You’ve come a long way, grasshopper. It has been a long journey. From the moment you signed up for your online dating site, to filling out the profile. You found people to talk to, and you’ve connected with someone. You have agreed to meet, and there is only one step left.
Where Should You Meet?
This is a pretty important decision. Get this wrong, and the first date may be doomed to fail before you ever meet. If you really nail it, it may be the key to finding that relationship that you’ve been looking for. Safety First!
It is typically up to the guy to make this suggestion. I’ve come across plenty of profiles where the girls will say as much. Because of this, I’m mostly going to be talking to the fellas here. Ladies, there is still something to get out of this. In fact, the first online dating tip is all about you, girl!
Safe online dating is important. There are obvious dangers in meeting a stranger that you met on the Internet. This is especially a concern with women. I come across this a lot. But you have a lot of power in making online dating as safe as possible, and it’s really easy.
There are a few rules that I believe should always be followed in going on a first date through online dating.
- Meet at an open, public place. This is one of the most important online dating tips you could possibly learn from me. Women, this is how you stay safe. Men, this is how you start things out with her feeling comfortable about the experience.
- Meet separately, don’t have him pick you up. You wouldn’t get into a stranger’s car, would you? This guy might not be a complete stranger, but how well do you really know him?
- Don’t let him know where you live. This is pretty obvious. Even if he doesn’t turn out to be dangerous, this is an easy way to let stalkers into your life.
As a guy, I have broken the last two rules. I have picked up my date a few times (usually from a neutral location, which is smarter), and I’ve gone to their place on the first date a few times. Now, there was no danger here, because I’m a sweetheart, a puppy dog. I’m a good guy. I’m also not insane. But how did she know that? She couldn’t.
Okay, now we got that out of the way, we get onto the more fun stuff. Where will you meet?
Go Big? You May As Well Go Home
A lot of this is open to personal preference. There is no one perfect answer. (Get ready to hear that often on this site!) There probably are perfectly wrong answers, however. A meat packing plant? I feel safe in saying that would never work.
First, let’s remember. Online dating is different from regular dating. Your approach at things will change. For example, when it comes to somebody I’m meeting on the Internet, I never want the first date to be big. It puts too much pressure on the both of you. I prefer to keep things more casual and comfortable. Outside of online dating, though, there are times that ‘going big’ on the first date might work. You might know this person more. You might have already been friends, and then recently realized the two of you have fallen in love with each other. Great! Go big! Romantic dinner at a classy restaurant. Flowers, chocolates. Make it a night the two of you will never forget.
I really can’t think of a situation where the same can be said for online dating. Even if you’ve been talking online for years, and have fallen in love. You have to remember, that first moment you meet in person is a huge ‘reset’ button. In many ways, you are starting over. The online dating site, the profile, the chatting, that was all just a means to get to meet this person, in person. You’re starting over, in many ways. Why complicate all that with big plans?
I don’t like going to a restaurant on a first date through online dating. It can quickly turn stuffy and uncomfortable. Looking back, I can’t think of a really good experience I had when we first met at a restaurant. Wait! Let me take that back. One of the best experiences I ever had with online dating, our first date was at a restaurant. We really hit it off, and we didn’t stop talking and leave the restaurant until over an hour after we finished eating. Guess I was wrong about this tip, then…
Wrong! I never heard from her again! The rule still stands!
The first meeting is just to get a feel for the person. Sometimes it shouldn’t even be a ‘date’. So save the restaurant for the second date.
Keep It Fun, Keep It Light
The first date is all about fun. So, one of my favorite ideas is to do some kind of activity. Because let’s face it, the first meeting is bound to be awkward. The two of you might find it difficult to find things to talk about. That is why it can be a good idea to have an activity as a buffer.
Bowling, mini golf and pool are easy ideas. These are all things that are probably available to you in your area, and can be enjoyed by most of us. If you are more inventive, you can find more interesting activities that might really help your chances. Or hurt, if you try too hard?
(While we’re on the subject, though, a word of warning. Keep weather in mind when making plans like this. I had a first date with somebody where we went mini golfing. I was going to then try to take things to a local coffee shop afterwards. But we live in central Florida. By the 18th hole, we were literally soaking wet from sweat. We called it a day then, and that was the last I heard from her. Learn from my mistake! Don’t play outside on a date when it is too hot!)
My other go-to location is the coffee shop. Everyone loves to hang out at the local coffee shop. Whether it be Starbucks or the locally owned business, these are relaxed locations where people can feel comfortable. Myself, I have one specific place in mind: Panera Bread. They’ve got the coffees and teas that a hip young woman of today will enjoy, but they also have the soda fountain that somebody like me, with the tastes of a child, can stomach.
These two online dating tips for where to meet aren’t the be-all, end-all. There are still some more great ideas out there. If you have one, especially one you have previous experience to, share it with us in the comments!
Today’s Simple Online Dating Tip
Don’t go big, go casual. Activities or a simple hang-out spot like a coffee shop. Often times, a ‘memorable’ first date off the Internet is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Going too big is an easy way to get that kind of outcome. The first date is about introductions, and leaving them wanting more. Give them that ‘more’ on the bigger second date.