It can be a little nerve-wracking and daunting when you meet someone online and decide to take it to the next level and meet up with them in person. Up until then, you've been able to banter by email, texts and phone calls - but now it's time for a face to face.
This requires even more courage as your first impression will often make or break your chances of getting another date. So here are some helpful tips that will boost your confidence going into a first date...
1) Avoid a wardrobe malfunction
It all starts with what you choose to wear. This is not the time for trying something completely new or out of your comfort zone. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable in your clothes. Instead, go with an outfit that makes you feel great and gives you a sense of control. When you look good, you feel confident - so go with something that you trust.
2) Take care of your grooming
The little things matter - and in this case - pay attention to your grooming. Spend some time addressing up your nails, your hair, your stubble, your legs, your teeth and bring some mints to keep your breath fresh. This will make you feel confident and you can focus on the other person and the conversation rather worrying about your appearance.
3) Meet up in a familiar setting
You'll have plenty of time to explore new places with this potential love interest. Right now you want the first date to go as well as possible and that means choosing to have it in a place that you're comfortable with. Plan to meet up at a café, bar or restaurant that you know well. It gives you less to worry about on the date ' and will reduce those first date nerves.
4) Think about some questions
You don't want to over-plan the first meeting - but take some time to think about some general questions that you can ask your date. People love talking about themselves, so have a couple of opening lines that you might use to find out more about their work, interests, friends, health and fitness, living arrangements, travel experience etc.
5) Focus on your strengths
It's very easy to get caught up in nerves and lose sight of just what a great person you are to go out with! So, think about what makes you so good at relationships and your best five personality traits. If this is a bit of a struggle, then think about what your friends might say about you and your strengths. This will create a positive mindset for the first date.
6) Let your friends cheer you on
When you start to feel flustered about the upcoming date, there's no better time to turn to your friends and get their support. They can build you up, give your perspective and provide you with some positive feedback that will help calm you down and give you strength. They may also have some helpful tips that can get you in the right head-space for making a great first impression.
7) Take the pressure off
Dating is a numbers game. Not everyone you meet is going to be perfect for you. So go into this meeting knowing that your focus is to have fun and increase your social networks. If there's chemistry - great. If not, don't take it personally. You're simply meeting new people and having fun along the way. In time, you'll find someone who is a great fit for you - so sit back and enjoy the ride.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 9's series Married At First Sight, and the ABC doco Making Couples Happy. He is also the author of the book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)