By Janet Ong Zimmerman for YourTango.com.
Welcome to Online Dating Bootcamp: Day 6! Today is all about the messages, texts, phone calls and instant messages you exchange with your match before your first date, featuring 10 tips from YourTango Expert Janet Ong. (Wanna brush up on Bootcamp Days 1-5? Start here.)
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So, you’ve found a guy online who has potential and you’ve agreed to go out with him. Great! Pressure’s off until you meet in person, right? Wrong! Follow these rules to make sure you don’t do or say the wrong thing before your first date:
1. DO be yourself. Communicating authentically is the only way you’ll get to know each other. Letting your guard down helps him open up and feel comfortable talking, e-mailing and texting with you. Being yourself is attractive and shows that you’re comfortable in your own skin.
2. DO keep an open mind. When the activity for your date is agreed upon, talking him into doing something else will make you seem unreceptive. Suggestions are okay, but pushing for what you want will likely turn him off. If he suggests something you’ve never done before, try it! You might like it.
3. DO keep things light. Life is challenging, so make dating fun. Be a breath of fresh air. Be lighthearted and stay away from heavy, serious topics.
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4. DO be interesting. Living your life fully and having your own interests makes you a more dimensional person. He’ll be intrigued by you. Your communication will have more depth, leaving him wanting to know more about you.
5. DO listen carefully. During your communications, listen and remember what he shares with you. This shows him that you’re interested in him rather than just looking for a free meal. When you acknowledge the things he’s shared during your conversations, he’ll feel heard and appreciate you for paying attention.
6. DON’T reveal too much. It’s never a good idea to talk about your ex, why you’ve been single for nine years or your medical problems. Stay away from subjects that are unflattering, make you appear desperate, show you in a negative light or are controversial. There will be plenty of time after your first date to share more personal information.
7. DON’T be judgmental. When your date is sharing who he is, his thoughts and ideas, listen and respond respectfully. If there’s something you see differently, remember that you’re not right and he’s not wrong. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinions.
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8. DON’T overanalyze. Avoid reading too much into what he wrote or dismissing him because he was nervous on the phone. When you form preconceived notions, you may miss out on a potentially good partner. Instead of being so quick to write him off, take the time to get to know him instead. After all, many people come across better in person.
9. DON’T rush things. Calling him too often or sending too many e-mails or texts before your date will make you seem desperate. When in doubt, don’t initiate communication. Let him contact you and respond to him in a timely manner.
10. DON’T let your past derail your present. Comparing him to your ex and other men you’ve dated keeps you from getting to know him. Quality communication can only happen when you’re not comparing him to others. If you want love, let go of your past and learn about him, his personality, his values and interests. Stay in the present because that’s what determines your future.
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This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 10 Dos & Don’ts Before Meeting Mr. Online In Person.