Thanks to the internet, people have many more avenues to form intense friendships and romantic relationships than they ever have before. Online dating websites, chat rooms, social media platforms, user groups, and even Craigslist are all places in which people can connect with one another and chat. In many cases, people choose to keep these relationships strictly online. However, if you meet someone online and things really click, you may wish to get to know the person in real life.
This means arranging a meeting.
If the idea of meeting somebody after chatting with them online makes you nervous, you aren’t alone. The person you are meeting is probably just as anxious as you are. If you can, relax. Even when they go badly, these meet ups are almost never as bad as you imagined. Even better, there are several things you can do to avoid disappointment and ensure that the first meeting is as enjoyable as possible for both of you.
Avoid dinner and a movie.
Even though dinner and a movie are very common choices for a first date, they aren’t ideal. Going to dinner is too intense. You’re looking at an hour or more looking at each other and holding, or attempting to hold a conversation. The problem with going to the movies is the opposite. There’s no interaction, and that means no chance to get to know each other more.
The best first date activities often involve walking, talking, and participating in activities that don’t last too long. Here are a few great first date ideas:
- A trip to the zoo or an amusement park
- Going to a museum
- Visiting a video game arcade
- Bowling or golf
The reason these activities work out so well is they give you and your date the chance to talk with each other, and get to know more about one another. They also give you the opportunity to break up all of that interaction by engaging in other activities. You’re also more likely to see your date’s true personality. When people go out to dinner, they often put on their ‘buttoned down’ personalities.
Have a few phone conversations before meeting in person.
If the thought of your date hearing your voice for the first time makes you nervous, you are not alone. It’s a common fear, driven by the fact that most of us think that our voices sound weird.
Don’t meet up with this hanging over your head. Make arrangements to speak on the phone a few times; it will be one less thing to feel nervous about on your date.
Don’t over (or under) dress.
Don’t make the mistake of letting your expectations influence the way you dress. Do not get too dressed up with the expectation that you can make a better connection or increase your chances.
On the other hand, don’t under dress to appear nonchalant. Even if you have had disappointing results in the past, your date deserves a little effort and respect. Rather than making it an issue, dress in something nice that is appropriate for the occasion.
Make sure you’ve discussed your deal breakers before meeting.
This may be the biggest cause of disappointment that there is relating to meeting an online love interest.
Know what you want and what you do not want and make those things clear. For example, if you do not make it clear that you want to date an athletic person, and that you are uninterested in a relationship with a smoker, you may be disappointed if your date hates being active and has a pack a day habit. Your date is also likely to be hurt and disappointed as well.
Be a thoughtful date.
First, don’t be late and manage your time; that’s the only way to ensure you don’t have to rush through your meet up. This will give you plenty of time to get to know your date in person. Your date will also start off on a good note if you are on time.
In addition to this, stay off of your phone, and don’t steer the conversation to yourself and your interests; be sure to ask your date of themselves as well. It is also a good idea to come prepared to pay your own way.
Tell a friend where you’re going to be.
First, there are obvious safety reasons for doing this. Second, even if you don’t feel as if you are in danger, dates like this can become awkward or tense. If this happens, you can have your friend contact you with an emergency to give you an out; however, this technique should only be used if you feel you must do so to avoid a loud confrontation or an prolonged dialogue about why things aren’t a good fit. If you are simply ready to call it an evening because there’s no connection, be direct about it.
Have realistic expectations.
Yes, every once in a while you will meet somebody who is absolutely lovely online, but completely unbearable in person. For the most part, people aren’t that different when you meet them in person—they may be a little less talkative or a little more outgoing. Don’t go in with an expectation that things will go horribly and that you’ll be disappointed.
On the other hand, don’t set the bar too high. There are no guarantees you will fall in love, either. Look at the date as the opportunity to meet somebody that you’re compatible with, nothing more and nothing less.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun.
The best way to make a great connection with somebody, or at least enjoy the date is to have fun. Laugh, enjoy yourself, and remember that dating is supposed to be a fun experience. Don’t spend the evening wondering if you are, or are not making a connection. Your date will certainly enjoy spending time with you if they see you enjoying yourself.
Hey, Good Men Project readers! Did you know our partner MeetMindful is a dating site for conscious men and women? They can help you find what you are looking for.
Online Dating: Avoiding Disappointment When You Finally Meet Offline” was originally published with MeetMindful; republished with permission. Click here to check out MeetMindful for yourself with a free two-day trial.
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