Ah…you’ve connected with a man on Match.com, tinder, eharmony.com or one of the other zillions of ways, and it’s time for your first date. Okay, let me tell you some truth: online dating first dates are not really dates. Whaaat? Read on…
I love the idea of women using online dating to meet men. I met the love of my life on Match.com, so of course I sing its praises whenever I can. My clients are all using it, to varying degrees of success. Pamela’s lovely beau is the first man she met online; Heidi went out with about four men before she met Tom and started her (so far) two-year relationship with him; Peggy is on Bachelor #26 and happy that she’s just having a good time dating for the first time in her life. I met Larry after years (Many years!) of using online dating. (That’s why I can give so much advice about what not to do!)
When you use online dating, you must remember that this is only one way of meeting men. Don’t forget the grocery store, Sierra Club hikes, your friends’ parties, and blind dates set up by your friends and relatives. (My mom’s friend set me up once, and the guy took me to a Roy Orbison concert — which was pretty cool once I figured out who he was. But the guy wore stripes and plaid together. So of course I never went out with him again. But I digress.)
When you’re using online dating, if you remember nothing else, remember this: When you meet for the first time after connecting online, it’s just meeting; it’s not dating.
I have 10 Tips to Help You Get Past the Meet-Date to the Real Date. (If you want to, that is.) Here are Tips #1 – #3.
1. Meeting is not dating.
The purpose of the “meet date” is only to determine if you want to go on a real date. It’s not to get to know each other. For most men, this is their time to get a first impression and decide if they want to get to know you better. If a guy does, he’ll ask you on a real date. Remembering this will help you better judge a man’s interest and make more realistic decisions about his worthiness as a possible mate. If he doesn’t present himself as overly interested or serious about romance, he may just be waiting for the real date to wow and woo you. When he gets a good initial impression, he’ll ask you out. When he asks, say “yes” if you feel good with him. Then give him the real look-over on the date (as he will you).
2. Be positive and realistic.
Stay positive in the belief that you will find your special man who will rock your world. But be realistic by remembering that the majority of the men you meet won’t be The One. This will serve you well in managing your expectations and, therefore, disappointments. If he’s not The One, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; and if nothing else, it’s just more practice for when you do meet him.
3. Put your best foot forward.
Everyone, men and women alike, have negative attributes and secrets; and everyone worries about when to share them. The answer may be complex and depend on the situation, but the sure thing is NOT to share them on the meet date or often even the first date. Divorce, family problems, jobs you hate, friends or other men who have betrayed and disappointed you are off limits.
If he asks or brings it up himself, respond with one or two sentences of a positive nature and sway the topic elsewhere. For example: “It was difficult at times, but I learned a lot from that experience” or “Wow, we could talk about that for hours! Let’s put that in the queue for next time…I’d rather talk about your [travels; favorite movies, bands, or plays; preferences in food; or cats vs. dogs…]”