Written by Clare O’Shannessy
Meeting up with someone from an internet dating site isn’t all that different to a blind date, but with more advantages. You know their first name, probably what mutual interests you share (as that is what caused the external matchmaker to bring you together) and maybe some background on their employment situation. The rest is a mystery!
One of the key things to remember is that they are in unknown territory too and therefore probably have quite a mix of nerves, anxiety and excitement just like you do.
If conversation isn’t something that comes easily to you when in an unusual situation, try reading over their online dating profile just before you meet up to refresh your memory on their interests. Also re-read your online conversation history so you have a ready repertoire of conversation starters.
Be smart; do your research. If you know their Facebook name, check it out.
Ask them if they have a Twitter account. This can give great insight into their lives and especially what they find interesting and newsworthy.
The amount of information you can gather on the other person can depend on the site you are using and also whether or not you are paying for the site.
Quite often for paid sites, you can get more information on things such as the upload date of their profile images. This can tell you how recent their pictures are.
Then there’s the awkward first meeting; do you embrace physically or use the opening line you’d rehearsed on the train?
Labouring over how to make a good first impression is normal. Previously wrestling with a whole pile of outfits trying to find the right one that best represents ‘you’ and all your best personality traits is also normal.
There is quite often a genuine fear of being stood-up, or worse, meeting up only for them to have an ‘urgent’ issue that requires their attention causing their swift departure. Thus leaving you feeling unwanted and rejected.
So how do you avoid this? Its a tricky one. But it’s coupled with what you choose as your entertainment for your first date.
You want it to be something exciting and inclusive but not too busy that your date gets distracted and wants to move on.
Try to base it on your mutual interests; that way when there is a lull in the entertainment, you can make informed conversation just by being yourself.
The concepts of food and alcohol consumption is a conversation you can have with your date. I would usually suggest something light so you don’t feel locked in and trapped while waiting for your large order to arrive. This can be particularly problematic if during the wait, you learn that the date isn’t going so well.
Remember, if you ever feel uncomfortable and/or unsafe, you can leave at any time. Nothing is more important than your well-being.
On the topic of safety, here are a few pointers.
Never give out your full name, personal details or address.
Never travel with them in private transport. Be aware of signs of unusual behaviour. If they are making you feel uncomfortable physically or emotionally it’s probably best to remove yourself from their company.
Also always meet in a well populated, public place. Its best to tell a friend or family member your basic plans for the evening and check-in with them when your date has finished.
If you implement these safety tactics they will not only make you feel safer but hopefully help to ease your nerves.
But chances are there are more good people out there than bad.
So embrace the initial awkwardness and hopefully you’ll soon be out meeting modern people, trying new things and experiencing the fun of internet dating!
When I smell sweet cologne
It reminds me of the times when I was alone.
It was internet dating sites I would roam,
Looking for a man to call my own.
I met some who were genuine through and through,
Only some to their pictures that weren’t true.
Those who were unpleasant numbered few,
Then there were those who would talk as they chew.
None were as seasoned daters as me
I explored many branches of that dating tree,
Only to find judging relationship competency
Really needed a conversational catalyst and an agency.
I met people of varying professions,
Some where guarded and others offered confessions.
But if I had to draw the line and make digressions,
I’d say some made it passed the first date progression.
So if you’re considering logging on and taking the plunge,
I’d offer this advice before you take up the challenge.
Keep your heart and eyes open, be an information sponge
And you’ll never know whats out there until you make that lunge!
And as for Tinder, well that story will be coming soon!