The New Blind Date: 7 Tips For Preparing For Your First Online Meetup

Before meeting my boo on Plenty of Fish, I went on countless online dates. Many of those first dates were also the last. I never saw or heard from most of those men again, and I was so relieved! That’s just how online dating works — it’s a numbers game. We meet men with a swipe and go on dates with total strangers. If you think about it, online dating is the new ‘blind date.’ 

This can make online dating a bit daunting. How do you protect yourself from the crazies? How do you not waste your precious time? Here are ways to prep for your first online date: 

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1. Online Dating: 1

Be open, but cautious.

Let’s keep it real: you've never met this guy before! Sure, his profile says he’s an athlete and an avid church goer. He’s even charitable — dique! But people lie all of the time to get what they want. So, on your first online date be cautiously optimistic, and have your bestie on speed dial. 

2. Online Dating: 2

Share your location.

You should always take necessary measures to ensure your safety when on a date — especially while meeting a man for the first time. Tell friends where you are, tag your location on Facebook, and meet your blind date at said location. (It might be chivalrous of him to pick you up, but then he knows where you live!) If you take these steps, you can have fun and flirt, but are also safe if things go south.

3. Online Dating: 3

Be realistic.

Instead of fantasizing about your boda or having your guard all the way up, be realistic. See this date as an opportunity to get to know someone new, even if it doesn't result in a relationship. You might even learn a little more about your deal breakers and pinpoint what you desire in a partner and a relationship. 

4. Online Dating: 4

Go to a coffee shop.

Your local coffee shop might sound like a snore, but it’s safe and close to home. Coffee shops are always busy and well lit, which is important for safety purposes. If you want to meet somewhere sexier, try a wine bar. Just make sure you don't drink too much. 

5. Online Dating: 5

A short first date in daylight.

Your first online date should run about one to two hours and take place no later than mid-afternoon. You should also avoid dinner as it will take up your entire evening. Plus, if you hate the guy, you can’t escape with a mouthful of tacos in your mouth. (How rude!) But, what if you hit it off? Head from a coffee shop or wine bar to a new spot.

6. Online Dating: 6

Avoid Saturday night dates.

You have chemistry over the phone, so you agree to meet up for dinner and drinks on a Saturday night. When you meet them in person, you feel nada. It happens all the time! It happened to me, and I learned my lesson — no Saturday night dates! You don’t want to waste your weekend with someone you don't see a future with. 

7. Online Dating: 7

Don’t bolt.

You see them, and you immediately want to run out the door. Don’t! It's rude, and your date is still a person. Stick it out for about 45 minutes (that way he feels you gave it a chance). Then, be honest: you don't feel the chemistry you hoped for. Once you give him the 411, get out of there and move on to the next person. There’s no need to waste anyone’s time.