When does investigating your potential date become stalking?

Given that it is not yet law for all dating sites to check the history of its membership, how do you check out the past of a potential partner? If, indeed, you do at all. If not, at least according to one report, you are very much in the minority.

Okay, online dating is now a socially acceptable way of meeting your partner. The uninhibited growth of social media and ‘respectable’ branding and advertising campaigns have seen to that. But that doesn’t stop the glorious picture of Heidi, the 22-year old lab assistant from London, turning out to be randy Roger from Reading, does it? As such, almost sixty percent of singles who have been approached to go real life dating via their online platform use other Internet sites to vet their potential partner before agreeing to meet up with them.

Social media platforms used to vet potential partners

Stalking your ex on the facebook is nothing new. Many of us have done it and lived to regret it. You see them on a smiley photo with their new beau, you get too closely acquainted with the ever-faithful Miss S. Artois or favourite Pinot Grigio and end up having a one-night stand with a total minger whose name you instantly forget and all just to ‘show them’ you’re not hurting. Yeah, right, well done! Then you’ve got to rid yourself of said minger – disaster!

However, in the absence of a legal prerequisite, singles on dating sites are doing their own investigating using Google, LinkedIn and facebook to corroborate dating site information before acquiescing a date.

On Jdate, a recent survey of 500 members revealed that, of the six in ten who trawl the ‘Net for added safety, more than a quarter used facebook only and one eighth only Googled their potential beau, but a further 20 percent used a combination of sources, such as the professional network, LinkedIn, thrown in just to be sure.

One word of caution. As much as we condone this type of activity, that first date is your first real chance to get to know the person you’ve met online, once you’ve satisfied yourself that Heidi definitely isn’t randy Roger, perhaps because her moustache is a different colour, I don’t know. But leave some of the mystery to unfold on your date(s). Do not, under any circumstances, over-investigate your subject.

If you sound like you’ve been checking up on them before you’ve met, it will sound like you’ve been checking up on them before you’ve met and you may just come across as slightly unhinged or stalker-ish. All that time and effort in research and you’ve scared them off a second date. So, yes, be sure; but also, leave the door ajar for a little mystery to seep through, a bit at a time, not fling open Pandora’s box like, well, like Pandora did. You may not be able to take it all in at once and still retain all of your noodles.

First dates – what not to say

Take a keyboard away from someone who uses dating sites or any social media platform and you’d be surprised at how many of them just clam up. If they have access to QWERTY, they’re flirty; minus the digits they’re practically frigid. Strange, but oh so true.

However, anyone who’s been on a succession of dates with singles they’ve met on the dating site of their choice will tell you that there have been times when they wish that they could have adopted the silent treatment as a weapon of choice, either for themselves when they’ve put their foot in their mouth or to use as a YKK zipper on their dating partner whose incessant chatter is destroying the romantic ardour built up beforehand.

But perhaps the most devastating thing that can happen on your first date is running out of things to say. When you have been in a relationship for some time, there are ways in which you can communicate with your partner that transcend vocals. This can either be a depth of sentiment that highlights your true one-ness (or wan-ness, if your relationship is coming to its natural conclusion) or it can be the depth of brown stuff you’re in, if you’ve upset your better half.

Save the silent treatment until you’ve been dating a while

Women play the silent card very well. Only when they think you’re starting to enjoy the silence do they dignify themselves to speak to you in any way that conforms to the norms of acknowledgement, but that’s for another article; for now, we’ll stick to the awkward silence when you first meet up with a potential partner from your dating site.

Being mean and moody is all well and good, but if you try to hide behind that persona on your first date, the likelihood of getting a second is zilch. Big fat zip.

In the early stages of dating, it’s all about getting to know whether there is any mileage in you expending your time and effort in the person you’re seeing, and that is very much a two-way street.

Assuming that you have spent time building up an online dating relationship with the person you are about to meet up with, which is usual on any matchmaking or personals site other than a casual dating platform, you should know a little about your date. If they have expressed an interest in any subjects with which you’re not au fait, then do a little research into them.

