Should You Let Someone Pick You Up on the First Date?

Fact Checked by: Det. Nicholas Nalder

First dates are exciting! It could mean that you’re about to spend some time with someone who is going to play a very special role in your life. However, it also means that you could be about to spend some awkward time with a stranger that may or may not be unpleasant.

And one of the most common questions bred out of these two potential outcomes is this—should you let someone pick you up on the first date? Or are you safer just meeting them out somewhere?

In this article, we’re going to answer this question once and for all. That way, you can prepare for your first date confidently knowing whether or not it’s the right move to have them pick you up for the date, or if meeting them out is the right move.

A Handsomely Dressed Black Man Standing By His Car

Why You Should Let Someone Pick You Up on the First Date

There are plenty of reasons why it’s tempting to let your online dating match pick you up. First, it’s super convenient. It gives the guys a few extra minutes to ensure there’s nothing stuck in their teeth and the ladies that moment to refresh their red lipstick. First impressions are key after all. 😉

Second, let’s face it, it saves you money honey. Nothing better than keeping a few extra dollars in your pocket by the end of the night. And if you don’t have to pay for dinner that’s even better, right? That’s another discussion for another day, ladies.

Another reason you might consider letting that certain special online dating match pick you up is to see what kind of manners they have when you meet them in person for the first time. Are they the walk to the front door with a dorky flower corsage type? Or are they the honk from out in the middle of the street and yell out your name type? Stella!!! Oh yeah… trust us… they’re out there! Some of them even whale on the horn to get their point across to all your next-door neighbors too.

Whether they are the old-fashioned type and open doors for you, or they like their music loud, heels high and lipstick on point, these are just some of the many reasons why you might consider letting someone pick you up on the first date.

But are these reasons good enough? Do the reasons to let someone pick you up on the first date outweigh the reasons not to? Let’s dig deeper.

Why You Should NOT Let Someone Pick You Up on the First Date

Do you hear your mother whining in your ear telling you to consider the safety issues? We do! She probably even used your first AND middle name too! Charles Nathanal!!! Followed by a hard smack across the back of the head. Ouch!!! That hurt. #truthbetold #mommalayingthesmackdown

(Please note: just in case your name is actually Charles Nathanal, be advised we totally made that up. We give your mom mad props, yo.)

Again, it all comes back to stranger danger. It’s a crazy world that we live in, and if you are not familiar with that then just turn on the Lifetime Channel. Okay, so Lifetime is not the best measure for understanding the magnitude of creepers in the online dating world, so why not check out something a bit more reputable… like what the FBI has to say about it. Seriously… they know what they are talking about. They’re the FBI.

In all seriousness, it is scary to allow a stranger to come to your home to pick you up on the first date. They could be catfishing you. You believed the person who was going to knock on your front door would be tall, dark and handsome, but instead you got Gollum. Yikes! What’s even worse than being cat fished is if the date doesn’t go well for whatever reason they will have your address and could totally stalk you in their spare time. Oh boy.

Here’s a recap of the reasons NOT to let someone pick you up on the first date.

  • Safety – Hands down this is the number one reason it should be a hard no. Not only are there safety issues with things like kidnappings and other violent crimes, there’s also the safety issue of their car and how they drive. If they happen to drive a car that’s unfit for the road, that’s a problem. Additionally, sometimes new dates like to show off with speed and wild driving moves, which is not what you want to sign up for.
  • If it doesn’t work out – It can make things a lot more complicated if it doesn’t work out on the first date and they know where you live. People can be desperate and creepy, and you don’t want to have to look out your front windows constantly.
  • If you want to leave early – If the first date goes really badly, you might not want to stay the entire time. If you rode with them, though, it makes things really challenging. Can you imagine the awkwardness of telling them you’re ready to leave early and then having to ride in the car with them?

The Bottom Line and Some Helpful Tips

Here’s the truth. No matter how much you’ve talked to that cute guy or pretty lady, until you spend some time with them in person, they are still a stranger. This means that having him or her pick you up on the first date could be in violation of stranger danger.

Ask yourself this question: Do you want to end your first date in the trunk of someone’s rusted out Oldsmobile? If you do, then tell him or her to pick up at 8 o’clock sharp! Otherwise, cut your losses and meet them in a mutual and very public place.

Remember you probably shouldn’t allow your online dating match to pick you up for that first date, but you should always share the meetup information with close friends and family members. Sharing this information is good practice just in case there is any cause for concern later on down the road.

So go ahead and tell your bestie, or your backhanding mama, who you are meeting, their physical description, telephone number and the date, time and location where you will be meeting your potential online dating Romeo or Juliet.  After all, our number one concern will always be your personal safety… especially you… Charles Nathanal! Your mama told us to keep an eye out for you. 😉

What if they insist on picking you up on the first date?

If your date insists on picking you up, that should probably be a red flag. Yes, it’s nice of them to try and sound chivalrous, but they should understand and respect your desire to keep things safe until you know you can trust them. If they have some strange burning desire to pick you up even after you tell them you’d rather just meet them out, run for the hills.

How do you tell a match you don’t want them to pick you up on a first date?

Speaking of telling your new love match that you don’t want to be picked up on the first date, what’s the best way to tell them that? Our recommendation is to keep it simple.

“Would you like for me to pick you up?”

“Oh I really appreciate that, but I can just meet you there!”

“Okay, great!”

It’s really that easy. And if they follow up with something like, “Oh I insist,” or, “It’s no problem at all,” then just be prepared to be a bit more direct with something like, “I really do appreciate it but it’s my first date (or first few dates) policy to just meet you out. Nothing personal!”

Here’s the bottom line. While we understand why it’s tempting to let someone pick you up for that first date, don’t do it. Even if it’s slightly more inconvenient and possibly costs a few bucks more, your safety is worth it.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.