Online Dating Rules: Meet up as soon as you feel comfortable

As promised, here are some tips to make sure you’re doing enough, but not too much during your first phone call or meeting with them (or the first few times). There is no need for fancy catchphrases. You can talk about anything that feels natural and let the conversation flow organically.

DO:

  • Make plans sooner rather than later after having a great first date.
  • Keep it causal by meeting in public places like cafes or restaurants so you don’t get trapped into spending hours stuck at someone’s house if there’s no sparks on the second date.
  • Stay within your means so you don’t spend money you shouldn’t be wasting on someone who doesn’t deserve it, especially if you’re too broke to do fun things.
  • Ask them out on another date before you part ways at the end of the night.

DON’T:

  • Keep him or her waiting for more than five minutes or so. You don’t want to seem like a diva, but it’s also disrespectful of their time if they had somewhere else to be afterwards.
  • Be afraid to tell them when your favorite movie is, what kind of music you like, what you want to eat next time, etc. Get personal and get comfortable with each other! If all goes well, that means you’ll only ramp up the physical intimacy later on in the relationship instead of stuck in an endless loop of texting.
  • Show up with so many friends that you barely get to see each other or spend time getting to know each other in person.
  • Go to their house or a secluded park if you don’t feel ready for that. If you’re not comfortable with it, it could be problematic later on because boundaries get crossed and bad things can happen.

DO:

  • Start conversations by asking naturally occurring questions that pop into your head while talking about yourself or listening to what they have to say. You could talk about shared interests, favorite movies, hobbies, food preferences, where they grew up, etc.
  • Wait at least a few days before sending playful jokes in the same way you would text your best friend so it doesn’t seem like you’re trying too hard and overdoing it early on when everything is new and exciting. Of course, there’s no problem with flirting from the get-go, but make sure it’s in a low-key way that makes you both smile and feel comfortable.
  • Bring along a friend if they’re really nervous about going out in public or to meet new people for the first time because an encouraging word can go a long way. It shows generosity and good character even though your date may not see it yet.
  • Keep them guessing by jokily telling them they’ll never get to know who you are after such short conversations so be careful what you wish for! But answer their questions honestly instead of trying to blow smoke up their behinds so they don’t lose interest quickly.

DON’T:

  • Neglect your friends or family to answer every text they send you during the day. If they’re a good match, they’ll understand that family is important and won’t mind waiting a few hours for a response after work or 9 pm at night.
  • Be afraid of getting up close and personal by hugging them hello or goodbye, grabbing their arm lightly as you talk, touching their hand when you tell a funny story, etc. It’s better to be physically affectionate from the beginning if things seem to click rather than wasting time on someone who doesn’t make you feel attraction!
  • Keep them hanging on by not letting them know where you stand. For example, don’t agree to meet up with someone one week and then ignore all further texts, emails, etc.
  • Give someone too many chances who doesn’t deserve them by continuing to talk when they don’t show the same enthusiasm or reciprocate your advances on dates or in conversations. You can’t force chemistry so you have to let go of people who don’t seem interested.

DO:

  • Smile! A genuine smile from across a room can say a lot and make someone feel welcome even before you’ve spoken. In person, it’s obvious if you’re miserable or not enjoying their company so be positive whenever you meet up with someone new!
  • Keep conversation flowing by asking questions that open up dialogue instead of sticking to just one topic. For example, learn something about what they do for a living or what sports they enjoy, but also ask about their family, hometown, childhood memories, dreams for the future, etc. – Be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone else just because you’re nervous about being liked or getting rejected. If your date doesn’t like you for who you are, it’s better to find out sooner than later so you can spare yourself time on them!
  • Keep past relationships in the past by not bringing them up unless your date asks first if it’s ok with them so it doesn’t come out of left field and seem like an attack. You could mention that you’ve only been single for a few weeks or months but that how things came to an end wasn’t good because there was no connection.
  • Be honest and specific about what you’re looking for to save time on meeting up with people who don’t match your standards rather than wasting hours, days, weeks, etc. talking if it’s not going anywhere.
  • Keep conversations simple and easygoing by asking open-ended questions that keep the dialogue flowing naturally such as where they like to go on dates, what music they like, etc.

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