Regardless of age, we all feel excitement and a little nervous about a first date. This is your moment to shine and make a good impression. You are very hopeful your date will also make a good impression. There are many dynamics going on and it is best not to get too wrapped up in the details and just relax and be yourself.
As comfortable as it is to sit all cozy at your home in your PJs chatting with someone online, you will never know if there is any real connection until you are face to face. (However, this should never take place in your home OR in your PJs.) After you have connected with someone and sent a few emails, the anticipation is building towards meeting them in person. Some people want to go straight from an email to meeting at Starbucks, and while I understand this is tempting, I recommend talking on the phone at least once before agreeing to meet. There is something about having an actual conversation with a person that reveals much more than a written email or even through texting. I have decided against meeting someone after talking with them on the phone based on their communication skills, negative voice inflection, excessive bad language; any number of things that you can pick up as clues on their compatibility to you. I also look for their willingness to talk on the phone. I have had instances where a guy would text or email, but never call me or answer if I called him. This behavior is extremely suspect and I quickly moved on. Obviously, everyone has times during the day when they are unavailable, but repeated excuses for why they can’t talk or did not hear the phone is a red flag that there is something else going on in their lives that would not appreciate you being there too.
So….who does the asking nowadays??
We all grew up in a time where the guy asked the girl out. But times they are a’changing. Now for me personally, I do prefer for the guy to ask, however, I have been known to make the suggestion from time to time if I felt there was mutual interest and he was a little timid. As we get older and have had to deal with heartache and even loss, it does take courage to put it out there and start again as it never gets any easier to face rejection. I do not have an issue with who asks, as long as someone is asking and you are not spending endless days just chatting. But I will say this, do not ask more than once. If you introduce the idea of getting together, and they turn you down, let it go. You should not ask why nor react in a negative fashion. You should just simply say something along the lines of, “Ok, I understand and if you change your mind, the offer stands.” Maybe they are afraid and just need more time to think about it. If it doesn’t turn into a big deal, they are more likely to re-engage with you when they are ready.
As a side note, please know there are some people online who have no real intentions of meeting. They use the dating site to fill up their lonely nights with chatting and idle conversations with no real goal to meet anyone in person. These individuals may be emotionally scarred or some are even already in relationships and are only playing on the side. I would not invest too much of your time with anyone who does not want to meet within one to two weeks after the first email.
Now let’s get to the good stuff! You have decided that this person on the other side of the screen is someone you want to meet in person! The average time from the first email to the first date is about a week! That’s very exciting and requires a little thought and planning to prepare for success!
The Meet and Greet – Is There a Half Date?
If, after all the preliminary checks and balances, you are still uncomfortable with the time and/or money investment of a full blown date, you can opt for the Meet & Greet. This is the drive-thru of dating. A Meet & Greet is designed to limit your initial exposure and usually takes the form of a cup of coffee or a very unassuming lunch. I have done both. A lunch works well for me because I only have an hour. What can go wrong in an hour, right? (I once knocked over a full glass of sweet tea in this guy’s lap. He went to the restroom to clean up and never came back. True story.)
The primary objective of the Meet and Greet is to make sure they are a true representation of their online presence and that you feel comfortable being around them. I am not an advocate of giving away too much personal information still at this level. Home address, work address, family information; all of this can come later if there is a connection. This time should be spent talking about common interests, values and goals. At the end of the lunch or coffee, if you do not feel like taking it any further, you can be polite, say your goodbyes and be on your way. If it goes very well and the excitement continues to build, you can flirt a little, plan your next meeting and then be on your way. Your way to the actual First Date!
Check back next week to find out where to go on your date and other helpful hints!
Hope With Abandon