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Dear Demetria:

I met a guy. We exchanged information and spoke [on the phone] a few times. For a “first date,” he’s asked me to go to a fight party at his boy’s house. I’m used to some effort or planning being put into a first date, and I feel weird meeting a bunch of strangers when I don’t even know him. Am I trippin’? —Anonymous

Nope, you’re not. Like you, I’m a fan of a one-on-one first dates. First dates can be really awkward, since you’re essentially meeting up with a stranger you’re probably attracted to, and things can get even more squirmy when you’re getting to know your date in front of an audience of his friends. If it’s a halfway decent fight party, it should be loud, too, and no one wants to scream over music, the TV or other people to hold a conversation.

I totally get your hesitation for those reasons, and frankly, it’s just not safe to go a private home when you don’t know anyone there. (I guess you could take a friend, but then you’re bringing a friend on a date, and that’s just weird, too, because you’re stuck entertaining your friend while you’re trying to get to know someone.) For early dates, I advocate for public outings, even when the date is one-on-one.

I also agree that a little more effort or planning should have been put into this “outing.” And I say “outing” and not “date” because a “fight party” seems more like you’re “hanging out” with a friend than going out with a man who is interested in you romantically. This “date” sounds like something he would enjoy, but it also sounds as if he put little thought into whether you would, too. That’s not cool, but it’s not necessarily all bad.

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Let’s give your guy the benefit of the doubt here. Guys aren’t automatically experts on dating, and they get it wrong sometimes, even when they’re trying to do right. He could have a busy schedule and be eager to see you again, so he figured he could add you to his current plans and get a two-for-one of sorts. There’s also a kind of woman who is really into boxing and would be happy to catch the fight for free. It sounds as if you two have different interests and expectations for a date, but this can easily be resolved with some simple communication.

You’re clearly not comfortable with his idea, so decline. You’re not obligated to say yes just because he asked. Speaking of asking, ask for what you want here instead of writing him off, which it sounds as if you’re getting ready to do. Let him know that you’d like to see him again, but tell him that a one-on-one situation in a public setting would work better for you. Offer the days of the upcoming week or weekend that you’re available for a date and tell him what you want to do.

That’s not asking for too much. If he’s remotely interested in seeing you again, he will ask you on a more traditional  date. I hope it goes well.

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Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.