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How to manage expectations when meeting an online date for the first time


In the Netflix smash hit, You, bookstore owner, Joe Goldberg, meets the beautiful author, Beck. Assuming that Beck is the love of his life, Joe obsessively pursues the relationship with murderous consequences.

The one or just another one?

Whilst most of us are unlikely to end a relationship by framing a respected Doctor for murder, most of us have, at one time or another, been guilty of the ‘You Syndrome’ - particularly when dating online. We know how it goes, you swipe right and, before you know it, you’re messaging back and forth with your potential soul mate. As you swap hopes and dreams via cyberspace, you’ll no doubt progress to telephone conversations and then, fanfares and drum rolls, an actual real life meeting. At this stage, it’s easy to get carried away - after all, you’ve clicked (quite literally) online and you both love mac n cheese and Harry Potter - surely that means that you’re made for each other! Up to now, your conversations have been online - which means that you’re both on your best behaviour and, you have time to carefully craft those witty and thoughtful messages. Now that it’s time to actually meet face to face, you’d be forgiven for feeling optimistic and, perhaps, a tad realistic. He or she may well be wonderful but they’re not perfect - because nobody is. Here’s how to manage your expectations on that first date - and to progress to a second one.

Online You - the physical thing

So, you’ve seen pictures of your date, which means that you know exactly what he or she looks like, right? Great looking, well dressed and well groomed equals exactly your type.

Offline You - the physical thing

As you well know, we all choose to publish photographs which show us in our best light - you do this and, so does your date. It may turn out that your date is packing a little more weight than in their picture or, that they have a facial tick that you weren’t expecting.

If your date looks a little different to their photograph, try to see beyond this if you can. Like yourself, they’ve presented themselves in the best light online but, at the end of the day, you’re not dating a photograph.

Online You - the opinions

One of the things you loved about your online date was the fact that he or she generally agreed with you on certain topics and rarely offered a dissenting opinion. A match made in Heaven!

Offline You - the opinions

In reality, your date may not necessarily share every single one of your opinions and may even directly oppose some of them. Argumentative!

It’s true; your date may not share all of your opinions - and you wouldn’t want them to. It’s likely that he or she avoided contradiction during your online chats to avoid putting you off. A successful relationship is about two people who often have opposing views - if you can embrace this, you may find that this fledgeling relationship has a real chance.

Online You - the manners

When talking online, your date was a perfect gentleman / lady and would never dream of swearing or using rough language.

Offline You - the manners

In reality, your date’s potty mouth makes it difficult to actually concentrate on what they’re saying.

This one, to be honest, is about deception - your date clearly understood that the way to your heart wasn’t swearing like somebody who has just stood on several lego bricks in bare feet and so made a conscious effort to tone down the language. Sadly, this one may be a deal breaker if you can’t imagine introducing them to your friends and family.

We’ve all been disappointed by an online date but, the key here is to understand that our online and offline personas are different. Weigh up the great bits of each to find out if the important bits match - and then proceed to that all important second date!



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