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How Long Should a Date Last — Here’s Your Answer

How Long Should a Date Last — Here’s Your Answer

Dating requires us to rely on our own judgement. Unlike at most activities or social events, if you are on a date, it is impossible to turn around to a friend and ask, “Am I doing this right?” 

This is actually one of the wonderful things about getting to know someone romantically.

As you begin to establish a connection, you and your date are forced to develop a unique approach to things. 

The decisions you make early on in your dating journey eventually develop into routines and are the beginning of the formation of simple habits that can make you a happy couple

You decide what you drink when you’re together, how often you go out, and also how long you stay out for.

If you’re about to go on a first date and aren’t sure how long you should expect it to last, try to relax and trust that you will naturally feel when it is concluding. 

If this isn’t precise enough advice, read through this handy guide for a more specific answer to the question of how long a date should last. 


How long should a date last?

A date to go out for a meal, coffee, or drink should last between one and four hours. A date to go to the cinema should be the length of the movie plus approximately one and a half hours for dinner before or afterwards. A date to do something less conventional, like going for a hike, can last longer, and should be between four and six hours.

While the timelines given above are helpful for planning, don’t go into your date with a strict idea of how long you want it to last.

It is important to let things develop organically. 

While and it is good not to overdo it the first time you meet someone, do stay on your date until it comes to a natural end. 

If you both feel like sitting at the table finishing your bottle of wine for an extra hour after you’ve finished eating, that is a great sign.

Don’t let arbitrary time limits stand in the way of you continuing to enjoy your conversation.

That said, you also don’t want to make your date feel smothered.

Once things seem to be coming to a close, say goodbye or goodnight and schedule something in for a next meeting, provided you both want to see each other again. 

After all, leaving your date wanting more is never a bad idea. 


How long should a first date last? 

If a first date takes place during the daytime, it should last between one and two hours. A first date in the evening can take up to four hours. That said, these rules are not strict. If you are having a good time, you can ask your date if they want to go for a walk or another drink without worrying that you are taking too much of their time.

First dates are exciting. Whether you already know the person you’re going on a date with or are meeting them for the first time, deciding to spend some time together to see whether there is romantic potential between you is both fun and nerve-wracking. 

If you’re an organized person, you probably want to have as many details as possible cleared up in advance so that you can enjoy the date without worrying about the logistics.

This may have led you to wonder how long you’re actually supposed to spend on a first date. 

Fortunately, the answer is that there is no hard and fast rule.

How long you spend on a date will depend on your and the person you are seeing’s schedules, what kind of date you go on, and whether you are enjoying yourselves on your date. 

In general, plan for somewhere between one and four hours, but do keep in mind that if things are going terribly, then yes, you can leave a first date after 20 minutes.

Don’t go into a first date feeling pessimistic though! Hopefully you’ll have a great time and will be wondering how to ask for a second date as the evening comes to an end. 


How long should a first coffee date last? 

Coffee dates are shorter than most other dates. They are usually around an hour long, but they can last anywhere between 45 minutes and two hours. If you go for a coffee date during the workday, stick to under an hour. If you go for a coffee on the weekend, feel free to keep things going for up to two hours.

If you have agreed to meet someone you are talking to on a dating app, going for a quick coffee is a good way to establish whether you actually want to give things a go. 

While it’s all well and good to respond to a pickup line on Tinder, it’s almost impossible to know whether you’ll actually connect with someone until you meet them in person. 

However, going for a full dinner date on the basis of a few back-and-forth chats on a dating app can be intimidating. 

A coffee date is the perfect solution. 

It allows you to spend approximately an hour of your time getting to know the person you’ve been messaging.

Coffee dates take place during the day, which means that your time is limited because both of you will have other things to do. 

One great way to not have to worry so much about the length of a first coffee date is to schedule it during your lunch break from work.

This will give the date a natural end point because you will have to return to work. 

Then, if you’ve both enjoyed yourself, your date may ask you out for a more intimate evening date, such as a dinner. 

Going for a coffee is also a good idea if you want to date someone who works nights, since their schedule will be restricted in the evenings. 


How long should a first dinner date last?

A first dinner date should last between one and a half and three hours. If you’re having a great time, you can suggest going for a drink or a walk afterwards. However, it is often good to end the evening once you have finished your dinner. If you have had a good time, schedule a second date so that you can get to know your date better.

When we meet someone we like, it can be easy to feel the urge to spend all of our time with them.

However, it is also important to leave space for reflection. 

This means that even though you might want to continue hanging out with your date after your dinner date comes to an end, it is sometimes a good idea to resist this urge.

Instead, walk them home and give them a goodnight kiss.

Promising relationships have ended prematurely because people have not given themselves enough room to breathe. 

And going home alone after a really good date is one of the best feelings there is.

Allowing the excitement you feel about your date to develop will ultimately strengthen your connection to the person you’re getting to know. 


How long should a second date last?

A second date usually lasts for between two and five hours. Second dates tend to last a little longer than first dates. Since you will be feeling more comfortable with your date, feel free to linger longer at the dinner table and to ask them to grab a drink or take a spin around the block after your dinner ends.

Second dates are wonderful.

Since you have already gotten the initial first date jitters out of the way, you can now just enjoy hanging out with someone you’re attracted to and whose company you enjoy. 

Don’t worry so much about the timeline of a second date.

Instead, go with the flow. 

While it is still early days, and you don’t want to make your date feel pressured into spending the entire evening and night with you, leave open that possibility in case you are both feeling like you don’t want to leave each other. 


How long should a date with a long-term partner last?

A date with a long-term partner should last between two and three hours. Because you see each other all the time to talk about practical things, set aside two hours on the weekend to really talk speak about meaningful things and to reflect on your relationship. 

A date with a long-term partner is certainly very different to a first date.

You probably spend most of your time together and likely have a lot of logistical conversations about the dilemmas and practicalities of everyday life. 

For this reason, taking at least two to three hours to yourselves to get dressed up, enjoy a nice meal, and remember what it is about your partner that you fell in love with is crucial for the health of your relationship. 

After all, what is the point of being together if you cannot spend some real time enjoying each other’s company? 

Take some time away from the day-to-day reality of your lives to tell each other “I love you so much” and to really mean it.

Of course, your date may not really come to an end when you leave the restaurant, but the act of getting out and about and doing something nice for yourselves should last between two and three hours.