As online dating is on the rise, dare I say the norm, you are more likely than ever to go on first dates with someone you have never met in person. This increase of blind dates (or “blind meetings”) can leave you feeling anxious or awkward about what to do or how to act with a potential stranger/lover. In this blog I’m going to address how to make your first meeting memorable and let your best self shine…while also addressing an escape route if necessary!
With online dating, the first date begins long before you actually meet, it starts with your emails/ messages where you begin to learn about each other’s interests and potential meet up ideas surface. Are you both into wine? Being physically active? Collecting cat sweaters? Any of these can be a potential date idea (there are a plethora of cat sweaters at Penny’s right now, meow).
After a few messages exchanged, it’s time for the phone call. This is a crucial step that people often skip when it comes to online dating. Evan Marc Katz, online dating coach, says this is one of the most vital steps to escaping the awkward date. When you have a phone conversation you can tell if you click and can have a conversation. You can also gauge his commitment to meeting you, or if he’s just into getting attention on tinder and won’t follow up with a live chit chat. During the phone call you both might also suggest fun meet up ideas based on common interests.
During or after the phone call it’s time to plan the date/meeting. I do love when a man plans a date but since it is the first date and you don’t know him, it is ok to help create a date you are comfortable with. You can suggest the location, activity or hint at your preferences. It is really just a first meeting, not a full blown date. I consider the 2nd meeting for online dating to be the real “first date” where you have established if you like him and he can take more initiative.
So where to meet? NO DINNER DATES! Dinner dates are awkward because there is too much meaning and pressure put into them, the date is too long and you have to sit across from each other with no potential of touching or moving … save it for the 3rd date or later. Try something casual where you have an option of sitting next to or close to each other and you can end the date in 30 minutes if needed (you need a quick escape route if things are bad). For example, if you are both really into dessert, you could suggest a quirky gelato bar by you, sit in a booth or chairs by the window next to each other. There is no pressure to spend a lot of money and you can leave as quickly as you can eat (watch out for brain freeze!).
Or if you have a common interest (as you discovered on the phone or chatting online) then go for that- A walk around town, museum visit, or wine tasting. Something active where you can talk about the environment, people watch, or share tastes and opinions. You can allude to these date ideas on the phone or messaging online. Try to use flirty challenges e.g. So you think you are a wine connoisseur , I challenge you to a blind tasting then! (keep it to a 2 drink max when it comes to alcohol)
If the first part of the date goes well, after 30-45 min you might say you have to go and keep him wanting more (Cinderella move) or suggest a second location. It’s good to keep things moving. Maybe there is a great coffee place around the corner or an acoustic session at the pub nearby. Keep it spontaneous and fun, but you might have to do some planning beforehand if it’s your neighborhood. Doing these seemingly spontaneous activities together can make the date more memorable.
The first date shouldn’t last more than 3 hours. Don’t go back to your place, don’t let him walk you home or to your car. Keep it mysterious and be safe.
How to act on date one: Don’t act like it’s a date! Greg Behrendt, author of “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “It’s just a f**ing date!” states that often we get all caught up in the word “date” and freak ourselves out. Date just means you are meeting someone new. Show up with a positive attitude and leave the past and any expectations behind you. Being in the present moment and enjoying meeting a new person. You can talk to anyone for 30 minutes! Look nice, be nice, have fun go home!
Make sure to show up to your date on time and with positive energy. Don’t show up right after work if you aren’t in a good mood or had time to freshen up. First appearances are important.
Allow him to be a gentleman on the date as well: slow down before approaching a door so he has a chance to open it, offer to pay, and thank him when he does.
One of the best first dates I ever had, the guy asked me to the Museum of Modern Art. He didn’t look into the exhibit beforehand so we were both shocked to see an exhibit of grossly sexually graphic art… he suggested we leave if it was too much…. But I went with the flow and said it would be fun. We spent the date making fun of the art and I got a great sense of his humour. We then went to china town and walked around. I created a challenge where we both had to find something quirky for $1 or less and come back in 15 min and give it to each other. Whoever found the weirdest thing won. When I returned to the parking garage my car was locked in. He drove me over an hour away back to my house, dropped me off with a kiss on the cheek. We weren’t interested in dating after that but it was a very memorable date…and I have a weird pig key chain that poops when you squeeze it.
What worked about that date was we were light and fun, didn’t take ourselves too seriously. There was a lot of movement and a pace to the date. I could have left after an hour in the museum but we continued on for another hour. We allowed ourselves to be silly or adventurous. And I didn’t take him home, even though he drove me all that way. Keep it classy!
Dates are opportunities to meet amazing people. It’s time to start looking forward to first dates, not dreading them. If you plan them right, dates are a chance to meet someone new and enjoy time with them. In an often rushed and hectic lifestyle, it’s great to connect with someone over an activity or cup of coffee and just be a nice human being.
See, not so scary you first date diva.