CHAPTER 6: Rolling the Dice: First Dates

Dear Universe,

After chatting with some of the men online, it seems the time has come to meet face to face.  This is how I went about meeting them. I feel you can never be too safe when meeting total strangers from the world of online dating!  I have included some meeting tips in between each date/meeting description.

Date #1 – Was easy to plan/set up.  We met at a restaurant and had lunch. I The conversation was easy and we communicated well.  We both had an interest in health and being active.  We also both shared an interest in writing and communication, respect for others and being considerate of others.  Lunch did run more than an hour we did have a time limitation as he needed to get back to work.  We said we would meet up again and see how things went.

 Update:  We have continued to communicate about how things are going with our work, writing and online dating experience.  We continue to be great friends and he has met someone he really clicked with.  Good for him!

  • Meeting Tip #1: I would always suggest lunch over dinner for a first meeting and/or coffee.  It is good to keep things light and keep expectations low.
  • Meeting Tip #2:  You should feel totally comfortable about meeting and should have not experienced any pressure about meeting.  If you feel you are getting pressured into meeting, it might be time to back off the chat.  Finding the right person should NEVER be a rush, you should never feel uncomfortable and you want to get it right not fast!

Date #2- Was also easy to set up/plan.  We met at a food court at a local mall and had lunch.  I met him a little out of my normal area to help accommodate him as he was coming into a new area and I wanted to explore that area more.  Conversation was easy and fun.  He had a varied background of interests,  work experience and had a good sense of humor.  He has been a musician and lead singer in bands all his life and just  formed a new band. We kept our time limitations and said we would like to see each other again.  Another positive experience!  He kept my text function very busy after we met!

Update:  We have continued to communicate but no second date has been set up due to his busy work and rehearsal schedule.  He seems to wanting mainly a virtual/text relationship, NEXT!

  • Meeting Tip #3:  It is important for the woman to feel totally comfortable and to select the meeting place.  It should be a very public familiar place. A real gentleman will accept and understand this without question.  If he pushes you to meet somewhere on his “turf” look out, something’s not right.  His motives could be questionable.
  • Meeting Tip #4: If you feel shaky about meeting, I would suggest finding a “wing” friend who could be fairly close by incase you run into trouble.  A friend could be in the same place or a text away.  You can always call off the meeting if there is something that keeps bothering you.  Listen to your instincts.  But if you are just normally nervous, go with the “wing” friend 🙂

Date #3:  This date took a little more planning to set up but we met at a coffee shop and had a cup of tea.  We both knew the time limitations and stuck to them. He and I had chatted a lot before meeting and shared some common interest to the point that I had a little more hope for this date being the beginning of a great friendship and maybe more.  He sat and did not really seem to look me in the eye much and seemed distracted.  I found out the next day he did not feel well but did not want to reschedule yet.   Our first outing I felt should be cancelled as there were some health issues that had arisen in the middle of the night with his mother.  I felt it was more important that he was accessible to his mother than evening than he and I meeting on that particular day.

Update:  Two weeks later this man contacted me and we chatted about the first meeting and neither one of us were happy with how the conversation went in the meeting.  We both agreed too much time was spent talking about past relationships.  We have decided to meet again in the future and see how it goes.  We have not met again, que sera sera.

  • Meeting Tip #5: Share the details of who you are meeting and where you are going with a friend or relative.  This is important for many reasons.  In today’s world things unfortunately happen that are not good you have to make sure you cover your bases and stay safe at all costs.  There have been several people who ended up with some very bad experiences and were not missed as no one knew what they were doing for a while.  Be smart, let a close friend or relative who lives close by know where you are going and who you are meeting yes share emails, telephone numbers and pictures.  It could save your life or help authorities catch someone who has been up to no good.
  • Meeting Tip #6: Make the first meeting simple, uncomplicated and inexpensive.  I have found meeting for a coffee, tea or soda is a simple way to get to talk and get to know each other.  While everyone “dreams” of a fabulous first date of dinner, movies and dancing.  You need to be able to focus on what the person is telling you in word and actions and not having to strain to hear them speak.   Meeting in loud surroundings does not allow you to see and hear what you need to about the person.

