Taking the Plunge – Meeting Your Online Match (Part 1)
So you made a success of it, you found a match online and now you’re meeting up? Congratulations! The hardest part of the journey is over and now the fun begins. But remember that first impressions do count and if you’re not careful, you could still mess things up at this stage. With this in mind, here are my top tips for your first face-to-face:
Firstly, make sure you choose the right venue; this may seem obvious but the choice of location can really make or break a date. Ideally you should choose somewhere that’s public, with people around but where you can still hold a conversation.
Meeting at your house or your date’s house is a definite no-no, this not only sends the wrong signals for a first date, but could potentially be unsafe – however well you think you know someone online, they could still turn out to be a real world psychopath. Even worse, they could be really boring and fail to take the hint when it’s time to leave!
Cinemas are often regarded as good venues for dates, but think about it – you’re stuck for up to three hours with your date in a place where you can’t talk or even look at each other properly; is that really the best environment to make an impression? Likewise the main dancefloor at Ministry of Sound is not ideal for an involved conversation.
Of course, this is not a definitive rule, you might have got chatting in the first place through a shared love of films or dance music, but for the majority of meetings a small intimate café or quiet pub provides the perfect environment for a little light conversation, some flirting and plenty of eye contact for that all important personal connection that is the key to a successful date.
Time of day can be an important factor for a meeting as well. Think about what kind of date you want to have. What do you know about your match already? Is he or she an all-night party animal or an afternoon tea on the lawn type? Studies show that our intentions in online dating are perceived differently depending on the time of day we choose to interact, and this also applies to ‘real world’ dating.
If you’re serious about looking for a long term partner and you think this match could possibly be ‘the one’, you should consider meeting earlier in the afternoon or evening. This gives the impression that you are a more sober and dependable character, and that your intentions are honest. If you’re more into playing the field, or are aiming for a more casual and ‘fun’ relationship then meeting up later in the evening should be fine.
Of course the time of day and venue have to also work together; cafés, art galleries, perhaps a visit to the aquarium are all classic afternoon or early evening activities, leaving time for you to continue to a bar or restaurant later if things are going particularly well. Late night dates are better suited to more upbeat or raucous activities such as gigs, ten-pin bowling or maybe a spot of salsa dancing.
Once again, there is no definitive formula that will help you to choose the perfect setting for your date, think about what you know about the person you’re meeting up with, what the two of you have in common and try to choose a date scenario that reflects this. Above have fun, relax and be safe!
For more tips on face to face meetings see part 2 of this article