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Online Dating Magazine > Features > Online Dating Meeting Tips

Online Dating: Meeting Face to Face for the First Time
by Kelli Bailor

If you are perusing this article, then chances are you have either decided to explore or venture into the online dating world. Online dating has become a very big part of our society in the last few years, and it seems to have taken the place of meeting people in bars. The biggest part to the online dating process is actually meeting a person face to face for the first time. This can be a little nerve-racking and exciting, but it also may put you way out of your comfort zone. So, in order to make you feel a little more confident and comfortable in meeting someone new for the first time, here are some things to think about that may make your first meeting go a little more smoothly.


Physical Appearance and Expectations of the First Meeting
What is the first thing that you think of when you are preparing to get ready to meet someone for the first time? The answer to this question could differ between men and women, but most often we are concerned with our physical appearance. The majority of men and women know that first impressions are usually the most important element to meeting someone new. Consequently, we tend to take extra care in how we look, feel, and even smell for that first initial meeting. But as we take our appearance into consideration, we should also pay attention to our feelings and expectations of meeting this person.

Often times we have too high of expectations for the first meeting, and then later we feel almost let down. This tends to lead to our discouragement in the online dating world, and also dating in general. In order to keep things more in perspective, we need to try to keep more of an open-mind when meeting someone that we have only been corresponding with online. Online communication and chemistry may be quite different then the in-person communication and chemistry that surfaces. We may feel completely at ease and willing to discuss anything online or over the phone, but when we actually meet face to face, that level of comfort may not be quite what we have anticipated. So, we need to lower our expectations, and see this as just a date to get to know someone better. We should not judge our chemistry and comfort levels by just our online correspondence.


Getting Cold Feet
Most of us have experienced extreme nervousness about that first meeting. This is perfectly normal human behavior. One of the main reasons we get nervous is because we worry about what the other person may think of us. We could be concerned with what we are going to wear, how we look physically to that person, or even how our personality comes across. These factors can leave us feeling overwhelmed and influence our decision to cancel the date. In this case, we are liable to make up excuses for breaking the date, or we may even choose to just not show up! All of us have felt these emotions, and some of us have even pulled a no-show so that we don’t have to deal with our anxiety. But think about the consequences of your actions.

Canceling and rescheduling a date just because you are nervous is not going to make your fear go away. The longer that you wait to go on that first initial date, the harder it is going to be. More than likely you won’t even go out on that date, or maybe they won’t feel comfortable asking you out again. And besides, pulling a no-show is very inconsiderate to the other person’s feelings. No one likes to be stood up! You could be passing up the chance of a lifetime by letting your fear conquer your desire to meet this person! How do you know that this person may not just be the one you have been searching for unless you take the risk and meet them? When meeting a new person, remember that you are not the only one who is meeting someone new. They are meeting you for the first time as well, and more chances then not they are feeling just as nervous and anxious about the first date as you are.


Tell Someone Where You Will Be
It is very important to let someone know where you'll be, especially if you are a woman. For your personal safety, tell someone close to you that you are going out on a date with someone you met online! Be sure to not only tell them where you will be, and what time you will be meeting, but also be sure to tell them who you are going to be with. Some of you may be embarrassed to tell your best friend or close family member that you are using an online dating service to meet people. Don’t be! More and more people are meeting online every day, and it is very important to protect yourself by letting someone you are close to know that you are doing this.

In my experience, this has made that first meeting not quite so scary because I know that someone out there knows where I am and who I am with. My closest friends have even asked me to call them after my date to let them know that everything went ok, and that I made it home safely. So, get over being embarrassed about meeting people online and telling your friends! Think about your safety first! If you are really that disconcerted about meeting people online, then maybe you should rethink why you are doing it.


Take Separate Cars or Different Means of Transportation
Plan to take your own car, or use some other means of transportation to get to your destination. You should never accept someone to pick you up at your home or work that you have only met online. This is just another safety precaution for you to think about. By taking your own transportation, you are free to leave the date whenever you feel like. You can also feel secure in knowing that your date does not know the physical place of your home or where you work.