Date #4:   I was setting this one up as this guy had been very consistent in his chatting with me and seemed like a nice honest hard-working guy.  We met at a coffee shop and talked for an hour.  I could tell his interests were far different from mine as I had expected.  We had an interesting conversation but he and I were not a match.  He ever made an offer to buy a cup of coffee/tea, nothing.  Again my “gut” told me we were not really a match and I was right; I have not heard a word from him since.

  • Meeting Tip #7: Have a plan in mind about how long you are willing to spend.  Realistically about an hour is a good frame for a first meeting. Set up a phone call after an hour from a friend or relative so they know you are ok and give you an exit at an appropriate time if you feel you cannot stay within your time limits.  Make sure your date knows you are free for the hour.
  • Meeting Tip #8: Plan out in advance questions/topics that you want to ask him about.  Find out what this person is really like, what their interests are, their hopes, their dreams and their faults (we all have them!)  Find out about the issues/values or thoughts about relationships which are most important to you.   Yes it is an interview of sorts, after all, isn’t finding the best life partner the most important position in your life? How do they speak about their mother/father?  Remember ladies, how a man speaks about and treats his mother is a window into how he will treat and speak about you.   Talking about their work gives you a lot of insight about their personality too.

Date #5:  This one was a little more difficult to set up as both our schedules were vastly different.  We met at a public place and sat and talked for almost two hours without even noticing the time had passed.  The conversation varied and was lots of fun.  We texted for an hour after I had gotten home.  He wants to plan a second date sometime soon. I think this is a great sign!

Update:  We have continued to email/text and looking forward the next date being sometime soon.  But this never happened so back to the drawing board!

  • Meeting Tip #9: Recall and Reflect.  Spend time reflecting about the date and how you really feel about what was discussed.  Is there potential?  Are there issues? Be realistic.  Just because she/he was cute and charming, were there other things that sent up red flags?  Cut off your sentences?  Dismissed any suggestions you made?  Was tardy without reason?  Kept looking at their phone or others around you.  Was not attentive to you? Would not look you in the eye?  Avoided answering basic questions?
  • Meeting Tip #10:  Do not be afraid to provide feedback to the guy you met.  If you had a great time, let him know.  If you felt something was lacking, let him know.  Things do not always go perfectly, if ever.  Learning how to voice and share your feelings about the meeting can be a great experience.  Talking about what went right or wrong about the meeting can help you to communicate better and potentially create an opportunity for a “do over.”

Date #6: This was probably the easiest meeting to set up.  We met and talked for a little over an hour and covered a wide variety of subjects from the taboo subject of politics, to travel and relationship dynamics.  It was nice having my mental muscles taxed along with allowing my personality to flow.  He let me know that I wasn’t the one for him and I agreed he wasn’t the one for me either.

I can say all six men I met were all nice but some I had more in common with than others.  I am not looking for a carbon copy of myself but someone who is different and complementary at the same time.  I am trying to take time and give some time and distance from the time I have met them to my writing of this blog.  I think thoughtful reflection is far better than a quick assumption.

A Good First Meeting (for me) Should Include:

  • Fun, joking and filled with laughter.
  • On familiar territory (to the woman) to eliminate any unnecessary stress.
  • Doesn’t require a lot of work to set up.
  • Not filled with too much history.  Talking about past relationships tends to bring the mood of the meeting down from being lighthearted and fun to a bit of a dirge.
  • Great conversation about a wide variety of topics.
  • A timely ending/closing out the meeting.  If you have an hour limit, try to stick to it.
  • Parting at the end of the meeting can be done in a variety of ways.  Some meetings might end with a handshake, a hug or just a “nice to meet you.”  I am not clear if there is any special significance to any particular ending.  I will have to think about that more.

Conversation Starters
Not sure what to talk about at the first meeting?  Here are some questions I found online that are good conversation starters if you do not already have your own.

1. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
2. What kinds of things really make you laugh?
3. What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
4. Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her?
5. Favorite movie of all time? Why so?
6. What’s your biggest goal in life right now?
7. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
8. Do you have any pet peeves?
9. What was your family like growing up?
10. What were you like as a kid?
11. What should I know about you that I’d never think to ask about?
12. Did you—or do you—have a nickname? What’s the story behind it?
13. Who was your favorite school teacher or college professor? Why?
14. Have you figured out your calling in life? What is it?
15. What do you hate most about the dating process? (Tell me so I can avoid it!)

Roll the dice and have a wonderful and happy first meeting!