Love at First Site
Taking Online Dating Offline
When you do meet, make it memorable. Instead of dinner and a movie, try planning a unique date that will keep everyone’s energy up.
As you plan your date, think about the things you have in common and brainstorm some activities that will appeal to both of you while allowing you to get to know one another. If you’re both into volunteering, an afternoon cleaning up the park followed by coffee or a quick bite might be just the thing. Meeting up at a bookstore works well and provides great fodder for discussion. As a general rule, first meetings should be easy, relaxed and fun.
Before your date, refresh your memory on the person’s interests and ask questions that probe a bit deeper into their lifestyle. Take the time to listen to what they have to say. Not only will they appreciate being heard, you’ll be able to discern whether they are having a good time and whether you’ll want to set up a second date.
The biggest caveat to meeting in person is safety. While most people are perfectly harmless, the internet offers a certain degree of anonymity and you can never really be sure whom you’re meeting, especially on a first date. Moore recommends meeting in a public place and providing your own transportation. It’s also a good idea to let a few close friends or a family member know where you are going. Ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to probe if something seems off. In all instances, trust your instincts and never reveal any personal information (such as where you work or live) until you’ve been out with someone enough times to feel comfortable, and until they are willing to share with you.
Keep it in Check
When you first start the online dating process, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement, and hard to wait for the right one to come along. “Patience is really about perspective,” says Grant Langston, senior content director for eHarmony.com. “While some users join eHarmony hoping for a faster process, one only needs to look at our successful couples to gain a real belief in our system.” Langston says that the site encourages people to go at their own pace, and that users need only to be persistent in letting the process work for them.
It’s still easy to get discouraged in the beginning. New Jersey’s Chris Minne*, 30, registered for eHarmony.com only to be told that he didn’t have any matches. “It’s a slow moving process, but it’s easier because you don’t have to think about what to say,” says Chris. The site provides pre-written questions that matches can send to one another before writing their own emails.