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.
First date after meeting online: DOs and DON’Ts
1. 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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2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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? What do you do?
With first dates, the best thing to do is to consider common interests:
- 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.
Whatever the case, ensure that at least one of the activities on your itinerary allows you to have time to talk and get to know more about each other.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 and practical.
10. 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. Keep things casual and focus on getting to know more about each other. It is also important 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.