So you’ve been spending time on an online dating site and you’ve made a connection. There’s been a wink and a couple of messages, and you’re ready for your first meet. In anticipation of this big moment, there are some things you can do to prepare. While meeting a new person for the first time is nerve-wracking, take these steps to make the experience easier.
Talk on the phone first. While some people prefer to skip this step because they’re afraid they may rule a person out just because they don’t like their voice, experienced on-line daters insist this step is essential. Why? Because talking is something you’ll be doing on your date, and if you can’t talk to the person on the phone, chances are you’ll have even less to say to them face to face.
Consider doing Skype. Skype (www.skype.com) is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee, using a debit-based user account system. Many Mac computers have a built in feature called Photo Booth that allows users to Skype right from their desk. The advantages to Skyping are numerous. You can see what the person looks like and how they sound, too, and because you can see some background, also get a sense of how they live (or work).
Choose a good meeting place. You want one that’s public but has a semi private, quiet area where you can comfortably chat. The best spots are a coffee shop or a restaurant, some place busy enough you’re not alone with a stranger, but at a booth or a table that’s not smack in the midst of a crowd. The first time you meet is how you start to know each other. Don’t pick a place too lively and boisterous or you’ll have to shout!
Pick a meeting time that’s good for about an hour. No matter how swimmingly things are going, first meets shouldn’t last for hours. Meet for cappuccino or a single drink after work. If there’s no chemistry or you hate the way they look, you can leave after 20 minutes. That’s fair enough.
Choose a meet-up spot that’s not too far away. Most people cite geographic distances they’re willing to travel in search of a future mate. Do you really want to drive more than an hour to meet someone you’ve only talked to on the phone or Skyped with? Select a location relatively equidistant from where you both work or live. Time is precious. So’s gasoline.
Always meet the person somewhere. Don’t let them pick you up. For reasons that should be obvious, never let someone you don’t know see where you work or live. If things go well, this is information you’ll want at some point, but for a first meet always arrive and leave on your own.
Eve Marx is the author of eight sex books. Her titles include "Whats Your Sexual IQ?," "Flirtspeak: The Sexy Language of Flirtation," "The Goddess Orgasm," and "101 Things You Didnt Know About Sex."