Double dates can be a fun (and easy) way to ease into breaking the ice with a girl you might like. For instance, just a few weeks ago while visiting a buddy in New York City, he had matched with a girl on Tinder and, instead of just taking her out, asked if she had a friend for me. It didn’t end as we both thought it would — hint: his girl got sloppy drunk and we ended up parting ways with the two girls — but, still, it made for a fun night out.

Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time, as we my friend and my case, or are trying to have a double date with another established couple, it can be a daunting task. Like all things dating, there are rules to make one successful, which is what we’ll be talking about today.

We know double dates aren’t necessarily the norm these days, but, for those guys out there interested in getting their feet wet and trying it out, here are the things you need to know in order to make it successful. After all, you don’t want it to end like it did for my friend and me in New York.

Plan something out of the ordinary

OK, so sitting around on the couch or going to a nice restaurant might be the easiest ways to have a double date, but that’s boring as all hell, guys. Think a little bit out of the box and plan something that both couples don’t normally do. This could be something like bowling, ice skating, going to the beach or, honestly, just doing an urban hike together to see parts of the city you haven’t before. For an added twist on the urban hike, make it a scavenger hunt, where both couples go around together and find popular landmarks.

Know the audience

Is the couple you’re with conservative or a little more outgoing? If you’re dreading spending an evening with people who aren’t like you, why make the double date in the first place, right? We know there are times when it’s completely out of your control — like when your girlfriend invites the couple — but, as the guy, it’s up to you to take charge and adapt your personality and the plans accordingly. You don’t want to take a couple who doesn’t drink on a wine tour, guys.

Gossip your asses off

For whatever reason, we all love gossip. That’s not to say we all know everything about the Kardashian-Jenner family or the latest entertainment news, but coming prepared with a few tidbits about what’s going on in the news is good to have. For instance, say you know the couple from work, don’t feel ashamed talking about a coworker who just seems to get under everyone’s nerves, or tell some strange story about office drama just to get conversation going and to keep the mood light.

Engage everyone who’s there

OK, so your girlfriend/date might be talking to the other guy, that’s fine. Rather than sit back and be bored, go ahead and strike up conversation with that dude’s date. It can be strange to feel like you’re flirting, but, hey, be confident and have fun, there’s no harm in shooting the shit with another female, especially when it’s harmless in front of your girlfriend or date.

Not all double dates are created equal

We all know that some people are just serious duds. It sucks, but, hey, it’s the truth. When you’re in a double date where the other two people don’t seem to be interesting or fun or positive about being there, this is when you’ve got to ignite it a bit. This means telling a dirty joke to get them laughing, taking charge and ordering shots or, if you’re with a girlfriend/partner, texting them something dirty from the bathroom on your phone for them to look at next time they excuse themselves from the table. Do what you can to keep things interesting when a double date isn’t meeting your expectations.