Places to Meet for the First Date
Where should you go to meet someone for the first time? Well, that really depends on your comfort level with that person. Have you just communicated online, or has their also been communication over the phone? In either scenario, probably the best place to meet someone for the first time would be a Coffee Shop, or some quiet Café where you two are able to talk and feel comfortable that you are in a public place.

Some other good places for a first date could be a miniature golf course, a bowling alley, or maybe even a pool hall. This puts you both into an activity, and may help to break the ice. You can also see how the other reacts in this type of environment, and if they seem comfortable with you and the activity you are partaking in together. In most cases, the goal for the first meeting is to see how you both click, and also to get to know each other a little better.

Going to the movies on the first date is not advisable, as you are not able to really talk and get to know each other. Be sure that wherever you decide to meet, it is a public place that is quiet enough for good conversation.


Greeting the Other Person for the First Time
You are already nervous, anxious, and excited about meeting this person for the first time. So, how do you expect to greet them? There are many ways to greet a person, but it really is a personal preference as to how you would feel most comfortable.

Depending on the time you have vested in getting to know each other online and/or over the phone, you can probably get a good idea as to how you intend to greet them. Most often, if you have spent a considerable amount of time getting to know someone, then you are more than likely going to feel very comfortable hugging that person when you first meet. A woman may even feel comfortable enough to kiss a man on the cheek, where as a man may feel more comfortable just touching the women on the her arm or her shoulder. It all really depends on what kind of chemistry you have felt with this person.

Has there been a lot of joking and laughter in your communication with each other? If so, then you would probably feel completely at ease with hugging them when you finally meet. Has the communication been without much humor, and on the more serious level? In this case, hugging each other at the first meeting may feel to personal. You may be inclined to just smile at each other and say ‘hello, nice to meet you’. No matter how long you have been getting to know someone, you should just go with what feels right at that time.


Conversation Pieces
What types of things should you talk about on your first date? It is advisable that you read over their profile again before you meet. This will allow you to concentrate on what's important to that person, and what that person is most passionate about. Study specific details about this person's interests, and be thinking about questions that could lead into a conversation later in the date. It is always a good idea to ask some questions that were asked on their personal profiles.

Another good conversation starter would be to ask them what their goals are in life. Discussing subjects like this may open your eyes to who this person really is and what they want out of life. You may even find that you have more in common than you originally thought. Travel is another fun subject that you could really learn more about each other. Ask them where they have traveled in their lives, and then share where you have been. If you haven't traveled, but have desire to travel, mention places that you would like to see. Tell them what motivates you, and what interests you, and what your passions are in life. If you have already talked about some of these things online or over the phone, then bring them up again and ask questions to show that you are not only interested in what they have to say, but also show them that you have been paying attention to what they have said in the past. You could also talk about friends and family, and where you grew up. But before you do this, make sure that you feel comfortable sharing this kind of information with the other person. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing something, then don’t do it. Always listen to your inner-voice, because it usually knows what is best for you.


Always be Honest and Truthful About Yourself
You should always be very honest about who you are and what you are all about in your profile. Never pretend to be something or someone that you are not.

Deceitful behavior is one of the best ways to terminate a promising future relationship with someone. You may feel that you are only telling some white lies, but eventually those lies will catch up to you. The other person will figure out that you have not been completely honest and upfront with them. This can result in a lot of hurt and mistrust with someone that you may be very interested in getting to know better. So don’t lie! Be as open and honest as you can be.

The biggest thing to remember is to just be your self. If your date does not like who you are, then they are just not the compatible match for you. You can still leave the date, knowing and feeling good about yourself for being completely honest with them.


Breaking Down the Barriers of Shyness
Chances are that we have all been on a date some time in our lives where our partner was shy and not willing to open up with us. So, what do you do in this case to try to break down that wall?

In this case, it's important to do whatever you can to make that person feel comfortable and safe. Some people get very nervous if they are stared at for more then a few seconds. They may feel as though their personal space has been invaded, or they are being critically analyzed, or maybe even attacked for not being so talkative. Try to act relaxed, and don't make them feel bad for being shy.

Shyness usually goes away with time, but the best way to lessen it is to make them feel comfortable in your presence. Think back to their profile, and try to engage them in conversation by asking them questions about things that are important to them or that they are interested in. Listen to what they have to say, and make comments or ask more questions to make them feel more comfortable. This also shows that you are really interested in what they have to say.

