Places To Meet Your Online Date

Lets say you just met someone on eHarmony and have just set up your first date. Meeting on online date for the first time can be nerve-racking and, in some cases, absolutely terrifying. To make the date more comfortable and enjoyable, you must pick the ideal locale. Restaurants and movies, while traditional, can make the date more tense. You are in close quarters, and this makes the conversation seem much more personal and intimate. Below are four suggestions of places to meet an online date for the first time to reduce the anxiety:

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Do Not Stalk Your Prey

Remember the stigma of shame once attached to online dating? Back when the tagline on every online profile was a variation of “I’ll lie about how we met if you do”? When online daters were presumed to be either old, creepy men, catwomen (old women with lots of cats, or Halle Berry after she made that bad movie), or socially awkward gamers?

I’m happy to report that over the past few years the stigma of shame has been steadily declining, while the number of men and women willing to jump on the online dating bandwagon has experienced an impressive increase – according to this site, 20,000 people join Match.com every day, and according to the writer of this column, at least 18,000 of these are safely classified as normal and non-creepy (based on my statistically insignificant experiential research by which only 1/10 guys I meet online is abnormal, creepy and worthy of a blocked profile*).

While we may feel more optimistic about joining the 20,000 and venturing into the world of online dating, some of us tend to remain cautious. Even if we feel that there may be chemistry with you just around the corner, the odd way in which we met may dictate that we prefer to get to know you as a friend before heading toward it. In my experience, it is virtually impossible to go from stranger to sixty in one date, or even several dates. Before accelerating toward a relationship, I prefer to stop at the nearest getting-to-know-you station and fill up on friendship.

This concept was recently lost to a decidedly out-of-practice guy I began getting to know after meeting online through OKCupid. While I was interested enough upon our first face-to-face meeting that I felt it worthwhile to continue getting to know him, I remained uncertain after several dates that there was sufficient chemistry for something more. The fourth time we hung out, I established that I would like to hang out as friends only. While my sentiment was mutually agreed upon at the time, he then proceeded to call, email, and/or text three out of the four days following our discussion. As nice as he may have been, I came down with a bad case of too-much-too-soon and freaked out.

So here’s my online dating tip for today. It can be an exciting surprise when you can envision your online date as a potential partner. But keep in mind that appearing overeager can be a relationship death sentence. Give that person ample time and space, meaning don’t call, text, and/or email every day. If that person is likewise interested in you, he or she will make that effort to continue getting to know you.

*Blocked profile: If you end up with your very own online stalker (and yes, it happens, I’ve had several guys repeatedly email and wink with hopes of meeting up despite never returning any indication of interest), most online dating sites have an option by which you can block that person from contacting you or seeing your profile.

First Things Last

So you might remember back to a simpler time when the first thing you did was get to know people, and the last thing you did was decide to date them. When you were first introduced, at a college class, perhaps, or during that first job you held at Subway when you still thought a free six-inch sub at the end of your shift meant good benefits, the last thing on your mind was making that introduction into a lifelong relationship.

And if your friendship led into an eventual relationship, it felt like a naturally-occurring phenomenon; a spark as opposed to an arson fire.

It seems counterintuitive, then, to be meeting your newest online date at 7:00pm for a drink, and to have assessed his or her emotional and financial stability, job security, family history, physical appearance, and religious and political compatibility by 7:06pm.

But that’s exactly what you’re doing in the world of online dating. You’re there with hopes of meeting somebody to whom you’re attracted. And rest assured, so are they. So if neither of you sees the potential for romantic compatibility, that’s that.

But that’s a lot of pressure! The kind of pressure that might make you, say, try too hard in your attempt to make that good first impression in six minutes or less. And while there’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, here are 5 online dating tips to keep that foot out of your mouth and maintain composure despite your nerves.

  1. Don’t ask your online date how you’re doing so far. Be confident enough to know you’re doing perfectly well.
  2. Don’t talk about your other dates, or your most recent relationships. It’s okay to briefly allude to that movie you watched with the ex, it’s not okay to launch into a diatribe about how the ex wronged you. (That’s what your personal blog site is for—or at least that’s what mine’s for.)
  3. Don’t get too deep. Politics and religion can be inflammatory topics, and if you find you don’t agree on them, you’re probably not going to convert your date right then and there. So don’t try. (You scoff, but this actually happened to me. His monologue on the superiority of his political views to mine only lasted a full hour because I hadn’t yet outlined for myself the rules on How to date and dash.)
  4. Don’t forget your wallet. (The same guy who gave me the political lecture also received a free drink on my dollar after having left his wallet in his car. It was like paying for a really bad movie, and then having to sit through the whole thing.)
  5. Don’t whine and dine. It can be easy to lament the travails of the dating world, or the world in general, but try to stay upbeat during your date. I find positive energy to be incredibly attractive, and I definitely won’t be looking for a second date with you if either depression or desperation about the current state of your dating life comes to light during our time together.