Using the benefit of my own humble experience and that of expert Internet daters, here are few tips for navigating your way through those potentially tricky first dates.
1. Suggest a date early into Internet Chat
Don’t waste loads of time emailing/chatting to someone online before suggesting going on a date as you won’t really know if you’re compatible until you meet them in person. You’re on an Internet dating site to meet people after all, not to chat on a computer. If you’ve received three messages back from them of more than one sentence, then you’re definitely in the zone to suggest meeting up.
2. The 1st Date – Keep it Quick and Simple
The best thing you can do is suggest meeting for a quick drink/coffee after work. This is good for two reasons: first, it is an easy thing to say yes to and second, it does not commit you to a whole evening with them. They may seem lovely in photos and on email, but when you meet them you will decide fairly quickly if you actually fancy them or not. If it’s the latter you don’t want to be stuck with them any longer than you have to. Suggesting the cinema or theatre are potentially bad ideas unless you meet up with them a good amount of time before the show starts.
3. The Initial Meeting
Make sure you are on time (chaps – it’s best to be a little early) as no one likes to be kept waiting. When going up to them for the first time, despite any nerves you may have, go for a confident and welcoming hello with a big smile. Guys, I would always suggest going for a kiss on the cheek as a hand shake would seem a little distant and reserved.
4. First Date Crunch Point #1 – 3rd Drink
During a first Internet date there are a number ‘Crunch Points’ where the date could go in very different directions. Crunch Point #1 is after the second drink. If you’ve wisely suggested a drink after work then etiquette will mean one of you buys the first round and the other buys the next. The Crunch Point is whether you go for round number 3? If one or both of you are not keen on the other, then this is a perfect opportunity to make a polite exit. An acceptance of a third drink means the date will continue for at least a little while longer.
5. First Date Crunch Point #2 – Food
The next Crunch Point is the suggestion of going for some food after your initial drinks. Commitment to this means the date will continue for quite some time more, but is also an opportunity for an escape. If you go for food, don’t go somewhere too formal, you want to create a scenario where the two of you can sit closely together to give a chance for flirting and touching (e.g. playing footsie).
6. First Date Crunch Point #3 – Kiss Goodnight
If you haven’t already kissed during the date, then a kiss goodnight is something you’ll both be considering. Guys, if she is eager to get away to her taxi/transport then she probably doesn’t want to do it, but if she lingers at the point of goodbye then she is probably open it.