You have met someone on Catholic Singles and have talked. You have agreed to meet in person. Great!
If you are new to dating, or new to dating Catholics, you may be wondering what approach to take.
How should you dress? Should you show up with flowers? Do you compliment the person? Should you act traditional or casual or formal?
This blog post will address these and other topics for how to survive that first date.
If you try to be someone you are not, you will not be able to maintain that long-term. If you act like you are trying too hard you will come across as inauthentic.
No matter what kind of background the other person has, don’t lie by pretending to be someone that you’re not. If they like you for who you are, then it works! If they don’t, it doesn’t work.
Don’t worry, not every Catholic is the same. There is not just one mold to fit into. Be yourself and you will be the right person for someone.
Always Keep Your Safety First
For anyone meeting an Internet stranger, there are obvious safety concerns. Men and women should exercise precautions.
Be sensitive to the fact that there may be a trust issue. Individuals may use online pseudonyms to protect their identities from Google searches. Showing your date your driver’s license may be a step towards starting the date with honesty and transparency.
Men, please keep in mind that women may be uncomfortable having a man they just met walk them to their car. Show your dates that you are concerned with their safety. Ask if your date feels comfortable with you walking her to her car. If not, you could ask your date to text you to let you know she reached her car safely.
For women, if you are concerned about safety then speak up. We have all felt that creepy feeling. If your radar is up, then stay in a public place and call or text a friend to meet you. It is only natural to want to protect your own safety.
Feel comfortable sharing your concerns with your date. Perhaps your date will be able to find a way to make you feel more comfortable. If not, then this is likely not the right person for you.
Give Yourself Flexibility to Extend the Date
If things go well when you meet you may not want the date to end. Set a timeframe in your schedule that will allow you to have a buffer if you want more time. Setting a definite meeting timeframe will also help if things are not working out and you would like to end the date.
Should You Buy Flowers for a First Date?
Flowers are not necessary on a first date, especially for a simple meet and greet, but they generally won’t hurt. Bringing flowers can be a sign of thoughtfulness and planning.
Perhaps consider flowers for a second date, or if you are really excited about the first date and want to make a great first impression.
As an alternative, if your date mentioned a special devotion, such as to a particular saint, you could also consider bringing a small relevant token.
Look Ahead: Do You Think You Want a Second Date?
While you are on your initial date keep tabs on how you are feeling. Do you want to learn more about this person? Did time fly by? Are you unsure of your date’s interest?
Asking for a second date at the end of the first date will send the message that you think things are going well, and shows interest and enthusiasm. On the other hand, if you can tell right away that you are incompatible and would rather not spend more time on the date, planning a second date with the idea that you would cancel later is not being honest.
Be Honest, But Stay Guarded
Share things about yourself that you want your date to know. Be careful of being too honest and sharing too much. This may be a turn-off. Go with your gut.
Complimenting your date is a good way to get off on the right foot, especially if it is genuine. Find something about your date that is appealing. Avoid comments about physical attributes that may be interpreted as sexually suggestive. Generally speaking, focusing on the shoulders should be safe.
Get to Know Your Date: Ask Questions
Don’t talk constantly. Some people like to talk about themselves and making conversation with them will be easy.
For others, a good way to get someone talking is to ask questions and listen. Keep asking questions about your date’s life until you figure out what your date is passionate about.
Perhaps you will find something in common this way, and if not you may learn something new.
How to Dress Appropriately
Dress appropriately for the venue. Consider where you are going on your date. Wear clothing that is comfortable and that you feel yourself in. A good rule of thumb is to dress up rather than dressing down.
Use common sense —don’t wear a suit if your plan is to go on a hike. Appropriate footwear is necessary. For women, don’t wear heels if there is a possibility of a long walk or inclement weather.
What Should You Do About Physical Contact?
Everyone is going to have different levels of comfort with this one. Some people show affection by physical touch. Physical signs are definitely a way that many people flirt with one another. However, others may be very uncomfortable with physical contact with someone they have just met.
Handshakes and a hand on the shoulder or back would likely be fair game. Once you move to the courtship phase, you could move towards short hugs and hand-holding, but not on the first date.
If you know you are not ready for physical contact then be upfront about that. Otherwise, if you tense up then it may send the message that you are not interested. Be aware of the physical cues that you may be sending, and at the same time pay attention to the physical cues you are receiving.
Finally, Just Have Fun!
Don’t ruin a date with expectations. Having low or no expectations will allow you to focus on meeting someone new, and having fun. Even if your date turns out not to be the one for you, have fun anyways.
Challenge yourself to learn something new. You may also end up with a new friend.