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Online Dating First Date Guidelines

Online Dating First Date Guidelines

young couple holding hands and same couple holding hands as adults

Hi, it’s Marlee… I’m taking a little break from writing about my experiences online dating to bring you realistic guidelines for online dating first dates. I wrote this for both men and women, so if you’re a guy… this gives you a head’s up about what she’s thinking.

The first date is often the most nervous part of the online dating world. You’ve gotten to know each other, you’re confident this person is who he says he is, and you’ve both agreed that now is the time to meet.

Well, good for you! Before you get too caught up in the whimsical idea of the first date going perfectly, and him turning out to be exactly as you have been imagining him, there are a few things you need to know, not only for your safety, but for your sanity.

Limit your time. This is a classic safe date technique. First of all, it makes it clear that you’re NOT expecting to go home with him, because there is nothing worse than some would be Casanova who assumes the date is going to last until morning. And, it gives you an easy out should things not be going how you hoped they would.

Be ready to back it up though. Saying something as simple as, “I’m meeting up with a friend later” or something along those lines is vague enough to make sure you’re off the hook if he turns out to be a putz, but you can choose to blow it off if the date is going well.

online dating first date tips

Go somewhere good for talking. While a concert or a movie might seem like a great idea for a night out, it’s not going to give you the best opportunity to get to know each other, which is what a first date is really all about.

Plan for something where the noise level is reasonable, and you aren’t committed to anything (like staying till the end of the movie). Bookstores, coffee houses or restaurants are all great ideas. However, this brings me to my next point:

Offer to split the bill. If you go out to dinner, offer to pick up half. Even in a world as progressive as the one we’re living in now, many men think you owe them something if they buy you something, so don’t let that thought ever enter his head. Are you a man who insists on paying for dinner?

Good for you, but understand that under no circumstances are you owed anything because of it.

Drive yourself to the location. In theory, picking someone up for the first date may seem romantic, but in reality, it’s just not safe. Regardless of whether or not you think you know this person, make sure you drive yourself to wherever you are meeting for the first date. You never know, you may find yourself extremely grateful that this crazy person doesn’t know where you live.


Let others know where you are. You may feel like what you do with your personal time is your own private business, which it is, but you also need to face the facts: you are going to a place to meet a specific person that you have never met before face to face

I don’t need to list off recent episodes of CSI for you to get the point here. Just let a few friends know where you’ll be and who you’ll be with. As soon as you get to know each other a little better you can stop broadcasting your dating itinerary, but until then, better safe than sorry.

Dress appropriately. The first date is not the time to wow him with your cleavage, nor is it the best time to wow her with your income level. The example in the picture here? Not appropriate. Dress comfortably, appropriate to the situation (a meeting at your local bookstore doesn’t require a tuxedo or evening gown), and adequately covered up.

Don’t worry, if things go well your date will have plenty of time to get to see what’s under your outfit. Better yet, dress in a way that makes you feel confident, because confidence, my friend, looks good on everyone.

Keep it just you two. It’s too early to be meeting up with friends or double dating. There’s way too much pressure. For the first date, keep things light and focus on each other. After a few more dates you can consider introducing your new love interest to your group of buddies.

Mind your manners! This isn’t the time to show her your beer bonging skills, or show him how you can belch the alphabet. Of course everyone wants to feel comfortable, but there is a time and place for everything and this is neither the time nor the place to let everything go. You want to get to know each other on the first date, not scare each other away.

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