So you’ve met someone online dating that you click with. You’ve been chatting and decided that it was time to meet. It certainly is the logical next step. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a frightening one. It’s one thing to share pictures and chat from behind a computer screen – it’s a completely different thing to meet in person. What if you don’t like them or they don’t like you? What if they don’t look like their picture? What if you don’t click in person? What if they had bad personal hygiene? Hmmm OK I had to put that one in, I mean, c’mon, who wants a partner who smells or is dirty (not the good kind of dirty 😉 I mean unclean). I certainly put high importance on personal hygiene, but I digress. So there are a lot of things to fear, but I always say dating is a risk, albeit an exciting one, but a risk nonetheless.
I always have some personal guidelines I follow when meeting someone in person for the first time. It’s my way of feeling safe, but also gives me an out if I need it. Yes, you need an out, what if they are a complete whack job? I mean you never know, right? People tell you and show you what they want online – in person it’s a totally different story. You have to be careful, but still have fun in the process. You never know, this might be just the person you are looking for. I always believe in giving people chances, someone might just surprise you. I have experienced both end of the stick, someone who I totally thought would be amazing turned out to be a loser while someone I thought would be a loser turned out to be pretty cool. So try, what’s one date anyway, at the very least you will meet someone new and never wonder “what if”.
OK, my guidelines. Here are some of my “ground rules” for the “first date” while online dating … learned most of them the hard way!
Before Accepting The Date:
- Make sure you have seen multiple photographs of them in different scenarios … ten pictures of them taking phone cam pics in the mirror in different poses just doesn’t cut it! You need to see them in their element, in public.
- Chat with them at least a few days before meeting. It is essential you don’t go out the same night as they send you the first message. You need to give yourself time to assess their interest in you and their attitude. You might notice they change their tune over the course of a week. You also might lose interest in them after a few conversations. Give yourself adequate time to judge if you really want to meet them.
- Do not give your telephone number out immediately. I know it’s nice to chat on the telephone, but it is a personal security risk to give out your number to someone you don’t know. Just chat online and when you decide you want to meet, then if, and only if, you feel comfortable, give your number. I personally don’t give my number at all until the date. That’s why I like Blackberry Messenger (BBM), you can exchange PIN numbers and chat on there and just delete them if you don’t want them there anymore. No security risk.
- I always schedule the first date in a very public place like a coffee shop or a bar. First dates should only be casual events. No fancy dinners. Nothing that could potentially take hours. Although museum visits, nature walks are nice, I would say leave them for date two.
- The man always pays. I don’t care what anyone says. A coffee or a drink for two people is a minimal cost. If a man can’t/won’t pay for my cup of coffee, then in my opinion he isn’t worth dating. This is why fancy dinners should be left for a later date. The woman can pay for something sometimes, but later. Unless it’s two women, well, then, that’s another story, I am unable to help you there!
- Dress casually and normally. Although you want to look good, don’t try too hard. Be yourself.
- Set a time and be punctual. This is a “no brainer”, but I give a late date fifteen minutes, tops to account for traffic. I always make an effort to be a few minutes early and I expect the same. It is all about respecting an individual’s time, it says a lot about a person if they are consistently late.
- First dates should always be two to three hours tops. Leave something to the imagination and for subsequent dates. Make plans for after the date, so you have a reason to leave.
- No physical contact other than a handshake and maybe a hug. No kissing, no sex, no touchy feely. I don’t need to explain.
- Let the conversation flow. Don’t talk about your exes or bad relationship history. Keep all conversation positive. No negative topics. Just talk about mutual interests – music, TV, movies, books – not how much you hate your job or how drunk you got last weekend.
- Maintain eye contact and keep that telephone in your pocket! If you are interested, show it. If you aren’t then leave.
After The Date:
- If you want to see them again, send a thank you message a couple days later. They say Wednesdays are the best days for this because people are most relaxed at work and planning for the next weekend. Just say “thank you I enjoyed our time together and I look forward to speaking again.” You don’t want to put pressure, but you want them to know you’re interested in pursuing something.
- If you aren’t interested, don’t send anything. If they send you something just say something like “thank you, but I don’t feel I would like to pursue anything further”. It is important and good karma to do this. For goodness sakes, don’t leave someone hanging if they express interest. We’ve all been left hanging and it’s not fun.
- For those of you who experience love at first date, well … neither of these apply … just go with the flow and what feels comfortable and natural as long as it’s mutual!
These are some of my first date guidelines. I have found them quite helpful and hope you do too! Good luck, be safe and above all else, have fun!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Originally Posted on Singles Warehouse
[…] I’ve written about this before … That First Date talks about what to consider before, during and after the date and my post What To Talk About On […]
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