Online dating has become so popular that now, unlike 10 years ago, meeting up with some dude you’ve only chatted with a few times through a messaging app doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. Honestly, though? It still is a big deal, at least to me. I recently went on a date with someone I met online, and it was not easy for me. I’ve avoided online dating for as long as I could, and 95 percent of the reason was because I was scared of actually meeting up with someone. I never had any idea how my peers did it. But after much deliberation and chatting, I decided to do it: I met someone from online dating and hung out IRL. I’m never going to see him again, he is not my boyfriend, but I did not get kidnapped, which is always a positive.
What was it like? I’m here to fill you in on all of the details. Despite the fact that online dating is so popular, it still sometimes has a weird stigma to it. But you know what? Online dating isn’t lame or desperate. If you’re spending most of your time online, then it’s almost a natural way to meet someone! If you’re thinking about trying it out, read this first. Here are the 20 stages of going on a date with someone you met online.
Oh, and guys? It should be said that, legally, if you are under 18, I don’t think you should meet up with an internet stranger without parental consent or supervision. Your Tumblr bestie who lives across the country? Take your mom. Seriously. A guy who claims to be your soul mate? Don’t do it without a friend or a public space. BE CAREFUL. Just because my experience was good doesn’t mean every experience is good.
1) You select a person and determine that that person isn’t a threat, and that they are good people.
This is usually done via messages or texting. Do they sound real and genuine? Does it feel like you have a good rapport and things in common? If we’re being real, having good text chemistry is vital – it’s how you talk to most of the people in your life, so having a good messaging relationship with the person you’re prospectively dating is a no brainer.
2) You do a lot of research.
This is what I called it instead of “combing their messages for red flags that they’re *really* not who they say they are.” For example, if they give you the name of the company they work for and the neighborhood they work in, Google it. See if it’s real.
3) You brainstorm conversation topics that aren’t on their profile.
One of the big downfalls of online dating is that you have to make a profile with all of your hobbies, interests, family background, and personality. So, what is there to talk about when you’re on your date when you already know that they love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and that you’re both from New Jersey? Bye bye, small talk.
4) You ask your friends to review to double check.
Do they look legit? Are they attractive? Do these feel like outdated, old pictures and they might not be this person in real life? Do they see anything alarming you might be missing?
5) Quit looking at profile so they stop getting notifications.
You get profile view notifications on most dating websites. Oops. It’s hard out here for a habitual stalker…
6) Ask for their phone number to avoid future profile stalking.
First off, it’s so much easier to text than it is to check a whole separate message inbox. Most of all though, it’s super important that you call this person and chat on the phone for a little bit before you meet up with this person. Can you hold a real-time conversation? It’s it awful or does it flow naturally?
7) Seriously debate getting a google voice account for the express purpose of never giving any more internet strangers your real phone number.
Can you still text from your phone with Google voice? Can someone tell me what’s up with this in the comments, please?
8) Pick out an outfit.
“I have nothing to wear!” she shouts at her closet full of clothes, like she does before every date.
9) Prepare your room so when Olivia Benson looks for evidence, you have everything prepared.
Okay cool, I’m paranoid, leave me alone. I texted my best friend to let her know where I would be. I left a Post-It on my laptop with his username, phone number, and first name. Just in case. Because you never know. I’m trying to be positive, but I have a lifetime of internet safety lectures breathing down my neck.
10) Get to the meeting spot.
Regret everything. This is how people die. Or not! This could turn out great. They could be the love of your life!
11) Squint at every person walking in as if they may be this person.
The cool thing about meeting up with a stranger is that you only have a vague idea of what they look like because, as I’ve said before, pictures are suspect.
12) Meet the person!
Holy smokes, it’s really happening.
13) Squint some more at their young face and then their bald spot, and then back at their young face, then back at that bald spot.
If you’re balding, shave it off. Don’t comb it over or spike it straight up because you’re fooling no one. Moving on.
14) Attempt a normal conversation.
While, of course, reciting affirmations in your head that you are safe in case your paranoia creeps up on you again.
15) Have some good moments.
If your match percentage were a grade in school, it would be an A+ so of course you’re having an easy, good time and genuinely laughing at their jokes.
16) Weigh the pros and cons of going to a second location.
Is it dark out? Is the second location ice cream? Do you like ice cream more than you are afraid of death?
17) Fake a friend-mergency to get out of them walking you to your car.
How this worked, I will never know, but it did.
You did it!
19) Ghost them hard.
Ghosting is mean, I know, don’t judge me. Being direct and upfront with your feelings is always the best thing to do, but it was a mutual ghosting so don’t feel bad for him. Also, have you seen When Women Refuse? I rest my case.
20) Alternatively, go out again, have a great time.
Repeat until you break up, or don’t, and grow old together. Be happy.
Have you ever tried online dating? Would you try it? Let us know in the comments.