In case you need to make a quick and clean getaway, having cash on hand lets you throw down your half of the bill and then jet. Looking for an ATM at bill time or waiting around for a server to bring the debit machine won't be fun if all you're thinking about is getting home to watch Boardwalk Empire with your dog and a bowl of popcorn.
Committing to dinner or even lunch means you'll have to stick around for at least an hour or two, depending on where you're dining. That means if your date is not at all what you expected, waiting around for a server to bring your food, going through the motions of apps, drinks and dinner and then waiting for the bill can all be a pretty torturous process. Instead, go for coffee in the late afternoon or evening — something that leaves the opportunity for continuing the date if you want to, but bowing out won't be a huge statement either.
After all, you've never met this person before, and the internet is an unpredictable place. Always meet in a public location and tell someone where you are. Then you'll feel more safe, and you'll have someone to call and vent to after the date if it goes horribly awry. This is really important. A failed online date can be either depressing or really hilarious. It's all about how you look at it at the end of the day. Having a pal to laugh about it with will always ensure it's the latter.
Go in with the attitude that you'll never see the person again. This way you won't put any pressure on yourself, and you won't have super-high expectations. You'll be doing it just for the fun of it. You'll be able to live as if this night won't have huge consequences. Which, in reality, it won't. By going in with the mentality that what you do tonight truly doesn't matter, you'll be able to have a good time and live for the moment. This is what dating is all about.
The best way to prepare for meeting your online date is to clear your mind. Don't worry about rehearsing talking points and witty jokes or coming across in any specific way. Check your day at the door, and just focus on clearing your mind. Only when you're present will you be able to have fun and see if you really like the person you're with. If you want, review your messages for a boost beforehand to refresh your memory and put you in the right mindset.
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