According to the recent surveys, 27% of adults are using online dating as their main source of romantic socializing. Which means there are a lot of people out there who might be going on an awkward first date. Without the setting of a bar or a networking event to set the tone between you, a first date after an online encounter can feel a bit like jumping into the deep end without any lead up. Here are a few tips to help you get through that first date after it goes down in the DMs.
Do Be On Time
It’s more than just common courtesy to arrive on time, if not a few minutes early. It’s also a really quick way to set the right tone. Someone took time out of their day to get ready and spend time with you – the very least you can do is let them know the meeting was equally important to you. Arriving late? Send a warning text and offer to buy the first drink as an apology. Even if you were planning on paying (hey, fellas) let them know you aren’t ok with lateness either.
Don’t Be a Picky Eater
This one is mainly for the ladies, since we tend to downshift our appetites during first dates. If you have food preferences that pertain to your health or comfort, make suggestions for dining spots before the date is set. But picking at a meal that you ordered send the message that you’re hard to please and can’t make the best of things. Roll with it and focus on the main course – the person in front of you.
Do Use Your Manners
Remember to say “please” and “thank you”. Not just to your date, but to the wait staff, the uber driver, the people you interact with. If this isn’t already a part of your personality, you may notice people retract a bit from you in social scenarios. Being polite and inviting to those around you sets people at ease.
Don’t Grab The Check
These days, in the age of the independent self-made boss (be you a man or woman), picking up the check may or may not be a sensitive topic for people. Decide before the date if you’re going dutch, or splitting the bill so you can avoid the awkward check grab at the end of the night. If he wants to pay, let him. If she offers to go dutch, let her. Battle it out later, when the relationship is established.
Do Ask Questions
The dating period is also the discovery period. This is when every silly, random and obvious questions can be asked under the guise of newness. Where are you from, what do your parents do, why did your last relationship end (a really sneaky way to find out what they’re looking for in a man or woman). Now is your chance to be a little invasive. Steer clear of questions that might trigger an argument (politics are a third date conversation) and pick up on queues that they don’t want to answer something. Keep it light and use your best listening skills.
Don’t Check Your Phone
Picking up your phone for emails, tweets and texts is fastest way to inspire someone to lock you into the friend zone. If the date is boring and not going as you imagined, you can still be kind enough to finish it without being rude or overly passive. If the date is going well, then whatever is happening on the interwebs can wait until after. Consider date nights a chance to unplug a little. Keep the phone on vibrate and put it away.