Whether you've been set up by well-meaning friends, finally plucked up the courage to ask that new girl at church out for coffee, or met someone online, frankly it's usually a bit of a minefield.
But – given that you can get through anything if you imagine how funny your friends will find it when you recount the story later – it's also a goldmine for awkward moments.
With that in mind, we've put gathered together some of our own, and some of our readers', stories.
" – yes, it's happened – remember there's strength in solidarity. "One time I didn't totally realise I was on a date until I was being told about how he'd thought about what his future wife would be like." 2.
"As I was getting out of his car I accidentally said 'See you never', winked at him, and then hit my head on the car door." 3.
"One date spent the entire time telling me about his congenital ailments, and those of his family too (sister's missing ovaries and all).
I like to think I'm sympathetic about health problems – we've all got a few – but it was like sitting through a medical seminar.
By the end, all I could think was: 'No way am I ever mixing my DNA with yours, mate.'" [Hopeful Girl] 4.
"After an online date, as we headed off in opposite directions, he yelled: 'You're better looking than your photos!
' A kind thought, but did he have to tell everyone on the busy riverside we'd just been on a blind date? "I got asked to a comic-con event (I don't even like comics).
The guy then produced an anime drawing of me that he'd done himself, complete with a very pronounced bust." 6.
"I was having a coffee with a guy who had a really loud voice.
In the middle of Starbucks he announced, 'We really must be careful in Europe, because it's being taken over by Muslims'. Then he said he'd once found some similar ones abandoned in the street and given them to an ex-girlfriend as a gift.
It was a proper wish-I-was-anywhere-but-here moment." 7. If there's a social convention for how to respond to that one, I'd like to know what it is." 8.