Making Online Dating Dates Feel Normal
Going from writing great online dating messages to being on a real date with a real girl can be tricky.
Online dating dates have all the awkwardness of a blind date, together with the slight stigma of online dating. You’re worried that you won’t recognise each other. You don’t know whether to talk about the online dating stuff, or to just pretend it’s a normal date. You hope she looks like she does in her pictures, and that she’ll fancy you in the flesh.
There’s no way to eradicate these problems entirely. But it is possible to organise a date that cuts through a lot of the awkwardness and makes things feel as comfortable as possible – that shows you’re a normal bloke and that she’s in for a fun, stress-free date.
It’s actually nothing to do with the date itself: nothing to do with where you go on the date or what you do once you’re there. It’s all to do with where you arrange to meet her beforehand. Here’s the step-by-step guide as to how to do it.
Arrange to Meet in a Book Shop
Let’s assume you want to meet the girl for a drink in a bar. Here are the ten steps you need to take, from arranging the date to walking in the door of the bar.
1. Choose a bar near a good book shop. This is important. The book shop is actually the key location, so find that first. I always arrange dates in bars near Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road.
2. Don’t arrange to meet her in the bar. When you message or text her to arrange the date, don’t tell her which bar you’ll be going to. Just tell her to meet you in the book shop.
3. Don’t tell her exactly where to meet. This is also important. Tell her when, but not where: “Ok cool, let’s meet at 8pm in Foyle’s x”
4. Get there early. You want to get there before her. When you get there (say, 15 minutes early) text her something like: “Hey I’m a bit early – give me a call when you get here”
5. Be doing something when she calls. When she calls you to find out where you are in the shop, be doing something! Don’t just be lurking by the front door. Get into the shop, the deeper the better, and browse for a present or flick through some interesting books.
6. Get her to come to you, rather than the other way round. She’ll probably call you from the front door. Don’t go and meet her there. Tell her that you’re not quite finished and that she should come to you: “I’m just about to buy a book for my brother. Come and find me, I’m in the travel section”.
7. When you meet, talk about what you’re looking at. All dates can be awkward at the start, and dates with a girl you met online can be especially tough. It’s really easy to get trapped in small talk, all that “how was your day” rubbish. The key is to take the focus off the two of you and onto something external. Talk about the book you’ve been reading, the posters you’ve been looking at or the present you’re about to buy.
8. Do one more thing together before you leave. Before you leave the book shop, do one more thing together. At the very least, look at one new book together. Even better would be to buy something, which gives you the time in the queue to chat.
9. Leave together and walk to the bar. As you walk, keep the conversation light and energetic. Ideally you will have built up some good momentum in the book shop.
10. Go into the bar, and treat it as a normal date. Hopefully you will have had ten minutes or so of good rapport and decent conversation by this stage. You shouldn’t need to mention the online dating aspect of the date at all.
In Part 2 of this mini-series of online dating tips for men, I’ll explain why meeting in a book shop is so powerful, and give you a few ways to make it work even better.