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Online Dating - Meeting for the First Time
So, you've perused all the profiles, sent some emails, and have finally hit upon what seems to be a true, mutual interest situation. You are now ready for "the meet." At this point, you are both online dating rock stars! Celebrate. Maybe even do a little happy dance because you have made it past many of the difficulties of online dating. But, what do you do now?
Where to meet?
Most people are a bit cautious, and rightfully so, for their first meet. After all, you are basically meeting with a total stranger, with the exception of a few emails and perhaps a background check. So, a coffee shop or some other low key, populated place seems to work for most of us.
What is it like?
Unfortunately, most of these initial meets are quite like an interview, and almost nobody enjoys interviews. But, the reality of the situation is that both of you are hoping to be surprised while keeping a look out for the deal breakers. You know, things like he doesn't like children and I have seven waiting for me at home. Or, she is looking for a side order of abs with her coffee and I can't remember where I last saw mine. The list of potential deal breakers is endless and unique for each of us. So, it's generally two people trying to seem relaxed while conversing and expecting each utterance to trigger a land mine causing the other to say something like, "It's been fun. But it really is getting late."
Is there anything I can do to increase my odds?
Well, as in an interview, your appearance counts for much more than we care to admit. So, dress your best. Actually, maybe dress more than your best. Invest some time, and some cash, and put together that one killer outfit that is just right for you. Play to your strengths. If you are wealthy, dress like it. It certainly can't hurt, right? If you do have that awesome body, wear some tight clothes that show it off. If you have an eye for fashion, display all your tail feathers. If you are an artist, dress with some flair and arrive early so you can doodle something on your napkin. Basically, make sure you show whatever it is that makes you special. Each of you are likely to decide in just a few minutes if you want to move on to an actual date or not. So, you better show what you got as quickly as possible.
If you are the guy, just plan on paying, and pay. That's just life. Don't sweat it. Guys have benefits in life. This just isn't one of them. If you are the girl, you should offer to pay, or at least pay half. It's a nice gesture.
What do I order?
As little as possible. You have to order something, or you just look cheap. But, you really don't want any food or drink to get in the way. After all, nutrition isn't the reason you are there. Just order a classic coffee or something, or maybe tea.
How do I act?
Be courteous, polite, and humorous, if being funny is within your reach. Make eye contact. But, don't scare the person! Don't touch the person, unless you either get an obvious invite or you can do it in some way that simply feels natural and friendly. Basically, you are hoping the person will enjoy being with you. Between the two of you, a conversation has to flow. That should not mean that one person carries the conversation.
How do we part ways?
If you are really lucky, you will both be enthralled in your conversation and giggling so much that you both lose track of time. In that case, one of you will usually say they would like to see the other again, and it's all quite easy from there. But, most of the time, the meeting ends in a more reserved way, with a more simple, "I had a nice time." The other person can always pick that up and offer, "Would you like to do it again sometime?" Or, maybe a more specific offer, "There is a really great Thai restaurant that I've been wanting to go to. Would you like to go with me sometime?" There might be a hug involved. But, I think that should only happen if the woman offers it. When a guy prompts any kind of touch on a first date, it's a very risky proposition and can easily give off a creepy vibe.
Hopefully, all has gone well and you are both off in some nice restaurant on a second date deciding on a cover story for your friends so you won't have to admit you met online. But, if not, there are new profiles popping up everyday. So, happy browsing! Life is a journey that we learn from, not a race that we win. Take what you learn from each experience and let that enhance who you are as a person. If you do that, sooner or later, you will be so attractive to other people that you will have plenty of great dates to choose from!