If you are recently single and ready to start dating again, you are probably a little nervous. After all, the last time you dated may have been many years, even decades, ago. With the high usage of online dating sites and apps today, it is hard to deny that the dating scene has changed a lot. But the truth is people haven’t. So, once you find yourself face to face with a real live person, dating becomes much like riding a bike – you never actually forget. However, just as with any activity you haven’t done in a while, you may feel out of practice. Here are a few tips to get you up to speed again.
1. Speak to your date beforehand. If you are going on a date with someone you met online, it is important that you interact with that person via text and then a phone call before meeting. Anyone can pretend to be someone they are not while hiding behind a phone or computer screen, so it is critical to vet them first with a quick call. At a minimum, you can save yourself the time you would have spent meeting someone in whom you have no interest. On a more serious note, your safety is of paramount importance. The first step toward protecting yourself is gaining information about your date before seeing them in person, which brings me to this.
2. Meet in public. Always, and I repeat, always meet your date in a public place. Though privacy is limited these days as a result of information made readily available to the general population with only a few mouse clicks, be careful who you give your phone number to. Similarly, never give your home address to people you do not know. Looks can be deceiving.
3. Wear comfortable clothes. That means wear clothing that you not only feel comfortable in mentally but also physically. Your clothes should reflect your personality, and you should feel good in them. Your outfit should also not reveal too much skin to avoid sending a message you may not want to send. Keep in mind your venue and dress appropriately for it and whether or not you will have to walk long distances. The goal is to focus on your date, and one of the best ways to do that is not to feel self-conscious or distracted by pants that are too tight, a blouse that may be pulling, and uncomfortable footwear.
4. Keep the conversation light. Many so-called experts advise staying off topics such as religion and politics. And, for the most part, I agree. However, sometimes you can bond more during in-depth discussions, so I am hesitant to draw a line in the sand and say never to have them. I think the trick is to feel out how a conversation is going and whether or not to change the subject. The same holds true about the topic of your and your date’s divorces. It is okay to talk about divorce, as long as it doesn’t steal the show. If the conversation becomes consumed by divorce stories, gently redirect it elsewhere.
5. Be polite. It should go without saying, yet I find it still needs to be said. Treat your date with the same respect you expect to receive. That means being a good listener, being respectful of his or her views, and saying thank you, particularly if that person has treated you to a nice time because, bottom line, that is what the goal should be – to have a nice time. Expecting anything more or less on a first date means setting yourself up for heartbreak and haven’t we all had enough of that?