6/20/2012 4:47 PM
In my experience with dating, both online and off, there comes a time when it's okay to just hang out at someone's home rather than going out to the hippest cocktail bar or newest neighborhood restaurant. The problem is, a lot of times this suggestion comes too early on and can make one person uncomfortable and wishing there was a way to pump the brakes. So the real question here is how early is too early for the at-home hangout/date?
The issue with that at-home date is that there are implications past just hanging out. Hanging out at someone's home implies a level of comfort that usually isn't present early on in relationships. The first few times you spend time with someone, it's best for it to be in a neutral location so as to not give anyone an unnecessary panic attack.
When you hang out at someone's (or your own) home, it's important to have a game plan. Inviting someone over or accepting plans to "hang out" can be dangerous in that you may end up getting stuck sitting around with no direction, which is fine when two people know each other better, but in the early stages of getting to know someone, sitting around with nothing to do can feel like absolute torture. Some good ideas for things to do at home might include watching a movie and having dinner (but again, watching a movie at someone's house has its own implications that watching a movie in a theater does not), or inviting them to do something you both enjoy together (make a dessert if you like baking, paint some pictures if you're the artistic types).
Instead of worrying about this, though, it's easier and safer to keep your first several dates outside of the home. Sticking to dates where you're not forced to awkwardly share the couch before you're ready to is not only the safer option (especially in today's society), but it's the more comfortable option (mentally, at least, for most people). Bringing the activity outside the house also has one benefit: you can't ask someone if they'd like to come up for coffee or a drink at the end of the date if the entire date has been at your house!