So, you matched on Tinder, now what? Meeting someone off an app is always scary, especially since it’s hard to know offhand whether or not you’ll have any chemistry in real life. Here are just a few things you don’t want to do if you’re hoping things with this guy work out.
Don’t criticize his looks. Unless he’s a totally different person than he portrayed online, don’t say anything like, “You look absolutely nothing like your photo!” Maybe he gained a few pounds or maybe he found a more flattering angle for his profile image. It is 100% OK to not be attracted to this guy in person—and that’s a valid reason to refuse a second date—but making him feel self-conscious is a bad way to start things off.
In fact, comments about his looks, even positive, should be kept at a minimum. It’s not cute for you to keep chirping, “Wow, you’re tall!” every 15 seconds. He’s probably well aware. And yes, it could be overwhelming to see someone in motion after only seeing a few select photos, but it might make you look like you only care about appearance.
Your ex’s name shouldn’t be mentioned. Nothing screams “I’m not over my ex” like mentioning him on a first date with someone new. Even if you and this new guy have an arrangement that’s just a hookup, it’s still not very cool if he knows someone else is on your mind. Your date isn’t your therapist, and he seriously has no clue why your ex was unfaithful.
Don’t show up late. Maybe it takes you an hour and a half to get ready before going out— that’s fine. What’s not fine is expecting this guy to know that and to forgive you for not knowing how to budget your time. You’re a grown woman. If you plan to meet at 7:30, make sure you’re there by 7:30. And if something truly out of your control takes place, send him an apologetic text as soon as you know. His time is valuable too.
Whatever you do, don’t just talk about the app. If the only thing you have in common is the fact that you’re both on Tinder, get prepared for a boring date. Chatting about failed dates through Tinder is also a dead conversation since obviously you both had missed connections that brought you here today. Chat about movies, music, or fun vacations if you’re the kind of person who likes to travel. Make sure you let him choose a topic or two as well, to keep things balanced.
Don’t drastically change yourself before the date. You don’t need anyone’s permission to dress however you want, but you may throw him off if he’s expecting a girl with long brunette hair and you walk in with a pink buzzcut. If you plan on changing your look, make sure to update your photo as soon as possible — or at least before you plan on meeting up.
Don’t pregame to calm your nerves. Meeting someone you don’t know is scary, so you may be thinking about drinking a little liquid courage before the meet-up. But that might not be the greatest idea. One may lead to three, or one may simply make you smell like beer before the hangout. Give this guy your best self. You can totally order a drink if your date is at a bar or restaurant, but at least drink it in front of him.
Don’t try to play games through your online profile. You might be tempted to put some clues in there to see if he’s really paying attention, like “this girl loves flowers on a first date!” That comes off as being a little manipulative unless that sentence was included long before your date was planned. Yes, this guy may be perusing your profile for some good first date conversations prior to, but testing him or playing games with him in this way will only lead to disappointment.
Don’t immediately assume this guy is only looking for sex. Yes, it’s well known that Tinder is super popular for hooking up, and if that’s the only site you’ve used and you only got a hookup out of it, it’s easy to think everyone’s there for the same reason. But everyone is different and some people legitimately do use online apps to find real love. If you met through a paid dating app, it’s more likely that he’s looking for a long-lasting relationship. The only way you can tell for sure is if you ask him. This way, at least you know how much energy to put into your first meet-up.
Don’t stand him up at the last minute. It should be obvious but it still happens. If you were feeling a vibe and set up a date but then changed your plans, have the decency to let him know. It’s totally in your right to cancel something you don’t feel great about. Or, if you’re too nervous, you may just need some more online exchanges before setting up an actual date. Whatever the situation is, honesty is much better than flaking.
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