Online dating is a heady old business - sorting out your profile, making those initial contacts and then plunging into the give and take of chatting and flirting. Hopefully you'll be pretty quickly finding someone you want to meet up, and that's where a whole world of issues raises their head.
This is the point where it all just becomes real, rather than a dance of electrons in cyberspace. You're not just exchanging words with a relatively anonymous person, you're about to see what the other person looks like. While this can be a scary thought, it's not too hard to apply some common sense about it all.
Some practical things to consider:
Just as with any possible date, a bit of humour, hygiene and patience is going to go a long way:
- Take the time to freshen up. Whether you're a guy or a gal, first impressions count, and if you don't look like you take care of yourself then how are they going to expect you to take care of them? You don't need to look like you've just stepped out of an expensive salon, but a bit of pride in your appearance goes a long way.
- By the same token, make sure you're dressing to impress. A little style makes all the difference and demonstrates you're not some little kid who needs their mother to dress them.
- Don't try to be something that you aren't either. You're better off being honest and open rather than trying to be all things to all people. You'll find it far easier, trust us.
- Above all, relax and enjoy the moment for what it is - a good time with someone. Don't worry about the future and what it might bring. Head into the date with the attitude that you're going to have a good time and everything else will just flow from there.
Safety on First Dates
It's also worth taking a few moments just to underline the need to keep safe. Talk on the phone before you meet to decide where you're going and then take the same sort of precautions you might expect on a more traditional date:
- Tell people where you're going and who you are going to meet, as well as when you should be expected back.
- Stay in public places like parks, bars or restaurants where there are plenty of people around.
- Keep a mobile phone with you and switched on at all times - if possible get a friend to call you during the date so that you can confirm that all is going well. If nothing else it can give you a good excuse to leave early if the chemistry just isn't there.
- Keep an eye on your possessions and above all don't leave any food or drink unattended where someone could contaminate it with drugs.
- Don't rely on your date for transport. Make your own way with your own transport if you can, or get a friend to drop you off and pick you up if you have to.
Have fun, get out there and make memories you'll want to keep the rest of your life.