3 Ways To Master The Transition From Online Choice To First Date Interaction

Ekingwrites

Now that we're getting back to normal, here are some in-person dating tips to up your game.

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Now that the world is getting back to normal, it might be time to start dating again soon if you're single.

You might have been doing a lot of browsing during the last year or so, but when the world opens back up, you'll probably want to have some in-person quality time with a few new prospects.

And of course, the ultimate goal is to find someone special.

For many young people, their love-life ground to a halt about a year and a half ago, but even without the complications caused by Covid, about half of all American's surveyed by the Pew Research Group said that dating is harder now than it was ten years ago.

With that in mind, it might feel weird to get back out there but to make dating pay off, you have to be in it to win it.

Dating is a numbers game and you need to be out there for long enough to meet the right person.

If it’s not enjoyable, you might give up.

Luckily, you can always get back on the horse when you're ready.

Dating apps are a quick and convenient way to meet someone, so even if you think you're done with them, you're probably not.

But it's that first date that's the killer.

I get that, I was there myself.

After putting myself out there for over a year-and-a-half, I met my husband on Lavalife, and yes, I know it’s not the most popular site anymore, but the principle is still the same, so I understand how stressful this can be.

After a bunch of false starts, I learned to navigate the endless cycle of first meetings that come with online dating.

I instituted some much-needed rules and came up with a first date strategy.

Not every person I met fell instantly in love with me, not every guy was even nice. But after I started doing these things, every date ended amicably, one guy became a friend, and eventually, I met my husband.

These little changes took my dating skills from awkward to excellent and allowed me to lighten up enough to find something real.

See if you can find something here to make things easier for you.

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1. Talk less so you can listen more.

The thing I was always most nervous about was making conversation.
Then I had an epiphany. What if I just tried to listen more? I could focus on asking questions and letting my date talk.

If I did this, I’d learn more about them, which was my goal, and I’d take the pressure off myself.

I practiced my active listening skills and got better at that.

We tend to worry most about what we’re going to say to the other person, but it’s vital to be a good listener. Listening isn’t a passive skill, it’s something you do quietly but actively.

As soon as I started doing this, things changed. I noticed my dates warm up to me faster, and I got to know them better.

***I’m not saying that you have to sit silently for the whole date, but learning to ask the right questions and listen a little more than you talk can be a great way to make someone else feel special. It also allows you to gather relevant information.***

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2. Stay sharp.

I know it might seem obvious, but first dates can be so stressful that people can drink way too much by accident.

The relief that comes from a couple of cocktails quickly morphs into you, thinking everyone is getting more charming and good-looking with every ounce.

This can be dangerous as well as embarrassing.

When you drink too much, the other person might think that you have self-control issues. You might say or do something you regret. It can also lessen your ability to make rational observations about the other person.

I started drinking a pint of water between every drink, and I didn’t have more than three drinks on a first date. You may not need such a strict rule, but if you stress drink, you might.

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3. Trust that to the right person, you will be enough.

Don’t overdo putting your best foot forward. When you’re with the right person, it’s not necessary.

Don’t wear more makeup than you usually would, don’t lie about your job or overblow your importance. Don’t rent or borrow a better car. All this does is lead the person to think you are something you’re not.

When I met my husband, he had just immigrated, and couldn’t get a job in his field. So he was landscaping for $15 an hour at the age of 39. He didn’t lie to me about it and I didn’t think any less of him.

He later told me that many women had been turned off by this. A few women had even ended the date the moment he mentioned it.

Those women saw someone who wasn’t making enough money. Someone whose job wasn’t impressive enough.

I saw someone who wanted to make a respectable living doing something that was beneath his pay grade rather than game the system or give up.

I saw someone who wasn’t afraid to do a hard day’s work for honest pay, a survivor who did what it took to get by no matter what. All of those qualities spoke volumes to me.

Sometimes the things you think will hold you back work in your favor in unexpected ways, and it’s best not to lie about things you can’t hide in the long run, anyway.

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***But I had a confession to make.***

I lied about one thing on my profile. I put my age as 34 instead of 37.

I noticed when I first started on the site that when my age was listed as over 35, the only matches they sent me were for men 45 and up. I didn’t want to date men that old.

I’d never married, had no children, and lived a younger lifestyle.

I didn’t want my only dating options to be people who’d already done the things that would be all new to me if we got together.

So I did an experiment, I lowered my age to under 35, and the matches changed. Suddenly I was being paired with people 29–40, which was where I wanted to be.

I revealed this information to my husband on our seven-hour first date, and he was okay with it. We joke about it now.

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Online dating can be slow torture or an exciting adventure and the reality is that no matter what end of the love/hate spectrum you’re on at the moment with online dating, you’ll probably be back for more at some point if you’re single.

So why not try to make the best of what can be an awkward situation?

Getting the best out of those first in-person dates can help you stay in the game long enough to find love.

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Musician, writer, toddler wrangler. Author of "How To Be Wise AF" guided journal available on Amazon as well as "The Automatic Parent" due out in Feb. 2022.

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