One of the greatest challenges you face when online dating is the transition from the virtual world to the real one. It’s what makes first dates after online interactions so scary:
What if they don’t like you?
What if you don’t like them?
Thoughts like this might be daunting, but the risk is worth taking.
We’ve put together a few tips that should help you plan a successful first offline date.
Tips for first date after meeting online: the DOs and DON’Ts
1. Make sure you are in the right head space for the transition
Before you plan your big date and start worrying about the nerves, you have to make sure that you are emotionally prepared for the meetup. A lot affects this, including whether or not you have successfully let go of your baggage and the demons in your closet.
Another thing that determines whether you are ready for the first meeting after online dating is how long you have known this person and how strong the connection you have built is.
If you are going for something long term, it would be better to hold off a little until you are more familiar with each other. The last thing you want is to spook each other out. However, if you are looking for a hookup or a casual fling, then you can do it as soon as you feel comfortable.
2. Find the perfect time to propose the meet-up
Timing is everything when it comes to transitioning from the online world to the real world.
Don’t plan that first date too soon after you start talking with someone online.
You just don’t know enough about the person to know whether they are worth investing time in or not.
That said, don’t wait too long either or the other person might lose interest.
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3. Consider common interests when planning the date
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to transitioning from online to offline romance is figuring out what the perfect first date should be.
Do you go out for a fancy dinner and get all dressed up? Do you go to a gallery opening and pretend that you actually like that weird abstract painting to impress your date?
The best thing to do is to keep things simple – you don’t want to get locked into a 3-hour movie with someone you have zero chemistry with!
Consider common interests when planning your first (simple) date:
- If you both enjoy the outdoors and nature then maybe a walk through a nature trail and a picnic at the park would be perfect.
- If you are indoor types, then maybe a casual lunch or coffee date would do.
4. Meet in a public place
This is, without a doubt the most important rule when it comes to meeting someone for the first time. You may have been communicating with them for a long time by now but remember, you are still dealing with a stranger.
For your first date, plan to meet in a public place and stay away from private and isolated locations (at least until you are sure who you are dealing with).
For example, a coffee date at your local café is a perfect safe date option. Or a picnic at the park or beach. That way, you’ll still get enough privacy to get to know each other better without compromising on your security.
5. Dress appropriately
This is a challenge that both guys and girls have when it comes to first offline dates.
What should you wear? Do you want to pull out that evening gown or those dress shoes? Or are you in a show-stopper mood with that little black dress being all you can think about?
With first dates, it is best to keep it simple. It does not in any way mean that you can wear slacks, flip-flops or sweats. Just make sure you look nice but do not go overboard. The secret is finding the perfect balance between attractive, practical, and comfortable.
6. Show up smiling and keep the atmosphere positive
You are probably super nervous going into this, and that is completely understandable. But guess what, so is your date. It would be great for you to step up and shift the atmosphere in the right direction.
You don’t even have to be a super extrovert to do this. You just need to smile. Yep, it’s that easy! A smile creates a sense of serenity and positivity that will melt both of your fears away. It’s a guaranteed way to have fun banter and an overall great date.
Once you have established this mood, maintain it by keeping the conversation positive and warm. Some topics you can discuss to keep a light mood include:
- Fun childhood memories.
- Your hopes and dreams.
- Romantic banter if your relationship is at that point.
- You can also talk about deep and dark experiences as long as you maintain a welcoming and supporting vibe.
7. Ask the right questions
As you’re preparing for the big step, you must be wondering what to talk about on a first date after meeting online.
Well, when moving your relationship offline, there’s probably a lot of uncertainty in your mind. From doubts about how ready you are to insecurities about the other person’s feelings, you will have a lot of questions you need answered.
So, why not start by asking them?
We aren’t talking about simple questions like what their favorite color is or who they wanted to be when they were a kid (although questions like this are great icebreakers!). We recommend asking the serious questions that will give you a better idea as to whether you are a great match or you are better off going separate ways.
These include questions on their value and belief systems, their priorities, views on relationships, as well as their expectations.
8. DON’T move too fast
If you went online looking for a serious and long-term commitment, then patience is the key to success. Do not move things too fast! This might mean taking your love interest home after the first date is probably not the best idea.
Get to know more about this person with more dates and more online conversations. This allows you to build trust before you take things to the next level with your relationship.
9. DON’T have your hopes too high
Simply because your interactions survived the online phase doesn’t mean that your search is over. You might end up with a complete disaster of a date that will have you back to square one in no time.
When going on these first dates, it is best just to be cautiously optimistic. Keeping your expectations low lets you avoid disappointment.
10. DON’T share too much too soon
When you first meet your online date, the most important thing is to get to know them better and share more details about yourself as well. Just be careful with what and how much you share.
Just like with your first online interactions, the first offline date should be a time to gauge interest. Let them earn your trust before you go sharing your deepest darkest secrets and your home address.
11. Always tell a friend where you are going
If you are meeting your date somewhere unfamiliar, let your friends know where you are going. This is especially important if you have to travel to a different town, city, or even country to meet your online partner.
Telling your friends all the details of your date is important for your safety and ensures that someone is aware of your whereabouts should anything go wrong.
12. DON’T be rude
Being rude doesn’t necessarily mean talking or acting as an outright jerk. You can actually be a complete sweetheart, yet come across super rude at the same time.
Well, for starters, by being late. Do not keep a total stranger waiting for you! You can also seem rude by focusing more on your phone than on your date.
Or in other words:
- Be on time
- Keep your phone away, and
- Be a pleasant date.
It is those little things that go a long way to show that you are truly interested.
13. DON’T be too wound up; have fun
Finally, make sure to have fun on your date. You are allowed to be nervous but do not let those jitters ruin your date. Whether you go bowling or take a walk along the beach, let loose, laugh lots, and just enjoy yourself.
Remember, when planning the first date, it is all about testing the waters. The most important first date tips after meeting online are keeping things casual and focusing on getting to know more about each other. You also need to protect yourself not just physically but also emotionally.
So take baby steps as you did when you first started the online dating journey. With time, you will get to know more about your love interest and build a relationship that could land you on the online dating success story list.