With all of the dating websites and apps out there, it is easier than ever to meet other singles. And you can do it all from the comfort of your couch and flannel pajamas. But all these options are causing people to develop dating fatigue. Going on bad date, after bad date, after bad date can leave you feeling jaded and hopeless about ever finding your perfect partner. You can get caught up in an endless cycle:
You see someone’s profile and you think they have a lot of potential → You message them and set up a date → You get excited → You go on the date only to discover that the person is nothing like what you imagined from their profile → You politely endure the date while silently cursing yourself for missing out on an opportunity for a Netflix binge → You get back in your flannel pajamas and start browsing through profiles again → You repeat step one.
Here’s some dating tips to get you out of that cycle and help you have a successful first date with that person you just met online:
- Consider which dating site/app you met on: What site you met the person on will set the tone for your first date. Did you meet on a site that is geared toward people who want long-term relationships (relationship site) or did you meet on a site that is geared toward people who are looking for hook-ups (hook-up site)? You can tell which type of site/app it is by what you were required to do to start a profile. If it was quick and easy to start a profile (you didn’t have to pay any money or you only had to answer a few questions), then you’re probably on a site for people looking for quick and easy interactions. Take Tinder for instance. All you have to do is upload a picture and fill out basic demographic information (gender, age, email address), and you can start swiping. But it will be more difficult to create a profile on a relationship site. Take eHarmony for instance. There are hundreds of questions you are asked before starting an account, and you have to pay money to maintain an active profile. People who put that much time and energy into a profile are typically looking for a serious relationship. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, then you want to focus your energy on people who have profiles on a relationship site. This will ensure that you don’t waste time going on dates with people who are just looking for hook-ups. Are you looking for a hook-up? No judgment. Things will be a lot easier for you if you search for matches on hook-up sites.
- Get to know the person before the date: When a first date with an online match does not go well, it is usually because there is a difference between what the person seemed like online and what the person is actually like in-person. Sometimes this happens because the person’s profile was not completely honest. But even if the profile is accurate, we have a tendency to fall into the idealization trap. This is when you have an initial attraction to someone’s profile, and then you convince yourself that the two of you would make a great match. Since there’s limited information on that person’s profile, you start filling in the blanks, and you eventually end up with an idealized version of that person in your head. Then you actually have an in-person meeting, and you become disappointed when you find out all the ways that the real person is different from the person in your imagination. The best way to avoid the idealization trap is by taking the time to get to know the person before your first date. Research shows that the more communication there is before the first date, the more likely it is to be a success (Sharabi & Caughlin, 2017). Communication helps you get to know the other person, so that you have realistic expectations of what that person will be like. Also, the more two people know each other, the more likely they are to have chemistry. And of course, you have a better chance of weeding out people you aren’t compatible with before going on dates.
- Set up a short date: Do an activity that can be kept brief, like getting coffee or ice cream. Then you can keep the date short if you’re not really feeling the person. Avoid long activities that can make you feel trapped, like movies, plays, concerts, or dinner at fancy restaurants. This step can save you a lot of time, energy, and money. And if you actually end up enjoying your date, you can always extend it by going to a second location.
- Review your date’s profile: Let’s be honest, you’re viewing at least 5 profiles a day and chatting with multiple different matches at a time. By the time you reach that first in-person meeting, it can be hard to remember what you liked so much about your date to begin with. Before you go on your date, refresh your memory by reviewing his/her profile. Take note of your date’s interests and the things you have in common, and it will be easier to keep the conversation going and build chemistry.
- Keep an open mind: Many people are so focused on finding potential flaws during a first date that they aren’t able to truly get to know the other person. You are both going to be nervous, so your date might not make a great first impression, and you might not feel instant chemistry. Like I mentioned in step 2, chemistry builds as you get to know someone, so don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.