As any long-time dating website user might tell you, you might get plenty of opportunities to chat online, but converting those into offline dates isn’t always so easy. Not everyone is ready to meet up offline, which is a considerably larger step than instant messaging. So, how can you make that leap from online to offline dates?
Here are some of our dos and don’ts when it comes to meeting up in the flesh…
1: Suggest fun dating ideas
Online daters might have been on a lot of dates already. This isn’t to say that a meal out or a trip to the movies is a bad idea necessarily, but that something more unique might appeal to them more. After all, going for your tenth burger and shake probably won’t seem like an exciting or memorable proposition. It’s a good idea to read their profile and chat to them about their hobbies, then pick an activity which will appeal to them. Do they like board gaming? Why not go to a gaming café. Do they like wine? You could go wine tasting. It’s a good idea to choose a date which allows you to talk, rather than sitting in awkward silence, and having a focal point (such as a game or tasting wine) provides that stimulus.
2: Get to know each other first
Going on a date when you have little to say is awkward and uncomfortable. You may even realise part-way through a date that you’re not actually that interested in one-another. As such, it’s a good idea to get to know a date before you meet in person. Then, when you finally sit down at a table together, you’ll have something to talk about. You’ll also better understand your boundaries, sense of humour, lifestyle and more. It’s all about setting up a few decent foundations, weeding out people you might not wish to meet, and then going on dates to work out whether there’s any life in the relationship.
3: Choose neutral grounds
If you get to the stage where you’ve both decided to meet up, it’s courteous (and not to mention, safer) to suggest meeting somewhere where you both feel safe and secure. Although you have hopefully spoken a lot online, meeting in person can feel intimidating for some people, so making sure you’re both at ease is important. Working out a space which is good for both of you might also be a good talking point, as well as showing you’re taking their feelings and safety into account.
1: Immediately suggest a meet-up
Whilst some people might be up for meeting immediately, we generally think it’s not a great idea. Firstly, you don’t really know them and might have to sit through a date with someone you don’t like. Secondly, if you don’t know someone very well then you could be putting yourself at risk. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly when it comes to going on an offline date, suggesting an immediate meet-up can seem too eager, possibly even a bit desperate. What’s the harm in getting to know someone first? You’ll probably save a lot of time and money in the long-run, by avoiding dates which you probably ought never have gone on.
2: Insist on an activity or location
Not only is this a bit rude, it’s also pushy and may put people off dating you. Imagine an activity you dislike. Now imagine you have to go there and talk to someone, be charming and engaging. It’s not an ideal situation, is it? You’d be much better off picking something that you both enjoy, you’ll almost certainly have something in common with a potential-date, even if it’s not apparent at first.
3: Take risks with your safety
Going on a date is fun, but at times there are risks involved. You may not know your date well, or know people who can vouch for them. Dates can become awkward or even isolated, and may involve having a few cocktails. Know your limits, let a friend know where you intend to be, have a get-out back-up plan if needs be. Most sites offer advice on how to stay safe online and offline, and a lot of their advice is worth reading and heeding. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go on a ramble or go rock climbing with a date, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks before agreeing to meet up.
Deciding to meet up in the flesh is a big move. Make sure you’re both happy with the arrangement, talk it through and build up some excitement for the big meet! If you’re both happy and comfortable, the date’s going to be much smoother and enjoyable for everyone.