When it comes to the date, do not try to blag it, pretending you’re an aficionado in the subject to impress; be honest. You’ll score more brownie points by ‘letting it slip’ that you took the time out to brush up, even if only slightly, on subjects that interested your partner than by trying to usurp their knowledge, then failing miserably and finally making yourself out to look like a right git.

If all else does fail, one thing not to do is panic. Instead of asking what they do for a living, you could end up being over intrusive by asking about their salary. Or, if asking about their recent dating history (but only as a very last resort – remember, this first date is about you, them and pastures new); you may splutter something along the lines of ‘how many guys you had, then?’, or, ‘as a woman, do you think it’s right to go all the way on a first date?’. Scoff at your peril, but when the pressure’s on, especially if you’ve overdone the Dutch courage, keeping the relationship between brain and mouth in the right order does not always work in the way you’d like it to, to devastating effect.

Keep it fresh and relevant, not too intrusive and let your date get a word in every now and then. The goal is to come away with you both knowing more about each other and judging whether there is any mileage in a repeat performance.

Alternative dating methods, allegedly

I’m not going to say that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to dating, but meeting in a bar and heading off to a reputable restaurant does me fine every time. However, it would appear that for some, that’s just not good enough for a first date.

Reading an article today made me question whether I’ve just become stuck in a rut or whether I do actually need to shake up the hat a bit when plucking out what to do the first time I meet up with a potential partner in the flesh that I’ve met on a dating site.

These were five ideas conceived to achieve just that effect – would love to know whether any of them are your cup of tea, or whether I should concede that it’s time for me to join a senior dating site and just enjoy, well, my cup of tea.

The Picnic. Would I look like a wuss if I turned up with a wicker basket filled with ham sandwiches, tomatoes and sausage rolls? Living in the heart of Urban Central in the West Midlands may also be a drawback to finding a park that wasn’t littered with broken glass and walls sprayed with six-foot-high obscenities and tags. But, according to the article, girls like a simple and special treat, so, am I a sandwich short for not getting this one?

The Beach The second suggestion for taking your dating site partner out for the first time is a drive along the coast to watch the undulating waves flop against golden, sandy beaches. Again, the West Mids being smack-bang in the middle of England, we’re a bit short of Atlantic panoramas. The choice is either a stroll along the cut (that’s a canal, for anyone outside the Black Country) or a trip up the M6 to the turgid waters of The Irish Sea bombarding Blackpool’s Golden Mile.  Not too keen on that, either, I’m afraid.

Biking Okay, we go from the sublime to the bonkers, with a suggestion of picking up a bike trail into the mountains. Mmm, bit short of hillocks until you get to the Welsh border, really, or up to The Pennines. But the thought of dating someone with mud-spattered calves, no matter how shapely, with sweat stains seeping from armpits tightly clad beneath a cycling jersey just doesn’t do it for me, there, either.

Camping The suggestion here goes along the line of, take your woman off into the woods and hitch up a tent to spend the night together. Does this go against every rule of dating site safety you’ve ever read, or what? Couple that with the fact that, on your first date, you want as much access to electricity and clean running water as possible if it is imperative that your date means staying overnight somewhere. Leave camping to the Scouts, methinks.

Skydiving/Paragliding Air sports can be good for an adrenalin rush on your first date, apparently. It can also be good for showing what an absolute coward you are, breaking a leg or your dating partner falling for the more rugged instructor. No, I think I’ll stick to doing a runner from the Indian to get my blood sugar crashing, if that’s what the date called for. Definitely not flinging myself out of a plane from 15,000 feet, thank you. Firmly a terra firma type of guy.

And then the article concludes with a simple statement that suggests many men have no comprehension of what it takes to get women…
…I can only assume that the author was talking from personal experience. Waiter? Cheque, please!

Stick within your league for best dating site results

If you’re new to online dating, you may be apprehensive about sharing some of your personal information due to the hairy stories that make their way into the media. These reports can be from everything to the guy turning out to be a sex offender, the woman demanding money to even get to the first date or your potential partner singing Brotherhood of Man songs all the way through the date. All scary enough in their own rite, it’s true.

But before you get to that meeting up stage, there is plenty of other critical information you need to know about the entities that patrol dating sites under the guise of genuine singles looking for love online, whereas all they are really after is your money and they have developed some ingenious ways of doing it.

