How to Have a Meaningful First Online Date

bigstock-130951523There was a time not all that long ago, when telling your friends or family that you were going on a date with someone you met online had a negative stigma attached. Perhaps they would assume you couldn’t meet someone in the real world and that it was some sort of desperate last resort.

Now that online dating is more mainstream, there is a good chance you may find yourself on a first date with a person you met online. As someone who has had a fair amount of dates, be it a random friend of a friend on Facebook, a Tinder match, or someone from OkCupid, I can safely say that these very first online dates are far different from other first dates. That being the case, I have a little bit of advice.

Try not to linger online forever

One of the really nice things about online dating is getting to know someone a bit before you actually go on a date with them. But don’t keep up the online chatter forever! The way that someone acts online will be different in person. While you may be communicating, in-person interaction changes things quite a bit. So waiting too long gives you time to make assumptions and develop expectations that the other person may not even be aware of. So chat for a bit and if you like one another, go for it. Guys, don’t be shy. Ask her out. Ladies, don’t hesitate. There is a happy medium here.

Go somewhere that facilitates conversation

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of going to a movie on a first date. Newsflash: A movie theater isn’t really a great place to have a conversation and get to know someone. Plan something where talking will be a big part of the date. Keep it simple with dinner and drinks in a quiet restaurant. Or do something a bit more off the beaten path and memorable like visiting an interactive museum or bowling. Spoiler: I didn’t get a second date post-movie, but if I’d been more thoughtful about my planning, maybe I would have.

It will probably be a bit weird, just go with it

Online dates can be a bit awkward at first. Be yourself and remember that your date already has a sense of who you are with because you met online. Use that to your advantage. And remember, it’s a date like any other date. So pay your date a compliment and ask them about something you learned from their online profile. This will get the ball rolling and soon the whole internet thing won’t even be a factor.

Be completely honest

If there is one thing that I have noticed about online dating thus far, it is that people want something genuine and honest. They aren’t interested in playing games.So be confident in who you are and just be honest about yourself. Don’t lie, don’t embellish and just be you. This especially applies when you are on the date. If you have presented yourself in an honest way in your profile, the person who has agreed to go on a date will want to go on a date with you. The real you. So there is no need to try and put on a show.

Don’t take it too seriously

Yes, you should definitely try and make a date fun, and you should definitely try and enjoy yourself. But at the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world if things don’t go seamlessly, nor is it the key to all that is right in the universe if it goes well. It is just a date. Keep things in perspective, and I wish you many dates to come.  

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