“Timing is critical, as is everything else in life.”
First dates are always fraught with anxiety, particularly blind dates of any kind. Meeting face-to-face does qualify as a first date, even though you have been getting to know them or flirting online.
Assess the Potential
Before you decide to take that next big step with a fellow cyber-dater, ask yourself a few questions. What do you know about each other? (You could tack on a “for sure” there, but it might just encourage doubts.) What are the things that you like or dislike about your online chats with this person? Do you have chemistry? What are your reservations, if any?
Wait for a While
Definitely, wait to get to know the person beyond their profile. Get a sense of their conversational style and personality before getting in this unknown territory. Also, wait a bit to see if they mention something inconsistent that does not fit the claims in their profile.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Don’t wait until there is nothing left for you to surprise her with. Keep some things to yourself to share on your first few real-life dates. If you chat online for too long, you might give it all away. It can take away some of the magic in a relationship. Certainly, don’t wait until you develop a strong emotional connection with the other person. While the “freedom” and neutrality of Internet conversations allow people to express their personality, sometimes it can be off-putting physically. The letdown could be painful to both of you and unfair to the other side. Also, sad to say, sometimes the intimacy you feel with someone you have not yet met can be an illusion.
Keep the First Date Low-key
Find low expectations for activity and setting. Do not choose anything that entails a great expense of time or money. If you can find something you both like, great, but beware of dates that are too activity-oriented. The point is not to beat people at beach volleyball or win money off them at poker. It is to get to know them in the context of shared interest. You have to be able to talk to them, so consider the noise and eliminate loud clubs and bars. Also, avoid places where you know everyone. It is unfair to put the other person in this position. Try to have an escape plan just in case.
Prepare for the Worst…
Even if your date is not married or looks different, it is still possible to feel let down. No surprise, your date might be amazing in a conversation online, but still have few turn-off features in real life. Also, it’s possible the person simply lacks the spark, or the two of you might not have chemistry. It is all a learning experience, so have fun with it, no matter what the outcome might be.
… and the Best
Be prepared for someone you thought was just a potential one date or worse, to knock your socks off. Even if she seems just average in photographs, you might still share brilliant chemistry with her. That is what online dating is all about.