Even the most steadfast of singles get caught up in a fantasy web spun by these (generally) organised criminal gangs. But if you know beforehand what you’re looking out for, the telltale signs that you’re being approached by a scammer will stand out like a sore thumb.

Getting the best out of your online dating experience is all about being honest with yourself, not setting your expectations, not getting carried away by trying to impress another single who has caught your eye by pretending to be someone you’re not and, at all times, keep things in perspective by being totally honest with yourself and with anyone who shows interest in you. But not too much heavy personal stuff, at first – that type of information will have everyone on the dating site running for cover. Remember, many dating sites have seven-figure memberships: you are not the be all and all – there are thousands of others members that a single can move on to if you either come on too heavy or do not act within the parameters of dating site etiquette.

That said, you have a vague idea of who is in your league, if you go on the ‘like attract like’ unwritten rule. So if an absolutely stunning blonde of Scandinavian origin or chisel-chinned hunk with bulging biceps approaches you and you are by no means expecting to be contacted by someone of that calibre, start asking yourself: why? Not being funny, there is a 99.9% chance that the photo is not that of the person getting in touch, no matter how much they protest that they are Erika or Brad, rather, the image has been lifted from elsewhere, possibly even another dating site, on t’Internet and there’s an African national hiding behind the dating site profile with a rod and some heavy gauge line just waiting to reel you in.

Another giveaway is the opening line when someone new contacts you for the first time. It won’t open with a coy ‘Hi, there, I was wondering…’ or a ‘Just happened to see your profile…’. It will go straight for the jugular in ill-conceived English. The fraudster will open up with ‘My most beautiful darling,’ or ‘My most gorgeous sweetheart,’. All true enough sentiment when you’ve known someone for a while but, due to the foreign national’s lack of understanding of etiquette – they’ve probably lifted the text from a well-thumbed Mills & Boon – they make this fatal error (if you know to look out for it) upon first contact.

Stick with us; more over the weekend about what to look out for – and, more importantly, to report to the webmaster – to weed out the scammers from the genuine single looking to find you via the medium of online dating.

Tongue-tied and twisted? Plan your date outside the box

There are occasions when the effortless speech that flows freely from fingers on dating sites deserts even the most seasoned singles when it comes to dating in real life. A few changes in thought concepts and a bit of indirect practise could bring you to life on that first date when otherwise, for all the world, you look like you’re waiting for the ventriloquist’s hand to work its magic.

If you don’t have a lot of success dating it may not be down to all of the things you beat yourself up about after the event. Being sociable is a skill that only gets honed with practise. If you’ve met another single on your dating site and you know you ‘don’t get out much’, do something about it. Look to see what your friends are up to, get down to the café or bar just to get used to being in a social environment and participate.

People who spend a lot of time online dating and don’t have a great deal of success on their first date tend to read a lot about how to make dating a success (Et voilà – bon soir!). My guess is that, next to the laptop is a note book with about 200 bullet points that you believe you need to get through on your first date, if you’ve taken all of the online advice to heart.

Yes, the first date is about finding out about your potential partner but it is not an inquisition. Don’t forget, they want to find out about you, too. Don’t feel like you’re putting them under pressure – you’ll not only have them leaving for the exit, but that (hopefully) school ma’am inquisitor is not who you really are, is it? Get a general overview of what you want to find out, get the deal-breakers out of the way (date two is pointless, otherwise) and then just let the rest of it flow.

When the time does come around for you to impart a little of who you are, don’t be shy! Honesty is the best policy and if there’s stuff you like doing, let your partner know about it. But not heavy, personal information. That will have to wait until the relationship can support it and will have your partner making excuses if you lay it down too thickly on the first date. And that definitely includes exes!

Whilst you’ve been reading about other’s successes dating, you will no doubt have taken in several accounts of singles who have been remarkably proficient and go on first dates time and again, just because they love doing it. Whatever you do, do not start trying to measure up to those standards. Flirtatious people attract that lifestyle and it comes naturally to them. It comes back to what you want from the date, no one else.

