Technology has forever changed the dating game, and with it comes a new era of blind dates.
Not too long ago, we had friends set us up with blind dates, and in that process we had someone do the first round of vetting for us. But with online dating apps, this is rarely the case these days, and you’re left with your own vetting process and decision-making.
Can you imagine going on a date in this day and age without knowing (more or less) what your date looks like? Cue anxiety attack.
Online detective skills aside, agreeing to meet a stranger is always nerve-racking. Unpredictable meetings are particularly stressful for introverts, people who aren’t great with flirting and for those who don’t enjoy strange or new environments.
However, the main thing to remember is that a date isn’t an annual review or a job interview. It’s not a big deal if the date doesn’t go well. If there’s no connection and you don’t click, c’est la vie.
You can move on to the next experience hopefully wiser than you were one blind date ago.
That said, we live in a strange world, so you need to keep a few things in mind when planning to go on a blind date:
1. Safety first
Safety must always be your priority. You are going on a date with someone you don’t know, and a little bit of online research can keep you out of harm’s way.
Exchange actual numbers and names – Sure “MagicMike1979” might drum up sultry images in your mind, but you need a real name. When you meet someone on a dating app or online, it’s a good idea to exchange actual phone numbers and last names before arranging to meet them in person.
There are tons of fake profiles online and individuals that thrive on the misery of others. The result is that many people get stood up, blocked or unmatched at the last minute by some catfish (someone who created a fake profile). With a real name and number, you have a show of faith from their side.
Check them out on social media – I think it’s safe to say nearly everyone who tries online dating does this, but with a real name in hand, you have access to their social media profiles. Use that to authenticate their identity.
Let your friends know where you are –Tell them where you’re going and what time you’re meeting your blind date.
Have the date in a public venue – Have a first date in a public place, preferably during the day. Late afternoon meetings are great as they start in the day and can run into the evening if there’s no pressing need to bail on the date.
Remote locations and meetings at your place or theirs is a bad idea.
2. Be single
This goes without saying, but blind date conversations inevitably lead to the topic of past relationships. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, and transparency is good, but make it a brief conversation and then move on.
Without trying too hard, you can quickly come off as suspiciously attached. Never drone on about your ex. There’s a reason you’re on this date, regardless of whether it’s for sloppy, unattached rebound sex or the search for a life mate, you’re always better off not harping on about your previous relationships.
3. Avoid too much booze
Sure, alcohol is a depressant and relaxes the nerves, but when we’re nervous we tend to drink more than usual which can have disastrous results. If you happen to arrive before your date, order a non-alcoholic drink and meet them with a clear head. Beer goggles are real.
4. Stay off your phone
Phones block conversations and take away from what’s happening in front of you. Not to mention that paying more attention to your phone than your date is rude. Looking at your phone has inadvertently become the new “I’m bored, so I am looking at my watch”. Be conscious of your phone habits and mannerisms as it can easily make you appear disinterested.
5. Be authentic
Don’t feel you need to be someone you’re not – it didn’t work in high school and it won’t work now. Authenticity is the most potent organic aphrodisiac. Nothing beats the real you, and the real you is fabulous.
6. Dress well
Dress up in something that makes you feel confiden, but that’s also comfortable. When you feel good about yourself, you emote confidence as soon as you walk out of the door.
7. Have fun
Chances are you already know a little bit about your date, including interests and hobbies, so there should be common ground to start with. The key is to get the niceties out of the way as soon as possible and then focus on having fun. You’re on an adventure into the unknown. It’s exciting! So lean into it and enjoy yourself. The rest will follow.