Couples generally understand “date night” is a necessity to reconnect with one another and have fun shared experiences. However, it is all too common for couples to get bogged down in the planning of a date night by details such as scheduling childcare, deciding where to eat, or choosing an activity both people will enjoy. Enter the mini date.

What is a mini-date?

A mini date is a small scale and simple activity (20-30 minutes) allowing a couple to pause and focus on one another without distraction. Mini dates offer the opportunity to take the pressure off and enjoy small moments together. They allow a couple to relax, connect, talk or not, and simply be together with purpose. It’s doable as an every-week habit rather than waiting for date night to come around.
Get started with some of the following ideas.

Mini date ideas:

1) Listen to a podcast during the week individually. Then talk about it over coffee at an agreed-upon time.

  • Pantsuit Politics
  • S Town
  • Serial
  • This American Life
  • Nancy
  • Under the Skin
  • Invisibilia
  • Freakonomics

2) Grocery shop at a different market together. If you typically shop Target, head to Whole Foods. Make it an experience by first getting a treat at Starbucks or Yogurtz. Give each other leeway to buy one new or exotic item. Make it something you’ve been wanting to try, but didn’t want to waste money because you could end up hating it. Set a time when you want to experiment with your new item. It could be right when you get home or over the weekend. Share with your partner. Offer reviews.

3) Go on a walk. Choose a new-to-you park or neighborhood you’ve been curious about.

4) Enjoy breakfast time. Have coffee and read at the same table. Silence can be golden. Sharing space without asking anything of one another is beneficial to developing safe space with one another.

5) Have drinks on the patio after dinner. Agree to meet up with one another on the porch or patio and share a drink. Discuss the happenings of the day, or just unplug with one another and don’t talk. Again, share space, give each other room to just exist or to catch up with what’s been on your partner’s mind.

Rules for a successful mini-date:

Humans perform better when we know what is expected of us. Rules establish expectations and a measurement for success. If we feel successful then we are more likely to repeat the experience. Hence how mini-dates lend themselves to rituals of connection.

1) Agree on expectations. What do you each want this experience to be like? How will you know if it was a positive experience?

2) Define each other’s role. Do you expect each of you to be prepared with questions for discussion, or would you rather enjoy simple silence? If you want to talk, make sure to stay away from hot topics that could cause tension. Name the hot buttons and agree they are off limits.

3) Clear the practical hurdles. How long does it last? How do you wrap it up? What do you transition to after the mini date? When and where do you want this mini date to occur? Is this mini date a one-and-done experience? Or, do you want to arrange a follow up mini date for the next week?