Plan ahead, too. Choose an activity and location that’s a little off-beat. Off beat, not off the beaten track! Yes, make it quirky, that will be an ice breaker in itself. But stay close to where you’re familiar for the first few dates until you’re sure your partner’s trustworthy and, for safety’s sake, don’t invite them home for the same reasons until you’re absolutely sure of their integrity. Now, go get ’em, tiger. And let your heart do the talking!

Where’s that chatterbox I met on the dating site?

There are an awful lot of singles out here in dating land who can e-mail, private message and text as if they were trying to beat the monkey to write the complete works of Shakespeare. Their dating profile is extensive and they may only get around to replying to four messages a night because of how fluently conversations flow once they become ‘that person’ everyone knows them as on their dating site. Once stuck behind that keyboard, they could host a marathon of chat-shows that would put Wossy to shame.

But put that same person in front of a web-cam or in a real, live date situation, and it’s as if their brain’s hit the vocal cord mute button. This is often an involuntary reaction, perhaps brought on by the pressure they feel to impress, they’re taken out of their comfort zone so their confidence is undermined or are just too darned scared of saying the wrong thing.

This happens to a lot of people (writers, mainly!); away from the safe distance that sets them at ease and lets (un)natural conversation flood out when rattling away on their dating site on a date, they are desperate in this induced silence to find that spark that ignites once they’ve logged on and settled into their dating persona.

With every passing moment they feel the pressure building more – what is wrong with them? Why can’t they find the words that got them to this stage, the first date, in the first place? Soon, that is their only goal, to not come across as shy or ignorant – inside, they are cringing and praying that the date is going well, although focus has been lost and all hope of regaining some sort of control of the situation, unless the other party takes charge, has disappeared on this occasion.

Will they get a second chance? Their brain is screaming to sort a second date, time to gather themselves and ‘do better next time; but that dating site fluency has deserted them and they cannot even ask for the opportunity, that they doubt will come about anyway. Another chance blown, and they’ll be left to rue the consequences, quite vociferously through their finger-tips, when they write the world what a schmuck they were on ‘that date’ they’d been building up to for an age.

But will it be any better next time around? They sigh, think probably not, then log back on to their dating site and start the whole process over again.

Does that story ring any bells?  Don’t fear – help is at hand. In the next article, we’ll look at how planning, mental clarity and not assuming anything can help you overcome this very real experience that many, many singles experience on their first date.

Your handset says a lot about your dating habits – too much!

Guys and girls, it’s looking as if Android users are the app-friendly handset using equivalent of the Free Love movement of the late sixties, based on the results of the survey published in the last article, “Your handset says a lot about your dating habits – a lot!“, and this one just nails it: if you’re at a party and your stuck for a date, check out those with an Android device as 55%, again the highest percentage polled, stated that they would go for a one-night stand.

Now judge this aspect for yourselves, because it could be read two ways. When questioned about drinking when dating, an impressive 72% of Blackberry users said that they most certainly did. Another 67% of them have undying faith in love at first sight. Both ratings highest in their section. Now, does the alcohol make them see prospective partners with rose-tinted glasses when laying their eyes on their date for the first time? If so, are they looking for a long term relationship from the off, hence less likely to jump straight in the sack with them? Or do they just get so wasted they cannot remember whether they’ve actually gone all the way, or not? Mmm, tough call.

iPhones must be the choice of the professional, as they topped the ‘office romance‘ poll, with a quarter of them saying they’d seen someone from work at some point in the last five years. They are also most likely to keep their appointment to call you back after dating for the first time, whereas the other two device users would keep you waiting until you’d been out a few times before they thought it acceptable to see how their dating partner was doing between liaisons.

So, what does that say in a nutshell? If you want to a straight forward adult-dating type of liaison, straight in at the deep end, check out who’s carrying an Android. If you want to go out to have a great laugh and sink a few beers but risk your long term single life see who’s on the BBM network. And if you like things prim and proper and an almost officious relationship, the iPhone carrier’s the one for you. My wife’s got a HTC Wildfire – should I be worried, do you think?

Your handset says a lot about your dating habits – a lot!

With the amount of dating sites that now support an application-based version of their service, you may have guessed it wouldn’t be long before one of the big boys in the dating industry looked at how different members use their service on their mobile devices.

