Fun fact: The Husband and I met exactly three years ago this week. Well, we ‘met’ sometime in August (online!) but we had our first date over Labor Day weekend of 2010. If you had told me then that I’d be MARRIED to this man years later, I would have thought you were absolutely nuts, but life is funny like that, right?!
Some of you may know this from firsthand experience, but online dating is difficult.
Like, way more difficult than it should ever be.
First you have to sift through (what seems like) thousands of creeps to find a decent looking person who also seems normal, and then you have to message them and hope they respond (and it seems like most of them never do) and then you have to setup a date and go on a date and then you have to deal with all the ‘normal’ dating drama that comes after that.
It exhausts me to just think about the entire process.
Between the two of us, the Husband and I have been on way too many first dates.
Well, we have a lot of friends doing the ‘online dating thing’ and the Husband has very strong opinions about certain ‘rules’ that should be followed when online dating, so I asked him to share them with you guys! (This post was written by him except for my little notes that I just had to add in for some clarification).
Do not email her/him more than 3 times (before the initial date)
When you first start talking to someone online you get really excited about the person and you want to learn about them and tell them about yourself and really start connecting – which is great! But, email is not the best way to do this. What I found starts to happen is you start to read the persons responses and create a “voice” for this person in your head and when you actually talk to this person you may be very thrown off by their actual voice. Instead, shoot off a few emails and and then find a time to have a phone conversation.
Which brings me to my next rule…
Have a phone conversation
There is nothing worse than really connecting with a person though email, setting up a date, and then meeting the person and finding out they communicate in a completely different way than you were expecting. This happened to me once and I ended up having a ‘lovely’ dinner with a cheerleader/valley girl (which is not at all what I was expecting or looking for).
See, what happens is you create a voice for this person in your head and you really have no idea how they actually sound, how witty and quick their responses are, or if they are even that articulate. Your potential date could be spending hours drafting a very well thought out and funny email but when you talk to them in person, it can be like pulling teeth to have an actual conversation. Save yourself the time and trouble by have a phone conversation after a few emails. I swear you will learn more and connect better with a 5 minute phone call than you would through countless emails. It is also way easier to setup an actual date over the phone than emailing back and forth your schedules.
The first date should not be dinner or a movie
This is probably the most talked about piece of advice for obvious reasons. If you have a dinner with your date, you are trapped for at least an hour (not to mention that it can be expensive!) I find that within a few minutes of meeting the person you have a pretty good idea if you are going to have a decent date. I recommend starting off with drinks or an activity where you can spend 30 minutes and say “I am so glad we could actually meet each other in person but as I mentioned I should probably get ready for …” and yes, you should have already mentioned your escape plan beforehand. For my (now) wife, her ‘excuse’ was, “I am running 20 miles tomorrow and I should probably get some rest”.
*Sidenote from Lisa: This was a true excuse, and I did really need to run 20 miles the day after I met the Husband. I have no idea what his excuse was that night, but I guess I’m glad he didn’t need to use it! For our date we went to an outdoor (free) Jazz festival, at which we both learned the other person really had no appreciation for that sort of music. So, we decided to do dinner and drinks since we both wanted to extend the date.
You probably already know why a movie is not a good idea but in case you don’t – you can’t talk during a movie. The first date should allow for a conversation with a plan to extend the night if things are going well. If you are having good conversation and connecting then mention how you are getting kind of hungry and suggest dinner. Or if it is already late in the evening, grab ice cream … anything really … just be sure to think of a way beforehand to extend the night so you are not scrambling at the last minute.
Our first date was at an outdoor concert in Chicago (we went back to the venue for our engagement pictures)!
The first date should be in a public place
Again, this is another widely known piece of advice but it is a good one. Sure, maybe one of you are a master chef, but save that for another date. You don’t want your future date to wonder if they are going to get killed the first night and you don’t want to wonder the same.
There is also another obvious reason to be in public, which is …
Don’t get too sexual on the first date
If you are truly looking for ‘the one’ or someone to seriously date, than do not get too sexual on the first date. Yes, I know it may be a while since you have “gotten any” or you are really connecting and it “just feels right”. But, I promise you, you will not think of the person the same if you do. You will start to wonder if they are a floozy and then do you really want to have ‘the one’ be a floozy!? Trust me, if you are really connecting with the person, end the date with a great kiss and setup another date. You will be much more excited for the next date and there will still be that excitement of the “unknown” (if you know what I mean).
*Sidenote from Lisa: The Husband and I totally broke this rule (because we did more than end the night with a great kiss), and we still got married. However, I still think this is great advice! (I guess I’m just lucky that the Husband appreciates a good floozy! By the way, who the heck uses that term anymore, besides my husband?!)
End the night with a great kiss
If you really connected and want to see more of the person, be sure to kiss them. It will let them know you like them and that you don’t want to be just friends. My wife had a backup plan for if we didn’t connect, I would be her long distance running buddy … do you really want another long distance running buddy?! No … so kiss your date.
*Sidenote from Lisa: That really was my plan! This is also advice I strongly agree with. In my dating experience, I had gone on dates with a few guys who didn’t kiss me after the first date, and I pretty much wrote them off as friends immediately.
Gratuitous kissing picture from our dating anniversary last year.
Thank them for the great night after the date
This is the “playing the game” BS that no one likes. If I had a great time on the date, I let the person know a few hours after the date or the next morning. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, a simple text saying “I had such a great time last night! I can’t wait to go out again” is sufficient. This is of course assuming you want to go out with them again.
If you don’t want to do this because you are “playing the game” then just turn it around and think about how awesome it would feel if after a few hours or the next morning you got that text. It would feel great, right?? So let your date feel great! This will also make it very easy to setup the next date. If you don’t get a text back, well … back online you go. But, if you get a “Me too! Did you want to do that thing with me Friday?” well wasn’t that easy?
Sidenote from Lisa: I love this shit. I hate having to wonder when the guy is going to text again! I would also like to add that I think the girl can reach out to say she had a nice time, but I think when a man reaches out first it shows he’s into the chase and showing initiative, so I think that’s probably the best scenario.
Where did you meet your significant other? Have you ever tried online dating? Do you have any rules to add?!
Cheers to finding true love (or at least creating memories that will be great stories later!)