“Date Zero” is your first face-to-face meeting. This happens before the official “first date,” and gives both of you an opportunity to determine your compatibility. Meeting for coffee or a quick happy hour drink are the optimal Date Zero activities—they allow both of you to get to know each other, see if you click, and keep it casual and fun. Here are three rules you should follow for the ideal Date Zero:

1.) Make It Quick

Date Zero only needs to last twenty minutes, and no more than an hour. You should choose a cafe or bar at a location that’s convenient for both of you—it shouldn’t take you longer to get there than you plan on staying.

2.) No Pressure

The most common mistake I see men making is going over the top for Date Zero. Don’t over-plan, over-spend, or over-expect! This is just a no pressure, open-ended meet up to see if you two have any sparks. Save your impressive date ideas for someone you’re sure you have chemistry with!

3.) Flexible Timing

The ideal Date Zero happens on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon or evening. You can’t expect a girl to give up time on a Friday or Saturday night to meet up with a stranger, and the weekday constraints ensure that Date Zero won’t run too long or too late.

Like I said, coffee or happy hour is perfect! I’ve heard a lot of terrible Date Zero ideas in my time. Besides the classic dinner date that awkwardly drags on, here are three others that have stuck out to me as absolute no’s:

1.) Family Functions

This one should be a given, but you might be surprised what people think is okay! Weddings and funerals are obviously taboo, even for tenth date, but even if it’s a low-key family-and-friends gathering, like your cool cousin’s birthday party at a local bar, don’t bring your date! Most women will feel pressured and intimidated by meeting anyone to whom you’re related because “meeting the family” is pretty far up the commitment ladder. Further, you don’t want your date to be bored by all your family’s “remember when” stories, and there’s a pretty good chance your family might try to embarrass you in front of her! Avoiding the ribbing from your brother, the expectations from your mother, and the drama of the whole situation.

2.) Clubs

Clubs are where you go to get numbers, not after you already have one. If you’re meeting with someone you might want to date seriously, you’re probably more interested in learning what kind of person she is than what kind of dancer she is. Clubs might be fun, but they’re not Zero Date material. Not only are you going to have to put up with other people flirting with your lady, but you might get a little distracted yourself. And the worst thing you can do on Date Zero is drink too much! Keep it together, find someplace quiet, and be home by 8pm.

3.) Movies

There are a lot of reasons a movie is a bad call. Firstly, it’s a waste of time! If Date Zero is supposed to be a quick meet-up to learn more about each other, spending two hours sitting in the dark in silence is pretty much the opposite of that. Further, not everybody has the same taste—nothing is worse than getting dragged to a movie you don’t want to see by someone you’re not even sure you want to date, and you might both leave judging each other for where you laughed or where you didn’t. Not to mention—what if you cry during a sad film, or scream at the scary parts? Lots of embarrassment potential!

Don’t mess up on Date Zero—keep it quick, no pressure, and mid-week. For more dating advice, ask Miss Marina!