If you are familiar with the dating site industry at all, you may also have surmised that it would be Match.com who conducted that survey. Which brings up another interesting point about the highest-ranking dating sites, which we may get the chance to look at over the weekend, depending on what comes out of Miami between now and tomorrow. Anyway, so they did, using Canada as the soundboard for this particular little market research exercise.

Using Zoomerang to conduct the poll to avoid any bias towards the results, the mainstream dating site sampled over 1,000 smartphone users, not necessarily to see how they were using the service, but to try to gauge the dating profiles of users. In order to see if the type of device the singles used indicated any pattern in dating, there were some very tailored questions which did highlight peaks and troughs in enough detail to publish the following results.

Whichever type of handset was your first date‘s preference, you would have to count yourself unlucky if you ended the night without getting a piece of the action, it seems. Android users topped the ‘sex on a first date’ category, with 62% admitted to going all the way first time around, followed closely by 57% of iPhone users who polled a similarly equally lax attitude. However, less than half of Blackberry users went for it straight out of the traps with only 48% saying they’d scored on a first date.

Blackberry users continued to be the most reserved when it came to online dating, with exactly half of them saying they were active dating site users. Again, Android users topped the section with an amazing 72% of users admitting they were regular users of this type of facility and iPhoners were again middle of the road with 58% availing themselves of dating site platforms.

iPhone users and those on the BBM network did top some the aspects of dating; find out what you should be looking out for in a handset when you’re at the next house- or office-party; all revealed in “Your handset says a lot about your dating habits – too much!“, up next.

The first date – about me and you, not me and me

The whole purpose of a first date is to get to know the person you envisage may be your next partner. Whether you’ve met on your dating site or been introduced matters little; the rules for dating offline remain the same.

If you turn up to your date and all you do is talk all night (it can only really be about yourself as you know very little about your dating partner, only what you’ve been privvy to in private messages or from within the confines of the online dating platform upon which you’ve met), you will learn nothing about your partner. If you know nothing about them, how can you judge in retrospect whether you want to see them again?

To be honest, that decision may no longer be in your hands. If all you’ve done is relate tales of your own life, however fascinating it is to you, the chances are your partner zoned out at some point and you won’t be hearing from them again, anyway.

If you know you beforehand that you are the sort of person who rambles when they get nervous and you’ve had the jitters all day long, the first thing you need to do when you meet up with your date is tell them. Be honest from the off – think of a keyword that you can tell them to use when you do start to go off on one and explain why. If you mention to your date that you’ve been anxious about hooking up all day, it may serve to settle their nerves, too.

But don’t leave it all to them – if you notice you are talking about yourself too much, try to reign in your focus and concentrate on your date, the purpose of your mission!

However, it is important to get the balance right. Don’t clam up on purpose – if you have something to say, say it, but give your potential partner the opportunity to respond and listen to what they have to say. Otherwise, the whole affair will have been a pointless exercise. You may even come across as being arrogant, if you show that you’re choosing not to respond to something they’ve interjected.

You do not want your date leaving with the impression that you only commented on topics that you started or worse, that you seemed to have no interest in what they seemed passionate about, whatsoever.  Whether you are or not, you risk coming across as extremely self-centred.

This is also a danger if you you go on and on about your life and express no interest in theirs. It can be tricky as it is, finding things to say, but trying to temper your responses can take a few attempts to get the right balance for a cordial evening and getting the opportunity for that second date.

The hopes and fears of expectant singles

The #datingguruuk is back with another installment of why we Brits could do with a little helping hand when it comes to dating. Lots to get through, so straight into the mixer:

Take a chance on me

Fear of the unknown is one thing – it’s irrational, there’s very little reason to it. Like being scared of the dark: there’s nothing that’s metamorphosed just because you’ve turned out the light switch.

Rejection, however, can be a very real possibility. No matter how well you’ve developed your relationship on your dating site, when it comes to the crunch in reality, your date may just not be that in to you (metaphorically speaking – you should never let him get that far on a first date!). You have to prepare yourself for that possibility.

What you mustn’t do is let that tentativeness at least stop you from giving dating a go. It’s an absolute fact that nothing tangible will ever happen between you if you just stay online dating all your lives. Yes, you may not want to risk breaking up a cyberspace friendship but, in reality, if you get on that well on your dating site that you feel ready to date, you should at least have a decent time, no matter what the romantic outcome.

