Everyone knows those first date jitters. You brainstorm conversation topics, try on your black jumpsuit five times, and consult your friends about the perfect cocktail spot. After all, going out with someone for the first time can feel like a high-pressure situation. This is especially true when you’ve never met your date before.
Online dating has revolutionized modern romance. While you once had to rely on group outings and awkward setups, you can now browse prospective partners from the comfort of your couch. While amazingly convenient, this digital dating experience comes with its own set of challenges.
The following guide will break down some basic tips to navigate the online dating scene safely and successfully.
Know what you are looking for
Whether you have been single for a while or are ready to date after a breakup, it’s important to be honest about what you are looking for. Take time to reflect on whether you are looking for a serious relationship or seeking something more casual. By establishing this mindset from the start, you can align yourself before each date and find potential partners who are looking for the same thing you are. If you aren’t quite sure what you are looking for, take your time and date casually until you figure it out.
Try out different platforms
The idea of juggling multiple dating apps might seem overwhelming, but it might be necessary at the beginning. Each app takes a different approach to matchmaking, so you can try out several to figure out which style you prefer. You might also consult with your friends about which apps they have had the most luck with. Best of all, if you find a certain app or website isn’t yielding results, you can always delete your account and start fresh on another platform.
While most people on dating apps have pure intentions, you might be worried about those who don’t. Of course, safety is always a top concern when meeting people you don’t know. Don’t hesitate to do some prior research on your date before you head out for the night. A quick search on social media and free public records can reassure you that they are a real person and don’t have a criminal record. You’ll also learn whether your date has an arrest record, an alias, or even if they’re registered as a sex offender. You can also prioritize safety by meeting in a public place and always telling someone where you are.
Go on several first dates
It’s certainly exciting when a first date goes well, but this doesn’t mean you should put a halt to dating overall. Take your time and don’t hesitate to go on other first dates. By dating around a bit, you can learn what you prefer in a partner and what you don’t really like. However, if you feel that you are ready to focus on just one person, you should certainly do so. Deleting your dating apps can eliminate distractions, so you can develop a relationship when the time comes.
Remember that this is your dating experience, so you can set boundaries wherever you see fit. For example, you might only be comfortable scheduling dates during the day and meeting at certain spots. Since online dating already puts you out of your comfort zone, these boundaries can help you feel a little more at ease. When partners respect your boundaries, they show that they are worth your time — and worth a potential second date.
Dating is all about having fun, so be sure to stay lighthearted during the process. You will explore new places, try yummy cocktails, and get to know all sorts of interesting people. When you meet someone who checks off all of your boxes, the journey will be well worth it.