There you are on a Friday night, lit only by the glow of your computer monitor, pouring through online profiles and you see him. He’s cute, his profile hits all the right notes. You write him a short but catchy email and get a response right away. The emails start flying.
After chatting for a while you are both feeling good enough about the connection that you make a date to meet in person. Your hopes are high and you are even a bit giddy. This feels like it could really be something.
You get to the cafe, find a table and wait for him to arrive. Then you see him, or someone that kind of looks like him, and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach. He looks a little older, maybe a little heavier than his photo. Hope has turned to disappointment. What do you do?
Don’t run just yet. Give it a chance.
I don’t approve of telling blatant lies. For instance say you are an international model, when you are really a mini-mart cashier or that you are 28 when you are really 48. (I mean either you are or you are not…and as far as I know websites don’t ask you what age you “feel” you are).
With things like your body type, weight, build, describing that can be a bit more up to individual interpretation. Curvy to one person can be Jennifer Lopez and Rebel Wilson to another. Putting yourself online, picking photos, and selecting what “size,” you think represents you can be a tough task and you want to put your best foot forward. So give them some slack and see how the in-person conversation goes.
They will either live up to their virtual personality or fall somewhat short (or really short) of the virtual relationship you were having. Before you make a final judgment, be open to simply hanging out with someone new. It is never a waste of time to have a good conversation, even with someone you don’t feel fireworks with.
Now, there is a whole slew of others things that can turn an initially hopeful date into a disappointment, that you can’t see but learn through conversation. It may be that their online persona is far more engaging than their, live one. Maybe their job as “investment tycoon” turns out to be a huge collection of Star Wars figurines.
Or maybe they are just rude jerks in public. Those are things you can’t see, but may find out along the way and can also dash your hopes of a love connection. That is when you have to weigh the whole package and decide from there if it still feels right.
Folks we do not have a connection. (Cue Chuck Woolery)
If during your conversation you confirm for yourself that it isn’t a match, let the date come to a peaceful end. Don’t sneak out the bathroom window. Always plan to make first dates short and sweet, like grabbing a coffee or quick happy hour meeting (one drink – not a pitcher of margaritas) wedged between other plans so you have a built-in exit strategy and don’t have to be rude or make something up on the fly.
Don’t dump them on the spot, you have no idea the day they came from or how they will respond. I recommend waiting to break the bad news via a call or email unless of course, they press the issue right then and there. Then be honest but compassionate and let them know you’re not feeling it.
Oh no, not another learning experience!
If after having a face-to-face chat you are sure the whole package isn’t working for you, chalk it up to a new experience. One you can learn from. So when a date goes not as planned ask yourself these questions:
- What was it about them that just didn’t click for you?
- What had you all fired up before the date, but fell flat in person?
- What have you learned from this that will help have better dates in the future?
Dates are never a waste of time. You can always learn more about what you do and don’t want. Don’t worry. I promise you that even though this date didn’t work out there are more on the horizon and the more you sort out what you want, the closer you are to finding a match that fits.
Cija Black is the author of MODERN LOVE: The Grownup’s Guide to Relationships & Online Dating. Her dating and relationship expertise comes from 20 years of in-the-trenches experience safely using personals both on and offline. She is dedicated to helping people sort their relationship baggage, find real love take responsibility for their own happiness. For more information on Cija or Modern Love visit http://www.modernloveguide.com