.