Don’t build your hopes up too high

The danger is, of course, that if you let your nerves build up to such an extent, you’ll also find that your expectations increment at a similar rate. Regain focus.

It may feel like such an achievement that you’ve actually asked your online partner to start dating, and it so is, but what may be a first time for you may be a regular jaunt for your newfound partner. It’s a first date you’re going on, not your honeymoon; keep it in perspective.

Love at first sight happens, but rarely

Your first date may have left you feeling a little deflated, it is usual. But that is usually because you set your expectation level too high in the first instance. If the birds aren’t singing his name or you’ve not started annoying your mates down the pub with hers yet, don’t panic – and certainly don’t judge someone on this basis.

Love is like a flower, a thing of natural beauty that takes time to root, nurture, grow and eventually blossom. If you got on well with your date, had plenty in common and don’t recall anything that rang any alarm bells, give the relationship the exposure it needs to bloom, its day in the sunshine, and see how you feel after the pressure of a first date is not hanging over you like a dementor.

Feeling ready to start dating, yet? A few more lessons tomorrow, then you should be done. See you then. x

Risk assessment and first date nerves

Online dating is great fun, despite what some ‘experts‘ in the field may tell you. From the safety of your own bedroom, you can e-mail, IM, even video conference as many people as you like as often as you want.

But what happens if you really like someone and want to take the relationship offline? Could you rattle for England on the web-cam, but feel tense about dating in the real world and then struggle to muster the conviction to go through with it?

Believe it or not, there are thousands of people who use dating sites simply to connect with other singles, have a bit of fun in the week when stuck at home after work, then take that experience out to their local bars and clubs at the weekend. That’s fine, if you want online penpals instead of risking meeting your fellow dating site members for a bit of a frolic on terra firma.

However, there are millions that do use their membership to start dating. It can take a while to build up the courage to ask that special someone out initially. But, after the first, tentative contact has been made, maybe even following up with an intimate chat or two on a one-to-one basis, both parties eventually feel safe enough to take their relationship just that little bit further and arrange that first date offline.

Assess the risks

More and more dating sites are vetting their members before allowing them to sign up to their sites, especially at the high-class end of the market. Some even have relationship experts who call an applicant and speak to them on a one-to-one basis before confirming acceptance and that the site can actually deliver what that hopeful single is looking for.

With reputation and conversion rates so important in online dating marketing, for those top of the range dating sites that demand high monthly fees in return for that extra special personal service, they will want to lead their advertising with fantastic success rates to entice other high-earners to join.

If you can afford that service, great. However, many of us can’t and we’re not only left with the job of assessing the risk but, unlike the sites that have personal relationship coaches to help plan your date for you, you have to do pretty much all of the groundwork yourself, particularly if you want the date closer to your home, with the added safety net of local knowledge – always advisable for women on their first few dates!

In the next article, we look at the aspects that can make your first date a roaring success, in an attempt to secure you that second liaison, and beyond.

Get back on track after breaking up 2

Carrying on from part 1, we conclude with a couple more tips to at least ensure that your first date secures a second. More than that, tips to help you identify possible timewasters, wrapped up in a long-since dead love affair, next to which you’ll have to live up to for the rest of your, or the relationship’s, days, whichever ends soonest.

Be upbeat and not too probing

The key to a good date, in the reconnaissance sense, is to get an overview of your potential partner. At this stage, you do not want to delve deep into any specifics, especially relationships. Would you like to be given the third degree about your divorce on the first date? Absolutely not.

Keeping the conversational tone light and positive will discourage your partner from throwing up barriers, giving you a truer sense of the real them than a guarded view if you take on the role of inquisitor.

Also, you want something to talk about next time. If you’ve done all of the positives to death first time around, the second date will end up focusing on the negatives.

It’s about the two of you

A bout of nervousness is usual for most people before any date, but even worse for those who have grown out of the habit of hooking up for the first time.

You may want to proclaim your new found freedom – you could go on for hours and you probably would – but you’ll be far better off taking stock, gauging feedback and allowing your partner to express themselves during every point of the evening.

