When you’re meeting someone you’ve never met before for dinner or drinks, and you’re the first to arrive, where do you wait for them? For example, a blind date or someone from an online dating site – anything like that where you aren’t arriving together. It can be awkward enough going out with someone that you’ve never actually met in person before, and worrying about how you’re going to know it’s them or not makes it even more nerve wracking. You hope and pray – or at least I do – that they get there first and somehow make it very clear that they’re the one you’re meeting so that you don’t have to awkwardly look around for them, or worse, approach the wrong person while your real date watches. I literally have had nightmares where I’ve had to walk up to every guy in the bar to find out, “are you David?” It’s horrifying and I don’t recommend it in real life.
A friend of mine told me a story about a girl from Match.com who he was meeting at a restaurant. She arrived before he did and apparently did not make herself too visible. Plus, he said that “every woman in the restaurant looked so similar to the photos of her,” making it even more difficult to recognize which one was her. So he stealthily went back outside of the restaurant and called her to tell her that he had just arrived and to ask if she had made it yet. Thankfully, this worked exactly as he had planned because she offered to come meet him outside.
I seem to remember, in movies and TV shows when I was growing up, that the guy would tell the girl, “I’ll be the one in the blue shirt with the single red rose.” But in real life, every guy is in a blue shirt, and no one has a rose.
Called a blind date to set up a meeting at a restaurant. I said, “I’ll be the one in the leather jacket.” She said, “I’ll be the one drinking sake.” Turned out it was one of those biker-sushi places. We never met. - comedian Steven Wright
So maybe you look for the one guy who is alone – maybe he’s checking his phone or his eyes are bolting back and forth to the restaurant entrance because he’s looking for you as well. Ideally, the guy will wait outside of the restaurant, or at least right at the hostess stand. If the place isn’t crowded, it’s acceptable to wait at the bar, as long as it’s facing the entrance so you can keep an eye out and so you’re easily spotted when you’re date does arrive. It’s also become more common for the person who arrives first to text their date to let them know where they’re waiting - for example, “hey I just got here, I’ll wait right inside the door for you.”
So there you have it. I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rule on this, but I really want to know what you think!
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