I love the idea of online dating. It can be as casual or as serious as you want it to be. Truthfully, as long as you’re being honest and safe, there are no real “rules” for the dating world – just find someone who’s into the same stuff you are, and lock her down. (Note: This step should not be taken literally. Do not lock up your dates, that’s rude.)
But many people (wisely) refuse to make things “official” or “committed” if it only exists in the digital world. After all, there are so many opportunities for wasted time and broken hearts with online dating. It can be all too easy to hide your “real world life” from your “internet life”, and vice versa. While online dating doesn’t imply cheating, nor do most people cheat online, it’s still a real possibility and it isn’t a surprise that some people don’t want to risk it.
So… What do you do if you want to take things offline and into the real world? We’ve got a few ideas for you.
Don’t bother with any of those old waiting games.
It used to be that you were “expected” to wait three days after you get her number before trying to make a date. Back in those days, it was also “expected” that a missed call would probably go unnoticed for a few days – not everyone had caller ID, an answering machine, and a stock of cute little stickers in a handheld package right in their pocket. (Yes, I’m definitely talking about your cell phone right now.)
If she gives you her number, text her! Not only does this prove that you’re actually interested and not just number-collecting (yes, that’s a thing), but it also shows that you’re interested in actually making things serious. Don’t worry about rules on how much you should talk or how long you should wait. Don’t bug her all day long, but don’t wait for her to forget about you before you make your first move.
Bring up your shared interests – and make an activity out of it.
It makes sense that, if your online fling is going well, you’ve already established common interests. These interests probably shouldn’t be limited to food, sex, or drugs. (Coffee shops or bars are also not great first date ideas, because they’re cliché and technically both alcohol and caffeine count as drugs.) Find something else that the two of you both enjoy, and find a way to ask her to do it.
One of the perks of online dating, after all, is the ability to know a person much more deeply than you would if you met at a bar or a concert. After all, you’ve got a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, and the ability to chat before making any plans. Once you’ve established the right type of plans, go for it! (And, if you can’t find common interests from her profile, chances are you won’t have a lot in common – so move onto the next one.)
If you have similar tastes in music, invite her to a concert.
Of course, this one can be a bit weird, since most in-demand concert tickets will need to be bought far ahead of time – which can be awkward. But, if she’s local, and interested in a local band you love (or you think she’ll be into them, based on other shared musical interests), it doesn’t hurt to ask. Worst case scenario, the concert scene isn’t her thing, but she might be willing to bring up an alternative idea that embraces a love of music.
It can be pretty expensive to buy an extra ticket to a big-name show, not to mention the need to purchase in advance. This can make things awkward if a) she says no, or b) you ask her to a concert that ends up being sold out before you can get the tickets. Use caution when offering this one up.
If she has pictures of herself running, playing basketball, etc. – make a date out of that!
Local sporting events and races can be a great no-strings-automatically-attached first date idea, if both of you are into physical fitness. If she’s interested in marathons, suggest one that’s coming up, and make it clear that you’d be willing to pay her entry fee if she wanted (but definitely don’t push it if she’s uncomfortable with that – marathons can be expensive). If she likes to play basketball, offer a one-on-one game in the park for a free (and physically active) date idea that’s sure to be fun.
Plus, with the latter, you’ll have the benefit of being able to get to know each other even further. It doesn’t really have to be basketball, either. Any sport that can easily be turned into a one-on-one game with both people in close proximity is an amazing idea for an active date that enforces your physical strength. (And besides, who doesn’t like seeing a woman in a jersey of some type?)
Make plans with her – not for her.
The most important thing to remember when dating (online and in the real world) is that any relationship you may have needs to be built on actual similarities, and not just a void that “needs” to be filled. This date isn’t just for you, and it isn’t just for her, so by choosing something that you both will enjoy, you greatly increase the chances that things are going to work out. When in doubt, ask her what she’d like to do, and do your best to make it happen.
Remember that not all women appreciate being “spoiled”, so if she wants to pay her own way, it doesn’t automatically mean that she’s not interested in you – she could just be protecting herself from the embarrassment of “owing” you. Besides, the days when one person paid for everything are all but gone now – get with the times!
More than just paying, though, it should be a matter of mutual interests and mutual respect. It’s just as important that she be entertained by the date as it is for you to get the date. And besides, would you rather have just a first date, or a real relationship? The difference could be as simple as letting her have a say in what you do.