It’s understandable that you want to make an impression, but allowing them to paint a picture of themselves as well as you daubing their walls with the colour ‘you‘ will ensure you can make a reasoned assessment of the evening and whether a second date is warranted.

Dating should be fun; try and stay relaxed (not seven sheets relaxed, though), keeping the objective in focus all the way. Be as honest as you can without giving too much away – there’ll be plenty of time for in depth psycho-analysis, if and when your relationship gets that far, down the line.

Getting to know the real them and giving them an insight to what makes you happy is imperative to long term happiness, in any relationship. Be true to yourself, accentuate positives and let them have their say.

If you’ve got it right, just said enough to get them hooked and given them chance to at least outline their profile and the second date is still on, then that’s job done; you can stop worrying what all the fuss was about and get ready for the second date.

Woman to woman

It’s interesting to see what commentators on online dating communicate to their own sex in the way of advice about the opposite sex. For those new to dating, on- or offline, the internet seems full of ‘good’ advice when, sometimes, you learn a longer lasting lesson by making the mistakes first, committing them to memory and, via the modem of self-awareness, use previous experiences as an alert when next put in a similar situation.

Reading through the news tonight, I came across a post by a young lady who literally did catalogue all the ‘dating don’ts‘ regarding how one’s behaviour on a first date may jeopardise a follow-up and how it really is important not to rest on your laurels and picture yourself walking down the aisle just because you’ve secured that second liaison.

I’ll relate them to you here in a sort of bullet-list type way; this is so as not to impart the sympathy I felt for the young poster who, reading between the lines, even if she did extract much of the information from one of thousands of online dating guides and tip articles, related the tale in such a manner as to leave the reader with the impression that she’d been there, done it and was sitting wearing the tee-shirt (and kiss-me-quick-type hat) as she wrote the article. Bless.

Watch what you say and do

At all times, during the first date, the objective, should the subject be worthy, is to secure the second date. You are communicating on all levels, subliminally and expressively – leave him with a good impression

Analyse and repeat

There will be times during the first date when you felt a real connection. What was it about those shared moments that made them memorable? Wash, rinse, dress those points up to the nines and repeat next time.

You’ve won the battle, not the war

Do not be a walkover. Even though you’re on a second or third date, this is not to be considered a relationship. Make him make the effort by not laying your life bear at this stage; stealth is still key.

Conversation for conversion

Keep the topics upbeat and light, focusing on the positive elements of you to which he reacted on the first date. Emphasise your own good points and, at this stage, all the bad-gunky should be left in an iron box locked away at the bottom of a cupboard. If conversation stalls, communicate with flirtatious smiles and smouldering, lingering looks that accentuate your femininity. Oh, and use gaps for listening, too.

Grab the issues, not the tissues

Women struggle to deal head-on with issues about her new man that may arise during the early stages of a relationship. These are generally the aspects of the male personality they think they can change later on. If you don’t like a mannerism, habit or belief, say so. His reaction will be a good insight into how he is prepared to do the other ‘c’ word, compromise. Commitment being the other, for those of you who were thinking otherwise, naughty!

Desperate needs and measures

If you are interested let him know subtly, not by flinging yourself at him or constantly calling/texting him. He’ll initiate further dates if he’s genuinely interested in you and will just get narked if you’re on his case all of the time.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer

Mr Right may take many, many dates to find – go on as many as you have to until you understand what it is that makes men feel good and how you can shape yourself into a woman men would die for. You will make mistakes and dating can mean a huge learning curve for those new to the concept. It’s important that you learn from them but don’t linger on them and definitely do not beat yourself up about it.

Just write it all down in an article, instead.

First date do’s and don’ts – for the two of you

After looking at the first date do’s and don’ts specific to each of the sexes, we will conclude this mini-series with a few hints and tips applicable to the two of you, the first time you take your online dating offline. This is general good advice and is applicable to any liaison when you’re first getting to know someone.

There are times, when you go on a first date, that you can leave and not remember an awful lot about the person you have spent the evening with. Did they hang on your every word or were you talking that much they didn’t even get a word in edgeways? Were they smitten and can’t wait for you to get in touch or are they not calling because you bored them rigid?

