Dating rules have changed a lot. Going out with people you meet on apps is not just normal, it’s the standard. But because you didn’t meet the old-fashioned way, there are a couple things to keep in mind when you’re going on your first date. These eight first date rules will make sure you have a fun, safe time.
1. Safety first.
No matter how great your date seems, you don’t actually know them yet. Plan a date in a public place and check in with a friend before and after. It might sound excessive, but don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re meeting a complete stranger.
2. Read their profile.
When you meet up with an online match IRL, the last thing you want to ask is, “So, what do you do for work?” The answer is probably right there on their profile—remembering specifics about your date will earn you points. All of the information in their profile can serve as icebreakers and conversation starters. Ask to hear more about their job, where they went to college, or that picture they posted of themselves skiing. Thanks to their profile, you’ll never run out of things to talk about and you won’t have any awkward silences to fill.
3. Keep things casual.
Your first date with someone you meet online doesn’t have to be over the top or super romantic. All you need is a setting where you can get to know each other better and see if there’s chemistry. Keep it low-key: drinks or a long walk are perfect.
4. Don’t set sky-high expectations.
You can get excited about your date, but it’s best not to set too high of expectations. You don’t know this person yet. There’s no telling how it will go. That’s not to say you should assume the worst so you won’t be disappointed, because that’s no fun, either. Find a balance between an optimistic “it would be great if this worked out” and a realistic “there are plenty of fish in the sea.”
5. Have an open mind.
It’s easy to overanalyze online dating profiles and dismiss people before you even meet them IRL. But the only way to really know if you’re compatible with someone is to get together in person and see how it goes. Don’t convince yourself of how the date will go before you even have it; keep an open mind, meet them, and go from there. You never know.
6. Be yourself.
Out of all the online dating profiles they saw and out of all the people they could go on a date with, they chose to spend their time with you. Your date liked what they saw in your profile, so there’s no reason to be who you think they want you to be.
7. There is no online dating stigma anymore.
These days, meeting people on dating apps is one of the most common ways to make connections and find love. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about going out with someone you met online, so push that idea from your mind and don’t give it a second thought.
8. Have fun!
Remember: Online dating is supposed to be fun. You might not find The One every single time, but you can still enjoy getting to know someone and spending a fun night out over drinks, dinner, or a movie. If you’re not having fun and it feels too much like work, maybe it’s time to take a few weeks or months off from using the apps. They’ll be there for you when you’re ready to come back.
Putting yourself out there is scary, but these tips will ease you into a first online date. Keep things light, casual, and fun, and who knows? Maybe things will blossom into a long, happy relationship.