When that online dating profile on the single’s site leads to a fun correspondence, soon it’s time to meet in person. That’s a lot of pressure on both parties to live up to expectations. Here’s a few online dating etiquette tips and hints on how to greet your online date in the real world and have it go as smoothly as possible.
1. Dress up. Men need to hear this more than women. Mates, your T-shirt and jeans just aren’t going to do! Especially you should consider what you plan to do on your first date – are you going to a formal dance, a rugby match, a day at the Renaissance Festival, or a hiking expedition? We don’t mean that you should do a full make-over if it would mean trying to be somebody you’re not, but just pick your best outfit that goes with the mood of the date.
2. Smile! A winning smile and a positive attitude will go a long way. This isn’t always easy if you’ve had to travel – we aren’t all at our crisp best after a red-eye hop on Quantas or a two-day trip on Greyhound. But try your best, anyway!
3. Admit you’re nervous. Your date’s probably nervous, too. Try to play it as if you’d just bumped into each other at wherever you’re meeting and have struck up a casual conversation. Online communication has this effect: you may have spent months sharing intimate details with each other, only to feel strangely out-of-place on your first real-life meeting. It’s normal and happens to everyone.
4. Bring a gift. If your date has mentioned that they like chocolate or love a certain author, that’s a hint that you could think of bringing along a sampler box or the latest novel by that author. Keep it simple and non-imposing – it’s a token gesture.
5. Shut off your mobile phone! This is the most important detail that people forget. A big, big turn-off is to meet your date and they get a call and immediately screen you out while they talk to somebody else. This also goes for you ‘gadget geeks’ who can’t stop fiddling with your Blackberry long enough to pay attention to the real person in front of you.
6. Keep your plans flexible. Unless you have show tickets or dinner reservations, you should be prepared to make a change of plans if your date comes up with a better idea. Some people have been dating so long that they get a little ‘programmed’ and think that they have to stick to the plan. Let your date be spontaneous.
7. Have a back-up plan. You went to the restaurant, but it’s unexpectedly closed because you forgot it’s a holiday. You show up at the concert, but the band got into a fight with their manager and buzzed out of town instead. Now what? There’s nothing like two people who are just getting to know each other who now have to stand in the middle of the street looking around for someplace to go. Prevent this awkward moment by planning out a ‘what-if’ ahead of time.