As a business professional, business owner, or an entrepreneur (whatever you like to be called), your time is precious. You’re driven to get things done, accomplish your goals, and see your business or work rise to the top. But, in that mix of chasing success, something often falls through the cracks – finding love. In this guide, we’re going to talk about how you can use lunch dates to find love and manage your busy schedule.
If you haven’t read our Time Management and Dating as a Business Professional Guide, we highly recommend that you either read that first or bookmark it to read after you’re done with this guide. It’s an amazing resource to help you find time to find love without sacrificing your busy work schedule or your productivity.
Why Lunch Dates Are Perfect First Dates
So, why are we so bullish on lunch dates? Well, they really are the perfect fit for business professionals. Let’s look at a few of the reasons we love lunch dates, and then we’ll talk about the actionable steps you can take to start setting them up.
They Have a Hard Stop Time Cap
We’ve already identified that as a businessman or businesswoman, your time is important. You can’t be going out on first dates that run late and then have you tired and oversleeping for work in the morning. When you go on a lunch date, though, you have a hard stop time. Why? You have to go back to work!
It creates an easy way for you to leave the date when you need to whether it’s just that time or you’re not enjoying yourself. The time commitment is minimal, and the ability to leave when you need to is there. In fact, most business lunch dates start out with each person asking the other what time they have to be back to the office. That way, no one gets in trouble with the boss, and no one feels bad when they have to duck out if the date is going well.
To be honest, we wished regular dates had such an easy hard stop time to prevent things from going too long when they don’t need to. But, that’s why lunch dates are so awesome.
There Are Minimal Expectations
When you go out to dinner or to get drinks after work, a lot more comes into play. How long are we going to be on this date for? Should we go do something extra afterward? Should we order another round or call it a night? Is this date going to “escalate?” There’s a lot of potential expectations that happen when you go out with someone on a first date at night.
But, when you’re on a lunch date in the middle of the day with somewhere professional to be afterward, all of that goes away. You have a fixed amount of time that you are able to be there and there are no worries about what may or may not happen on the date.
Do lunch dates have a bit more professional/meeting feel? They do, but that’s okay. It’s never so much that you’re not able to see if there is chemistry or energy there. Everyone is still a little in their work mode and on their best behavior which is a plus, especially for a first date. Take advantage of the fact that lunch dates have no expectations and it really is going to be just lunch and getting to know each other.
You’re Already Dressed and Ready
One of the biggest time stealers with dates is the time it takes to get ready. You’ve got to figure out what to wear, for some of you “put your face on,” and go through all the stuff you normally have to do to get your clothes and body ready for a date.
But, when else do you do that stuff? Before work! You’re usually dressed well, smell great, and are as cleaned up as you normally would be on a date. So, when you head off to your lunch date, you’re already going to look awesome. Also, your date isn’t going to judge you that much anyways (if they’re a judge-y person) because they know that you’re coming there on your lunch break from work.
How to Set Up Lunch Dates
Setting up a lunch date as a business professional is really not that different from setting up a regular date. The only difference is that instead of grabbing drinks for your first date or having a coffee date, you’re grabbing lunch together. But, since lunch dates are not as popular as the aforementioned first dates, you do need to tweak a little bit in your approach to ensure that things go smoothly.
Explain Your Time Commitments to Work
First, you need to explain to the person you’re looking to go out with that you are a busy person. Don’t make it sound like you’re too busy to have a relationship, but do let them know your free time is limited. Also, don’t use this as an opportunity to talk about how amazing and important you are at your job. Is that the case? It might be, but rubbing that in someone’s face is not the way to secure that first date.
Tell Them You Always Prefer Lunch Dates
Next, you need to tell them that you like to have lunch for a first date. Don’t make it sound like this is a one-off and that everyone else you go on first dates with gets dinner and drinks and the whole shebang. Make it sound like it’s almost your “policy” or “standard operating procedure” to grab lunch for a first date. If they ask why you can tell them that you like the casual nature of it and you’ve found it’s a great way to get to know each other and see if there is a spark.
If they have a problem with it, then you’re staring down the barrel of a red flag. Most likely someone who only wants to meet you for drinks or dinner or something at night is probably looking to score a little more than a second date if you catch our drift. The one exception to this will be someone who works a job that really doesn’t allow for them to get out for lunch at a fixed time or for very long.
Remember, though, lunch dates can be 20-30 minutes; they don’t have to be an hour or whatever time frame the other person might be imaging in their head.
Set Up the Lunch Date Logistics
Once you tell them all of that, then all that is left is setting up the logistics of the lunch date. Do keep in mind that you are trying to arrange to meet someone in the middle of both of your work days. This means that it may take a little extra finagling to get someone set up, but it will be worth it. Think of it like trying to set up a meeting with an important client. It’s literally the exact same steps.
Remember, it does not need to be something special or something fancy. It’s a first date, and your goal with a first date is not to try and impress the other person but to figure out if you’re going to be compatible with each other and if it’s worth seeing each other for a second date.
The Wrap Up
Once it’s set, then all you have to do is show up and enjoy yourself! Lunch dates are an incredible way to meet a lot of great men or women without giving up a lot of your time or resources. You’re going to be eating lunch anyway; why not eat lunch with someone else and see if there is a spark?
If you’d like some more help getting started, check out our Business Professional Dating Guides that walk you from point A to point B in the process of finding love while still respecting your need to focus on your business or work.
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.