1. Never go in with expectations. Like, any. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the odds that this bearded hipster who’s also into funny cat videos will whisk you away to the south of France to be wed on a beach while you’re holding a bouquet of daisies is just more than likely not going to happen. Nor are you going to happen upon the banker with a heart of gold. What you might find, however, is someone who is wiling to put in the work necessary for a real relationship. You should be that person, too.
2. Accept the fact that you’ll have to “kiss a lot of frogs”, as my mom likes to say. If I had a nickel for the amount of first dates I’ve been on that went absolutely nowhere I’d probably have at least $2.15. BUT if I had a nickel for the amount of first dates that ended in a substantial, loving relationship I would have exactly one nickel, and that’s something.
3. Be honest. There’s nothing worse than trying to maintain a lie. It could be something relatively small like pretending to like heavy metal music, or something much more difficult like pretending you’re two years older than you really are. Trust me, it never works out in the long run.
4. BE YOURSELF! Aw, flashbacks to your first grade teacher, am I right? But seriously, trying to be someone else is time-consuming and exhausting. Don’t try to cover up your weird snort-laugh thing you do because the right one will come along one day and will love you for the true weirdo you are.
5. If you’re actually into someone, message them first. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. This is 2014 and you are an independent, grown ass woman. Go after what you want! YOU ARE WOMAN, HEAR YOU ROAR. Sure, 8/10 guys will never reply to you. But I guarantee that the one or two that do will probably be more worth it in some way or another.
6. Let go of your ego. You’re going to be rejected, like, a lot. I’ve messaged guys, got the notification that they viewed my profile (because of course it notifies you), and then still never received a response. It can cause you to spin into a dangerous whirlwind of ‘OMG maybe I’m not attractive in an unconventional way but just actually ugly?!!?’. Be calm and know that every second, at least 15,000 people dating online are being rejected*.
*Not a real statistic, but probably true.
7. Only message people you’re actually into. Seems obvious, right? Wrong. Do you know how many people I’ve responded to when I had virtually no intention of ever meeting them in person but they crafted such a well thought out message I just thought they deserved a response? THEN I just hope they get bored with me, or I slowly start to respond less and less until it dies in the abyss that is online dating? Yeah, don’t do it. Just tell them you’re not interested.
8. Be less judgmental. I give ALMOST everyone the benefit of the doubt. I once went out with a guy three times even though we had absolutely no chemistry or fun things to talk about because he seemed like a “nice guy”. Three dates might be a little extreme, but in reality, try not to stereotype people online before you meet them in person. Because, ya never know.
9. HAVE FUN! Even if you go on a date where he’s clearly high on a very much illegal substance, and proceeds to tell you about how his ex is accusing him of giving her genital warts, you might not be having fun NOW but you’ll definitely be having fun when your coworkers laugh their asses off at this story on Monday.
10. Don’t lose hope. You might think after your fourth, fifth, or 18th failed attempt at dating online that you are destined for a lifetime alone with your cat watching re-runs of Golden Girls on cable. Try not to reach that dark place too often. Hold out hope that one day you’ll go on a first date that’s only mildly awkward with a guy who makes you laugh, and maybe that first date will turn into two, or three, or forever.