Online dating is a great way to meet like-minded singles, test the dating waters, and hopefully form a meaningful relationship out of the experience. Connecting with someone online is the easy part – online dating sites often help in matching those with similar interests and values, making it easy to choose from a pool of worthy candidates. The real challenge is transferring that online connection into a real one by taking the step and going on a first date. Meeting someone that you've been conversing with online in person can be a nerve-wracking experience, so here are a few tips on how to navigate that first date.
1. Don't over analyze Try to avoid overdoing it on the research prior to the first meeting. While it's fine to read through the person's profile to look for similar interests and ideas for conversation, don't turn into full stalker mode and attempt to scour every social media outlet they have. Avoid the judgements and unnecessary prior knowledge, and just let the date unravel itself in a natural way as you get to know each other.
2. Avoid certain conversation topics Make sure you check yourself before bringing up certain things in casual conversation. Topics such as bashing your ex or complaining about your financial struggles can be awkward and too intense for a light-hearted first date. Keep the conversations fun and flirty, and focus on getting to know them before engaging in more serious topics of discussion.
3. Don't be afraid to eat what you want The food you choose on a date can be an important indicator of your character. Don't assume that just because you're on a date with a stranger that you have to act a certain way or pretend to like a certain food. Choose a food that's delicious, not too messy, and simple and veer away from anything that's too on the pricy side. Even order that burger if you're feeling it, it will show that you have a fun and adventurous side more than if you order a plain salad.
4. Offer to pay If you're a woman, it's always a nice gesture to offer to split the check. It shows you're genuinely interested in the other person rather than expecting to be paid for and tended to. Additionally, if a guy reaches for the bill and insists on paying, it's safe to assume that it's okay to let him pick up the tab.
5. Open-Mindedness is key Probably the most important tip is to remember to keep an open mind. Don't rely on expectations and assumptions. Ride out the date with an open mind even if you're initially uncertain, as it can turn out to be a great date that you didn't expect. Your dates may not always take you out to fancy restaurants, so stay open to new ideas and adventures and see where the night takes you.