First dates can be extremely nerve-wracking–even more so if it’s with a stranger you met online. Some people revel in the feeling of venturing into the unknown, but those who haven’t tried or have never been successful at online dating are reluctant to push their luck at real-world dating.
The idea that you’ll be spending time with a person you know nothing about can be scary, but it can also be beneficial–especially if you end up liking each other. If you don’t at least try to go on a date, you might miss a chance to see how things pan out with the person you like.
Dating someone you met online
No matter what most people say, online dating is a legitimate way for you to meet a possible partner. There’s a chance that you might find that person immediately, but you’re more likely to find people who don’t meet your standards first.
That’s totally okay, though, because that’s what dating’s all about. You have to test the waters and see if the person you’re talking to is worth your time. You need to be as discerning with online dating as you are in real-life dating.
Actually, you have to be more critical of an online match, because the information at your disposal can’t be trusted or verified before you go out. You don’t know this person yet, but talking to them online and going out with them can help you remedy that issue.
Online daters thrive on the speed and thrill of having so many prospects. Most of them will tell you what they want, or they’ll show you their motives through subtle hints and statements. The good thing is, that kind of attitude will help you weed out the ones who are only there to hook up.
Plan and prepare
Before you go out with your online match, you should be aware of what you’re getting into and who you’re doing it with.
#1 Do a mini background check. Ask for a social media profile that has at least two years’ worth of activities. If they don’t have one, you should probably think twice about going out with them. It’s going to be difficult to find that person in case anything happens, because they don’t exist online. If you have any common friends, ask those people about the person you’re going out with, as well.
#2 Create a dossier for your date and send it to a trusted friend or family member. Prepare a picture, a screenshot of a video call, and a list of pertinent information, like their name, address, and phone number. Relay all of this to your friend, so they can use it in case anything goes wrong.
#3 Set up a GPS tracking system. Use your phone or a different one that’s hidden on your person or your purse. Make sure that it has a tracking app, enough data to last the night, and a full battery pack. It sounds extreme, but you’ll thank me when you get home safe and sound.
#4 Get yourself a “guardian angel.” This is the friend that will keep track of your activities all night. Make sure that your friend has no prior engagement that night and know that you owe them big time after this. They should have access to your GPS, and you should communicate with them every so often until the end of your date.
#5 Choose a location that’s fair to both of you. The purpose of this is for you to have a suitable exit strategy in case the date doesn’t go as well as you expected. Apart from that, choosing a location that’s easily accessible will allow you to exit gracefully and efficiently, in case you get stood up. Sorry… but it really does happen.
The main event
Now that you’ve taken the necessary precautions for your first date with an online match, it’s time to brief you about the date itself.
#1 Make sure that you look your best. Even if you just got off work, it won’t hurt to pop a breath mint and run a brush through your hair. This is your first date. Their first impression and overall assessment of your appearance, personality, and rapport hinges on you making an effort and being consistent about it.
#2 Don’t be shy. Engage in the conversation, ask questions, listen intently, and smile! You need to interact with your date in order for you to get to know them and vice versa. If you just sit there and stare at your plate, you won’t get anything but a free dinner or half the check.
#3 Stick to positive topics. Steer clear of complaints, fears, problems, and sob stories. If you have a lot of issues that you need to deal with, you shouldn’t be going out on dates at all. Fix your problems first, so you and your date can have a stress-free and enjoyable conversation.
#4 Be flirty! You’re on a date, not an interview. Entice your date with compliments, funny stories, and subtle hints at a possible make out session later. If that’s not your thing, just make them feel wanted and appreciated. It’s easy. You can start with, “I like it when you smile.”
#5 Be genuine. Don’t start developing a second personality. Just be yourself; you won’t be happy in a relationship that started out with a lie. If you’re a relaxed and down-to-earth person, just go with it. If you’re meticulous and prone to obsessive-compulsive tendencies, don’t hide it out of discomfort. The weirdest qualities can be the ones that will win the heart of the person you’re supposed to be with.
#6 Be original. People usually talk about their work, interests, and hobbies when they’re on a date. Since you met your date online, you’ve probably talked about these things already. Tell them a secret or something personal, instead. Just make sure that it’s all you, and not something that somebody else wrote on their profile.
#7 Be polite. This advice shouldn’t be necessary, because everybody should treat the people around them with respect and kindness. This is just a reminder that you should start considering how you treat people, or someone will call you out on it. It would be doubly embarrassing if that person were your online match.
#8 Make sure your date knows that you’re interested. Playing hard to get is only successful if your date knows that they have a chance. If you keep brushing them off for appearance’s sake, they’ll take it as a hint and stop trying. Acknowledge their appreciation, and reciprocate in kind.
#9 Use the power of touch. Touch their arm when you compliment them, pat their shoulder when you excuse yourself to go to the restroom, and hold their arm when you walk together. Those gestures are very powerful, because they can trigger a surge of attraction.
#10 Watch your body language. It’s understandable that you might feel guarded on a date with a stranger. However, body language can make a big impact on the person you’re interacting with. Their own subconscious will process the information, and their instincts will tell them to back off.
What to do after the date
No matter what happens on your date, you have to be prepared for what comes after. If you can’t tell whether it was successful or not, just stay positive. But don’t fixate on it because it’s still too early to tell whether or not you’ll end up together, anyway.
#1 Follow up with a thank you or positive input about your date. A simple thank you will suffice, but it’s better if you send a short but thoughtful message after the date. A call seems more personal, but it’s not a necessity.
#2 Call them after a few days so you can ask them out or casually mention that you’d like to see them again. You can ask this immediately after the date, but it’s okay to wait and see if anything changes about the way you feel. Don’t wait for them to call, just so you can feel wanted and validated. Call them if you want, and don’t worry about what they think.
#3 Accept the fact that some dates with online matches will fail. If they don’t feel the same way about your date, just chalk it up to a failed attempt, and start over with someone new. Don’t take it as a blow to your ego. That person wanted something different, which means that they weren’t the person that you needed, either.
#4 Politely decline if you’re not interested. If the date didn’t sit well with you, it’s best to tell your date how you feel before they assume that you still want to go out with them. It’s okay to do this over the phone, because you’re not intimately close with them, anyway.
#5 Repeat the same steps mentioned in the subsection above on your succeeding dates. When you get the go signal for date number two, just do what you did the first time, and stick to that pattern until you grow old together.
When you feel close enough to the person, you can start to open up more about your personal life and share your thoughts and feelings with them. The first date is finally over. Now your relationship can begin.