Your First Meeting

You've done it. You've met a girl you're interested in, engaged in some cyber flirting, talked several times over the phone, and agreed to meet. How can you ensure that she feels comfortable and safe meeting a man she's only chatted online with?

S Always meet in a public place. Often, it can be best to arrange a meeting during the daytime so that things feel more comfortable. Don't feel offended if she wants to provide her own transportation. (Avoid asking her back to your house until the second date for security reasons.)

S Suggest coffee. There's no better place for a first date than a coffee shop. Why? Unlike dinner, meeting for a coffee is short, sweet, and to the point. If you click, great—make another date. If you don't click, you don't have to suffer long.

S Agree on a signal to recognize one another. I know one guy who always dresses in the same clothes that he has on his profile photo. Another guy tells his dates that he'll be wearing a particular team's baseball cap. Carry cell phones and have one another's numbers in case you arrive and can't find one another.

S Avoid alcoholic drinks. The first time you meet one another, it's best to steer clear of alcoholic drinks. Being clear-headed is essential for that first date.

> Realize that both of you are going to be nervous. Especially if it's your first date with a girl you've met online—or if it's her first date with a guy she's met online—you're going to feel strange, to say the least. Confess your situation, and laugh about it!

S Be warm, engaging, and non-threatening. If she seems nervous, make sure you're always in close proximity to other people so that she feel safe. Make sure to speak in a quiet, gentle tone and avoid any aggressive direct eye contact. Sit back in an easy, relaxed posture. Talk about your family or your neices and nephews to reassure her that you're an average guy. Remember that she simply may be shy and need to relax around you first.

S Keep the conversation flowing. Review her profile beforehand and brainstorm a list of conversation topics based on what she put on her profile. If you're stuck for conversation topics, it's always a great starter to joke about the online dating experience. (Avoid talking about all the "weirdos" you've met, though. Be funny, not negative or judgmental.)

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