Any tips on impressing someone on a 30-min coffee date?

WillNylander asks:

I’ve never met this person in my life and I only know very limited information from their social media (which is the platform through which we met). The way I see it, I have like 30 minutes to impress this person enough to meet me again.

Any general tips (other than be myself)? Do the dynamics of these sorts of interactions change when it’s just 20-30 minutes to achieve my stated goal? Should I focus on them or on me (or balance it out)? We’re both still in undergrad if that matters (i.e. just kids)

Thank you so much in advance.


Demetrius says:

See, this is why I’m not a fan of coffee dates. There is a built-in time-limit, and it is a very short one. At some point, it’s just awkward to be at a coffee shop for more than 30 minutes. It’s like speed-dating, except instead of multiple short dates, you just have the one,  and it’s going to feel forced.

That said, my personal issues with the idea of a coffee date wont change the fact that people see them as viable dates, or that you’ve already planned one, so let’s get into some tips so things go smoothly for you.

First things first, a balanced conversation is key. There should be a back-and-forth between you two, so avoid anything that resembles an interview. Don’t focus solely on them. Instead, focus on questions or talking about topics you want to know more about, and then providing your own answers or anecdotes. If they ask about where you’re from originally, ask about where they’re from. You ask about what they like to do in their spare time, share what you like to do. If they bring up an interest, discuss it if it’s a shared interest, and bring up your interests. You might not be able to cover all the basics in 30 minutes or less, but the goal here is to have a back and forth conversation, and not interview.

Next, keep it light. You might be tempted to be serious and focused on getting to know them, but try not to make that your focus. Instead, just try to build chemistry. It’s more important to walk away from your coffee chat feeling connected, rather than feeling like you’ve learned a lot. Think of it like this: You can read about music and get all the facts about a music genre memorized, but you won’t really feel connected until you hear a song or read lyrics that move you. Just because you know a lot about a person doesn’t mean you’re connected to them. Focus less on drilling down for facts, and just try to establish a connection. 30 minutes isn’t the ideal amount of time to do that, but work with what you’ve got.

Finally, don’t rush. You might have 30 minutes for this one instance together, but that doesn’t mean you’ll only get to spend 30 minutes together if you click. Odds are good that if you clicked online, you’ll click in person. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re meeting once, you only have one chance to impress them. Just be you, and find a balance in what you’ll talk about and if they’re interested, you’ll hang out again. If they’re not interested, and you don’t click, trust me when I tell you that not rushing wont be the deciding factor.


Though not the most ideal date setting, and not a personal favorite, it’s not impossible to turn a coffee chat into an opportunity for a more traditional date. Just use your time limited wisely. Balance out your conversation, keep it light, and don’t rush and you’ll do just fine.

Good Luck Out There.

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