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As a busy woman in love with her profession, I got quite reliant on online dating. Online encounters made it easy to get to know new people without risks or commitment. Eventually, however, I got particularly interested in one guy I’d been chatting with for some time. I felt it was time to take things out of the online realm and into the real world.

Moving from a virtual to an actual date is one of the most difficult transitions. Insecurities and worries that the person is nothing like the vision you already have in your mind can stand in the way of enjoyment.

Based on my experience with meeting guys I’ve gotten to know on DoULike, here are a few essentials for ensuring your safety and having a lot of fun.

Get Comfortable over the Phone

The first step in the progression of my virtual relationship was to begin talking on the phone.

Hearing the voice of the other person gives you the confidence that they’re real. It’s also a much more personal form of communication than typing on a keyboard.

Use the phone conversations to learn even more about each other and to set some expectations for your first date. In fact, this conversation lasted hours in our case. We talked about where we’d want to go, what we’d want to do and even about our insecurities stemming from meeting in person. If you get to address these issues in advance, you’ll feel much calmer as the big date approaches.

Manage Expectations

A recent study suggests that many of the people who did online dating and met someone in real life afterward were disappointed by the encounter. They said that the attraction was lower in comparison to online dating.

There’s a simple reason for this phenomenon – unreasonable expectations.

Online dating is indirect. This means we can interpret information in a certain way that meets our narrative. Without context, it becomes easy to idolize the other person and turn them into something much larger than life.

When expectations are set so high, the first actual meeting will be bound to deliver disappointment.

I told myself that I needed to remember I was meeting an actual human being – a person with their strengths and flows. As much as I was drawn to thinking of him as the perfect man, I had to keep the expectations low in order to avoid massive disappointment.

Think about Your Safety

Always organize that first encounter in a public space and have a plan B.

For me, it was a coffee shop and a very close friend sitting on the next table, pretending to work on his laptop. While I didn’t end up needing rescuing, the thought of having someone to count on in the same venue can be particularly reassuring.

You don’t know the person you’re meeting as well as you think you may. Thus, security should be a primary concern. Don’t agree to a date at his place or a secluded venue. Once you get to know each other better, you can move on to such intimate experiences.

Be Prepared to Walk Away

While we all hope for the fairytale ending, a real-life date after an online encounter could prove to be disappointing. While you should be expecting the best, you should also be prepared for the worst possible outcome.

Understand the fact that you may have to walk away, knowing you’re never going to see that person again. While such a thought is very difficult to accept, it can save you from major disappointment when things don’t turn out according to plan.

The anonymity of the online realm makes many people bolder, more charming and open than they are in real life. Thus, you may be in for a rude awakening the first time you meet in person.

I do believe that I was worrying too much and I was being over-prepared for my first real date after months of virtual communication. Still, being prepared reduced the pre-date jitters and gave me a chance to have fun getting to know a really special man. It’s definitely a good idea to be over-prepared than to run into disaster territory without ammunition. Take your time and make the step when you’re ready. When you’re doing things for the right reasons, you’re definitely increasing the likelihood of success.

About the Author

Kristin Barton is an experienced psychologist and writer for online dating website Doulike.com where people of different age, interests, and preferences can meet each other. Based on her experience in family therapy and her own relationship, she is a great adviser in this and gives many valuable statements in her articles.