4 ways to end the “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” exchange with your significant other
For anyone who is in a relationship, sharing meals together can be an important part of your time together. Inevitably, you’ll both realize at some point that you’re stuck in a rut of going to the same boring places and eating the same lackluster food. This normally starts with the infamous , “I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?”. This is followed with an “I don’t care. Where do you want to eat?”. A few suggestions are thrown out and shot down like skeet shooting with comments like “I just had that for lunch” or “we always eat there”. It’s time to spice it up!
Strong relationships are built where couples share a set of common experiences. What could be more fun than enjoying a meal at a restaurant you’ve never been to? Then fear sets in. What if we don’t like it? Nothing is worse than spending your hard earned dollars and being disappointed by a bad dining experience.
Do your research
Before we even commit to going to a restaurant, we check out the menu. We consider our likes and dislikes, any dietary restrictions that we’ve talked ourselves into, and (of course) how much the meal is going to cost. Talk with one another and discuss the menu before you make the trip.
Look for reviews of people who have visited that restaurant before. Check out local foodie blogs, Zomato (formerly Urbanspoon), Yelp or TripAdvisor. You should read ten or more reviews before you decide. Also realize that people are more likely to post a negative review than a positive review. You should also consider the person posting and the frequency and quantity of their reviews. In the end, you’ll need to carefully evaluate reviews unless they are from a known source.
You should investigate other things like parking, directions and the area of town the restaurant is located in. Parking can be a major obstacle in many cities and it can also be expensive. If the restaurant provides a valet, find out if the fee is “tips only” or there is an additional charge. Parking can sometimes add up $10-15 or more to your meal. Even though a GPS is my preferred partner, I have had it attempt to guide me the wrong way on one-way streets or onto roadways that are closed for construction. Make sure to have the restaurants phone number, just in case. Don’t rely on a data connection being your only lifeline.
Many couples have to schedule time to go out to dinner together. Preparations need to be made like scheduling a babysitter or you may want to invite another couple to share the meal. Once you leave the house, leave your worries behind you. Now is not the time to talk about the children’s grades, your performance at work or logistical matters. Enjoy spending time with one another in the company of yourselves or with friends.
Smartphones can be addictive, but its just rude to be dorking around with your phone during the meal. We have a rule that once seated, phones get put away. We’ve noticed entire tables where each person seated has their head down looking at their phone. What’s the point? Don’t be a mindless phone zombie – break free for an hour or two and focus on a splendid meal.
Don’t be afraid to try something new together. One of our favorite experiences is Taste of Atlanta when we just go from booth to booth tasting everything in sight. It’s a wonderful experience where we sample foodie delicacies that we would never have sought out on our own. We really are surprised when we end up enjoying something that we would never have thought to order.
It’s always a great idea to meet up with foodie friends and let them suggest a place to try. One always feels more comfortable when under the care of a trusted guide. Its great going to a restaurant with someone who has already been there, knows the menu and, when possible, they know the the staff. The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never been truer than when dining out! You can’t help yourself but give extra special attention to your regular customers. We love dining and entertaining with others and its a wonderful way to get to know people by sharing a meal together.
Most of all, enjoy yourself. Dining is more than just eating – its lifestyle entertainment. Enjoying a great meal is so much more than just putting a fork in your mouth and tasting great food. It involves the entire experience from the ambience of the restaurant, the interaction with the server and, of course, fascinating conversation with the people at your table. Have fun with it and savor your time with your significant other! Guten appetit!