First Date Horror Stories
Online dating can open you up to all sorts of potential romantic connections, but you must be on your guard because bad dates can happen too. Don't rush too quickly to meet in person; if you get to know the person a little better, hopefully you will be able to avoid some of the worst examples of disastrous first dates. At the very least, make sure that you meet in a public place to begin with and that you arrange for a friend to call you 10 or 15 minutes into the date so that you have an easy escape if you think you need it. With some planning and a dash of good luck, you can avoid these disasters.
Some people have a wonderful rapport on instant messenger but then find that on the first date, communication is awkward. Maybe one person is argumentative or talks too much or refuses to say anything at all. To avoid this problem, don't set up a date until the two of you have talked on the phone a couple of times. That will give you a much clearer idea of how you might communicate in person, and if the phone conversations are consistently bad, don't schedule a date, or at least go into the date with lowered expectations.
Getting Too Physical
Set very clear boundaries from the beginning as to what your expectations are regarding physical intimacy. If need be, put it in writing and agree on it ahead of time, then take it with you on the date, tucked away in case things begin to go further physically than you are comfortable with. Some people are so desperate for physical affection that they will initiate heavy contact on the first date, and if you are not prepared for that, it can be very uncomfortable. No matter how respectful a person seems online, prepare for the possibility that hormones will take over when you are together in person and have a strategy to deal with that.
Make sure that you both agree on what your first date should involve ahead of time. Some people have very particular interests and tailor a first date to themselves when it's something the other person does not enjoy at all. For instance, one person may love hard rock and take the date to a hard rock concert, when the other person has sensitive ears and is nervous around big crowds. Always agree on the itinerary ahead of time, and don't allow any last-minute changes. You could find yourself in a very unsuitable situation. A reasonable date will accept that you should be doing something that appeals to you both.
These are just a few pitfalls that you may encounter if you are looking to take online dating to the offline level. First dates between online matches are frequently fun and even magical, but using a few simple precautions can save you a lot of hassle and regret in your future dating efforts.