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Online Dating: 10 Dos & Don’ts Before Meeting In Person

Online Dating: 10 Dos & Don’ts Before Meeting In Person

By Janet Ong Zimmerman for

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†10 Dos & Don’ts Before Meeting Mr. Online In Person.

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10:33AM PDT on May 16, 2014

Great tips! You’re right, you must not overanalyze, take time to know the person better. And never judge, each one of us is entitled with our own opinion. By the way, I’m planning to check; it is an adult online dating app.

10:33AM PDT on May 16, 2014

Great tips! You’re right, you must not overanalyze, take time to know the person better. And never judge, each one of us is entitled with our own opinion. By the way, I’m planning to check; it is an adult online dating app.

9:19AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

Great tips, but as John mentioned.. no matter how much you talk beforehand, always plan to meet in a public place. It's the safest way to meet. I read a hilarious online dating horror story just earlier, it's how I found your post, at which really illustrates the need to follow set guidelines when meeting online friends.

3:22AM PDT on May 16, 2013

No matter how long you've texted, e-mailed, phoned, etc, arrange that first meeting in a public place. It works out best for both parties that way. Both people feel secure. And if things don't work out, it is easy to say thanks and go your own way.

7:07PM PDT on May 9, 2013

be cautious there are scammers out there of both sexes.

6:08PM PDT on May 8, 2013

good bit of information. Thank you.. With these tips I feel I can work through my next date without it being a disaster

6:11AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

dont be too reliant on texting

5:48AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Stay alert

6:55PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

Good advice for any dating situation!

10:42AM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

Boy, I thought this would be a lot more about SAFETY when meeting someone you don't know! I'm less concerned about having an "open mind" and more concerned about screening for possible predators. I'd definitely include asking some questions that encourage your date to open up and be transparent about his/her history and intentions before I'd even consider meeting in person.

Most people are not abusive, but predators are not rare and often find the on-line environment works very well for their manipulations and lies. It's easy to project a false image via e-mail and Facebook profiles. I'd strongly advise getting to know a lot more about a person both before and after meeting in person.

See my book, Jerk Radar, for more ideas on how to do that.

--- Steve

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