The online dating world is a veritable minefield, where any number of wrong steps can lead to total disaster. It’s fun and exciting to make matches on OK Cupid, Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and whatever the fuck else we’re using to shop for romantic connections these days. But once that match has been made, there’s still a little legwork to be done before you go out and meet that other person. It’s no secret that setting up that first meeting can be treacherous for a variety of reasons, especially for those of the female persuasion. You want to present well, you want to be personable, you want to avoid getting murdered — that sort of thing. So with that in mind, here are a few “don’ts” to make sure you’re putting into practice to ensure your meeting is one you both enjoy and come home from.
1. DON’T get your hopes up.
Our presence on social media is usually edited to make sure we put our best foot forward. A lot of people stretch the truth or even tell flat-out lies. You know this. You might even do this. The pics he puts up are the best he’s got, so don’t be surprised if his hairline is higher or his waistline is wider when you actually meet him. Too good to be true ALWAYS applies.
2. DON’T expect the worst.
Caution is one thing, cynicism is another. Guys and gals the world over have been burned by online dating (sometimes literally), but if you’re not really open to the fact that you can find Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, go back to trying to meet guys in bookstores or at newsstands. If you can find one of those places.
3. DON’T over-text.
Guys are probably guiltier of this than girls, because we still live in a world where the men are supposed to do the actual asking-out (if you want this to change, ladies, guys WILL be receptive to it). But after a little banter, stop with the texting until after you’ve met. You’re not looking for a pen pal.
4. DON’T make any plans for the future.
Profile viewing and texting can create a false sense of intimacy between you. But the truth is, you won’t know if there’s any real chemistry until you’ve actually met. So much can change when a person is physically in front of you, and you might realize this is not a guy you want to spend much time with, even though you had such a great connection when you were just text-buddies.
5. DON’T invite him to your other social media groups.
Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, whatever the fuck else. It may be tempting to add this guy to your ever-growing list of followers and not-really-friends, but you really need to keep your online dating life separate. This is just about keeping yourself safe, and we’ll expand on that below.
6. DON’T give him your last name.
Just don’t give him too many details at all. Open up all you want about your hopes, dreams, passions, interests, etc., but this is just being smart.
7. DON’T give him your address.
For Christ’s sake, you don’t know this guy. What if he’s a serial killer, stalker, or even just a pain-in-the-ass? You don’t want him to know where you live.
8. DON’T do any sexting.
A little light flirting is fine — encouraged, in fact. But if you get too dirty before you’ve met in person, you’re going to give him a set of expectations that you might not be willing to fulfill. Sure, you may think it’s all good-natured fun, but he thinks he’s about to get laid.
9. DON’T send him a nude pic.
This should be obvious, but some women just love sending nude pics to guys they don’t know (And yes, clearly there are guys who are quick with dick pics — they should be immediately unmatched).
10. DON’T meet him without telling anyone where you’re going.
On the off chance that you’re drugged and thrown into the back of a van, you want your roommate or BFF to be able to tell the cops where you went.
11. DON’T get drunk first.
A little liquid courage might make you more relaxed, but you don’t want to be TOO relaxed. Lest you end up in the back of that van mentioned in the last point.
12. DON’T lie about yourself.
Circling back to less nefarious scenarios, for crying out loud, be honest about who you are. If you don’t play piano, don’t say you do. If you’ve never been to Venice, who gives a fuck? If you’ve been married and/or have a kid, say so. You might be starting a relationship here, don’t kick it off with a bunch of bullshit.