It was late and I was just going to bed when I received an email from Jen. The subject was “HELP” with a million exclamation marks following it. I couldn’t ignore it. She was in another time zone and just starting her day.
“Your dating profile advice was too good,” she wrote. “I’ve got a date tonight and I don’t know what to do. I couldn’t find anything on your blog and I’m freaking out. Please help me!”
After I finished giving Jen my pointers, she suggested I should put my advice in a post so other people could find it too. This is that post.
It is a sad reflection on our society that we have to worry about safety when we meet a strange man for the first time, but the fact remains that not all men have honourable intentions. It is important to not put yourself in a compromising situation.
→ Don’t tell your date where you live. Arrange to meet him wherever you are having the date.
→ Tell someone you’re going on a date and the time you estimate you’ll be home. Check in with that person when you get back to reassure them you’re safe.
→ Meet in a public place surrounded by other people. Don’t agree to go in your date’s car to another location. Definitely don’t go to his house on the first date.
→ Meet for coffee or drinks after work. Don’t arrange a late night date.
→ Try to stay sober(ish). Not only is falling down drunk on a date not a good look, but alcohol also inhibits your judgment and your reflexes.
Get Out of Jail Free Card
As your girlfriend to call you around twenty minutes into the date. If you’re having a good time and all is well, answer the phone where you are and tell your girlfriend you can’t talk now because you’re on a date.
If you’ve inadvertently ended up on the date from hell, excuse yourself and walk away from your date to answer the phone (so he can’t overhear your conversation). Spend a couple of minutes complaining to your friend about how much it sucks to be single and then go back to your date. Tell him something urgent has come up and you have to go.
Always have something (fictional) planned that you have to attend after the date. This means you can exit gracefully. Tell him you’re going out to dinner, or to a show, or you have to go back to work. Of course, having a fictional excuse means that if you’re enjoying yourself, you can choose to extend the date for as long as you like.
This is a cliché, but it is a cliché for a reason — it works. Don’t be on your best behaviour, don’t censor what you say, don’t wear high heels if you always wear Doc Martens. There is nothing sexier than confidence — you’re the only one of you so fully embrace your personality. If he doesn’t like it, then fuck him.
If you’re new to be totally authentic, then this is a good time to practice. You have no investment in this person so you are free to be you, perhaps for the first time ever. It’s a good feeling when you don’t give a shit about impressing anyone.
Don’t Audition Him as a Potential Boyfriend
Don’t approach the date with the intention of finding a boyfriend – it is way too much pressure for everyone. See it as a chance to make a friend or even merely an acquaintance. Don’t give him a hard time because he doesn’t measure up to that list of ‘must haves’ for a soul mate — appreciate him for who he is.
Think of the encounter as having some company – someone to talk to, someone to listen to, someone to place your attention on. Try to think about the other person more than you think about yourself. He’s probably just as lonely as you are.
Figure Out Where You Stand
At the end of the date, don’t be shy about stating how you feel and agreeing on what happens next. If you don’t intend to ever see him again, tell him. If you want to go another date, tell him. Ask him if he enjoyed himself, ask him if he’ll phone you tomorrow, ask him to walk you to the bus stop.
Don’t walk away from the date confused about where you stand. It isn’t necessary to leave everything up to him. You can call the shots. Honesty is best.
Don’t Worry About the Rules
If you want to kiss him on the first date, then do it. If you want to sleep with him, then do it. There are no rules, except the ones you make yourself.
Be honest about your expectations in advance so no one gets hurt — either this is a one time thing and you don’t see it going anywhere, or you want to see where the relationship goes. Once sex arrives things can get complicated so go in with your eyes wide open.
You will rarely find Mr Right on your first date, if you find him at all so enjoy the ride. Have lots of first dates, and even have a few second dates, it’s all part of the fun. Remember there are all types of different intimate relationships so you’re not just limited to the boyfriend-fiance-husband route.
Explore who you are in a relationship where YOU get to choose. The possibilities are endless…
What First Date advice would you add?
Read the first part of the series starting here – How To Write an Online Dating Profile.
6 thoughts on “Online Dating • the First Date”
I LOVE that you put “don’t audition him as a potential boyfriend.” I am married but I think that’s the best dating advice ever, and I wish someone would have given me that little nugget way back when.
This is so spot on in every single way. Your safety advice is FANTASTIC and should be taught to people of all genders when they first begin to experience sexual attraction.
Well done on another excellent post, Katie – you have definitely found your niche in this area!
Great advice! I learned one more tip here…learn where you stand. I can be a little shy about that. Also difficult to say when I’m not interested. In the meantime, I’m having fun just learning about all types of men out there, even though I haven’t found many I want more than a first date.
great advice! I met my husband through online dating and feel like this was how I approached it.
Take a picture of the license plate of your date’s car and send it to someone you trust. Tell your date, if you should go missing, someone will find you:) Yes…I watch too much Criminal Minds.
I not only tell someone where I’m going, I give them every piece of information I have: where he said he lives/works, phone number, description of his car, and tag number. How do I get the tag number? Easy. I don’t get in the car with strangers, but I’ll follow.
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