Having a good sense of humor can sometimes break the ice, and get them to be a little more sociable. Try telling them a joke, or something funny that happened to you recently. Maybe you could even try telling them a really embarrassing moment that you have had in your life. By showing this part of your self, you are exposing what could be viewed as a weakness to someone who does not know you. This could open up the willingness of the other person to make comments, or even share something personal about them selves with you.

The most important thing to remember is to just be your self and try to have a good time with this person.


The Date Doesn't Feel Right
What if you feel uncomfortable with your date? Maybe you are just not feeling any chemistry, or maybe you are even feeling somewhat threatened by you date? If any of these feelings occur, then it best to call the date. Be polite and thank them for coming to meet you. Don’t ever feel obligated to stay and continue talking to someone that you are not comfortable talking with.

It is always a good idea to carry a cell phone, so that you can call your close friend or family member to let them know that you are calling the date and reasons why you are. It would even be advisable to call them after you have arrived home safely just to ease their mind.


Unsure of Your Partner’s Feelings About the Date
What if you feel your date is going great, but maybe your date is not sharing a lot about how they are feeling? This is always a tough issue, because as much as we all wish we could read each other’s minds, it just isn’t possible. The best thing to do is just come right out and ask if they are enjoying themselves. If you tend to be a shy person, this may be very difficult for you to do. But, remember that this is only the first date, and you may never see this person again, so why not step out of your comfort zone a little and just ask the question? When they answer, you can usually tell by body language or their tone of voice whether they are being truthful or not.

If you are having trouble reading that person, then more than likely they are not as comfortable as you are, and may not be having as good a time as you may be. Just remember, there are other fish out there! Don’t let one date spoil your desire to continue to look for someone who is compatible with you. Just try to learn from your experiences, and the more dating that you do, the more you will be able to understand other people.


The Date is Going Great for Both of You
Your date seems to be going very well, and you are both enjoying each other’s company. What do you do if he/she decides to ask if you would like to continue your date, by maybe going out to enjoy some activity such as Miniature Golf, or perhaps even dinner? Best thing to do in this case is listen to that inner-voice. Are you truly having a good time and enjoying this person’s company? Could you see yourself going out on a second date with them? If the answer is yes to both of these, then why should the date end here? But, if you answer no to either one of these questions, then it may not be fair of you to accept the offer.

You don’t ever want to give that person the wrong impression, or lead them on. If you truly like the person, then let them know it by accepting the offer to continue the date. But if you don’t think there is anything between you except maybe friendship, then tell them the truth. Be honest with them, and they will appreciate you for doing so. Sure, it may disappoint them a little, but it is always best to be honest & up front to avoid future confrontation.


Ending the Date
By the end of the date, you have a better idea of who this person really is, and how you both seem to click or not click. Women, if you had a good time with the other person, remember to tell them at the end of your date. This not only lets them know that you enjoyed being with them, but it also tells them that you would possibly be receptive to a second date. Men, women also like to hear that you had a good time with them. But, if you didn’t have a good time, or if there was just too much awkwardness between you, thank them for meeting you, and tell them it was nice to meet them. This usually tells the other person that they are not interested in a second date.


Conclusion
The first meeting can be very stressful for some people, but it can also be very thrilling too. Depending on how much time you have vested with someone online, your expectations tend to rise with every day of not meeting that person. Be careful! As stated before, online communication and chemistry can be very different from what your experience is in person.

Dating is supposed to fun, and you should just be yourself and have good time. Try not to hold too high of expectations on the first face-to-face meeting. This not only takes off the pressure on your date, but it also helps you feel more in control of what you are thinking and feeling about this person you are just meeting. In my personal experience of online dating, if you go in with an open-mind and the desire to just meet this person and have a good time, you can usually come out of the date feeling good about yourself and that other person.

The first date can tell you a lot about a person, as well as show that person a lot about you. Many times you will end up great friends instead of romantic partners. But that is what dating is all about, right? You are in search of your compatible mate, and how else will you find that unless you go on that first date and just ‘see’ what happens.



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