I understand why some men and women become disenchanted with online dating. It can be hard, and frustrating and a lot of work. Of course if you’re determined to find a date or a mate, you find a way to make it work.
For me it’s been a matter of breaking the process down into manageable steps. First of course, is getting the profile up and running, followed closely by sending and receiving emails and winks. That part alone can be daunting – why didn’t he respond to your email when you are SO perfect for one another? (obviously he didn’t think so). How can she be so CUTE but sound so flaky in her emails (guys…really…do I have to spell this one out for you? OK, fine..it’s NOT.EVER.ABOUT.LOOKS). Eventually though you do connnect with someone enough to plan the next big online dating challenge – The First Date.
I’m pretty sure this is THE major cause of online-dating stress. After getting through the first couple of gates, you’re ready for a spin on the open track and those of us who’ve been dating online for a while know that this is ususally the make-it or break-it point. Most will tell you that they can tell within 5 minutes whether or not there’s “chemistry” and that most online connections never go past the one date mark. Personally, I like to (if I can) give myself much longer than a few minutes to see if my date and I are compatible (2 dates is my preference) but I seem to be in the minority here. Oh, and there’s also the safety issue, more so for women than men but it’s a concern for all of us. After all you’re meeting a total stranger at this point! SO…mix all that together and you have major first date stress. So how do you manage this milestone event without losing your hair, sanity, and courage? Like this:
First, get those safety issues addressed. Make sure the place you agree to meet is in a populated area. Preferably a popular and busy place. Personally, I don’t mind sacrificing a little quiet for the comfort of knowing I’m surrounded by lots of people. Besides if you really like him/her, you’ll have to lean in a bit to hear what they’re saying…very cute and coy if you bat your eyes just the right way..:)
Make sure at least one reliable friend knows where you’re going and when you’re expected back.
Now, for the right “getting to know you” atmosphere: At this point you’ve emailed and chatted and should have a bit of an idea of where your date would feel at ease. If neither of you are drinkers then you may want to suggest a local coffee shop or cafe. There’s a very upscale town near me that has lots of little cafes and pastry shops – just perfect for a light snack and some conversation. They even have outdoor seating in the nice weather. A bit different from the typical Starbuck’s and always fun. Which is important on a first date!
I hate those dates that feel like a job interview. I find someplace that’s comfy but a bit off from the average first date venue leaves me feeling more relaxed and thus able to work my “questions” into the normal course of conversation.
Are you both animal lovers? How about a trip to the local dog park? They’re usually connected to a “people” park and so are great places for a nice stroll.
Art lovers can visit a local museum. Check out google for small, niche museums near you. They’re smaller than most big city museums, just big enough for an hour’s worth of art (and date) appreciation.
How about window-shopping at the mall? If you both like to shop, or even just critique the current fashions or latest electronic gadgets, this could be a really fun and unique date.
Finding a great place for your first date, particularly if it’s based on what you’ve read in their profile, shows your date that you’re interested enough in them to have done a little research, and that’s always an impressive way to start off a potential relationship.
So, now you get the idea. Safety. Comfort. Conversation-friendly. Personal interests. Keep those in mind when planning the First Date and you’ll be off to a flying start.
Do you have any favorite first date meeting places?