Is It Time to Meet In Person (for the first time)?
" Timing is critical, as with everything else in life "First dates are always fraught with anxiety, particularly blind dates of any kind. Meeting an online friend face-to-face does qualify as a first date, although you have technically been getting to know them or mildly flirting for a while. Timing is critical here, as with everything else in life, romance and dating. When you do decide to meet someone in real life-what next?
Assess the potential
Before you decide to take that next big step with a fellow cyberdater, ask yourself a few questions: what do you know about each other? (You could tack on a "for sure" there, but it might just encourage doubts.) What are the things that you like or dislike about your online chats with this person? Do you have chemistry? What are your reservations, if any?
Wait for a while
Absolutely wait to get to know the person beyond their profile, to get a sense of their conversational style and personality before making a big leap into this potentially murky territory. You should also wait a bit to see if they mention something incongruous that does not fit the claims in their profile.
Don't wait too long
Also, do not wait too long to meet your online date. Don't wait until there is nothing left for you to surprise each other. Keep some things to yourself to share on your first few real-life dates. If you chat online too long, you will give it all away and take away some of the allure of such relationships, which is all in the mystery. Certainly, don't wait until you develop a strong emotional connection with the other person. While the "freedom" and neutrality of internet conversations allows people to express their personality, sometimes they may be off-putting to you physically. The letdown will be painful to both of you and unfair to the other side. Also, sad to say, sometimes the intimacy you feel with someone you have not yet met can be illusory.
Keep the first date low-key
Find a low expectations activity and setting. Do not choose anything that entails a great expense of time or money. If you can find something you both like, great, but beware of dates that are too activity-oriented. The point is not to beat people at beach volleyball or win money off them at poker. It is to get to know them in the context of a shared interest. You have to be able to talk to them, so consider the noise and the effects of alcohol and eliminate loud clubs and bars. Also, avoid places where you know everyone. It is unfair to put the other person to the test on your turf. Try to have an escape hatch just in case.
Prepare for the worst...
Even if your date is not married, a poster child for false advertising, or horribly ill groomed and smelly, it is still possible to feel let down. No surprise, because someone who is scintillating on email might still have unfortunate tics, a grating voice, disproportionate body, or any number of features that are turn-offs in real life. It is also possible that the person simply lacks spark, or that the two of you just do not have chemistry. It is all a learning experience, so have fun with it, no matter what the outcome.
... and the best
Be prepared for someone you thought was just a potential two-dater or worse, to knock your socks off. Sometimes even when people seem just average or not too prepossessing in photographs, you might share brilliant chemistry with them. That is what this whole internet-dating is all about.