First In-Person Meeting with an Online Date

Here’s a tip for people over 50 looking for dates online: Don’t mistake the coffee meeting for a first date! Think of it as more of a job interview for both of you.

You have a very limited time to make an impression, so you need to get on the right track and know how to change the conversation if it starts to veer into dark or trivial subjects. Here are some do’s and don’ts for this first exchange:

  • Do smile, laugh, and be pleasant.

  • Do talk about why you liked the person’s profile.

  • Do talk about some similarity between the two of you that you discovered from the profile.

  • Do mention something really interesting about you. For example, floating the Grand Canyon last summer, tutoring inner-city kids, and so on.

  • Do listen a lot and make sure you ask questions about what the person says and what’s listed in the person’s profile.

  • Don’t talk about your ex.

  • Don’t talk about something bad that’s just happened to you, even if it happened on the way to the coffee!

  • Don’t agree with everything the other person says, unless you really do. People are looking for an authentic person, and though they want to have things in common, they don’t want to feel manipulated.

  • Don’t let this meeting go on too long, even if it’s going well. Make sure the other person doesn’t feel pressured to stay longer.

This isn’t only you in a job interview; you’re interviewing the other person too. Make sure you get enough information about the person to come to some conclusions about whether you’d like to see him again.

Keep the meeting to 20 minutes, or half an hour tops. Set the time limit in advance and make sure you tell the person that you have something to do afterward.

You can always have another meeting if it’s a real match, but you need a pleasant way out if the meeting is nice but you’re not interested in the person — or not so nice and you can’t wait to get out of there!

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