It is key that you pay attention to what your date is saying; to do that, you have to give them the chance. Here are a few tips to not only ensure you get the best from your first date, but also give you the best chance of securing that even more critical second encounter. Like buying a house, your first viewing is to test the water, the second is where you really get to know whether you could incorporate it in your lifestyle. Sadly, too few prospects get the second viewing.

The brief is to be brief
When you do talk, do not ramble. Even if you’re relating a chapter of your life (why, on a first date, is the real question), pause for breath. Droning on about yourself is poor form; even when writing, you will lose your audience (in this instance, a very selective one) if you do not interject something they can relate to. If you see a yawn, take the hint.

Be interested
Some people are generally submissive and lack confidence. Take the time to put them at ease, ask relevant questions about what they’ve said. Look them in the eye, engendering trust, building their confidence. Do not put them on a pedastal, however, to bring them crashing down by boasting that you’ve done what they’re proud of with a yak on your back.

Just no-no’s
Don’t invite them to appraise you. Not only may you not like the answer, but it unveils either egotistic undertones or insecurity; neither are positive. Past relationships are best left there whilst you’re trying to build the foundations of a new one. An ex is not a good cornerstone for your new relationship.

Leave a little in the tank
Don’t unburden everything on your new partner first time out – you’ll stand a better chance of keeping the lid on your life if you limit yourself to only a couple of drinks. You want to leave something to talk about next time out, not reveal a warts and all picture of your life to date.

If your date has been an unmitigating failure, say so there and then. You don’t need to go into details, but try and give them something positive to take away, from the night and to bolster their courage for their next attempt – just because they’re not your cup of tea, doesn’t mean they can’t make someone else happy. Conversely, if you’ve had a wonderful time, don’t automatically invite your partner home or ask for a second date. Allow suitable time to get in touch, 36 hours is the new en vogue waiting time from first date to follow up, and even longer for an after-date coffee, no matter how great the temptation.

First date do’s and don’ts – for her

Nobody is ever sure of how a first date will play out, least of all the two parcipants. Your online dating buddies may be gunning for you, but they can’t take your place when it’s just the two of you.

We’ve looked into why there are differnet rules for the sexes when it comes to dating; we’ve told the men how to do it. Now, here’s what we reckon is good for the gander…

There’s Catwoman and Cat Slater
There are times when a woman knows how to get what she wants, understands what little flash will have him on his knees, with his credit card and pin number there for the taking. The first date is not that time, unless you want to spend the evening looking at a bald patch as he says little to you, but his words are echoing plenty down your cleveage. Just a hint of what lies beneath is usually enough to secure a second date, where you can really get to work on his psyche, if that’s your aim. If not, why not?

Be natural
Assuming that you’ve suitably shackled away anything that will have him talking through his manhood rather than his mouth, he will want to look at your face. Men do not like the thought of women spending hours shovelling on ‘crap’ that men don’t understand just so that the woman can look like someone they’re not. More is less – enough to hide any minor blemishes and accentuate those outstanding features is bang on the money

Be natural
Let the guy pay, you know you wanna. Unless he’s been an insufferable bore and by paying your half that is your way of officially terminating the relationship, do not offer. If you genuinely want to buy the guy a drink or meal, the first date, when he’s trying to muster as much bravado as is within, is not the time or place to even mention another liaison.

He will try to be funny.
Although most men are only genuinely hilarious when they strip down to their underwear, they think they are all of the time. If it’s not absolutely too much, humour him on this one occasion, unless you reach the point where you feel like a donkey – you will automatically laugh, even when he’s trying to relate something tragic…

When will I see you again?
Do not mention round 2, even if it’s dropping hints on a film you wouldn’t mind seeing. First dates are carrot-danglers – the man being the ass, the carrot – well, we’ll leave you to work that out. Do not make yourself appear unnecessarily desperate or clingy or available – let him follow up.

Sex on a first date
All you need to know about men, sex and a first date is that: they will. If you want any intrigue to remain, don’t do it. For men, the challenge is over, job done, bring on player 2. It is that simple.

Arrive, date and leave with your purse and dignity in tact, even let him pay for the cab home if he offers. If you don’t make an effort or avail yourself too readily, there will be no second date. Men are really that simple.