Online Dating Disasters: How To Have a Great First Date by @TheDivaofDating

It’s your first date. There’s a mix of excitement and anticipate as you wait for him or her to arrive. Someone walks in the door; he looks vaguely familiar. Is this the guy? Not what you were expecting?

Sometimes people lie to us, to put it bluntly. They shave off a few or a lot of years from their age. They fail to let us know they’ve gained 50 pounds or lost most of their hair.

Or worse, they’re so far off from what we want in a date that we can’t imagine how to get through the next 15 minutes, much less a whole dinner.

What do you do? You want to excuse yourself and crawl out the bathroom window but that’s just bad manners. You want to push the panic button on your phone so your best friend will call and give you an excuse to end the date.

Dating can be like that when you’re over 50 or any age really. What we see on online dating sites is often a half-truth. He looks good from a far—but the photo is 10 years old. She’s a V-P, one of 50 at the small regional business where she worked last year. The list of interests are more about “If I could” than an actual reflection of day-to-day activities.

Dating profiles are designed to attract.  Very few of us are willing to share our emotional flaws, bad days and hang-ups at this point. This is our sales pitch—our promo. The dating profile often undergoes a process similar to cosmetic touch ups.

People frequently ask,  “How do I really know if he’s going to be the right one for me?” Short answer—you don’t. But there are ways for you to get a better sense of your potential date before you get to the ‘in-person’ phase.

Easy steps to follow before your first date:

  1. Start off with a few emails on the dating site. Keep the conversation on neutral ground and see how he responds. Does he answer questions, respond appropriately and share interesting tidbits about himself?  I got an email from a cute younger guy not long ago. He was hot looking, in his 30’s and seemed eager to get to know me. BUT… His first email wasn’t even a complete sentence and he used “U” in place of you. The second email asked if I’d ever had sex with a younger guy. End of conversation.
  2. Take a little time to get to know this person. Resist the urge to schedule a date too quickly. Be a little suspicious of someone who wants to move so fast.
  3. After you’ve exchanged a few emails suggest a phone call. Ask for his number and tell him you’ll call from a blocked number. You really don’t want a complete stranger to have your phone number, right? If he refuses or fails to understand your need to use caution, then he’s not worth your time.
  4.  If the phone call goes smoothly it’s time to set the first date.  Daytime is better, coffee or lunch is ideal as they’re for a shorter period of time. If you really hit it off you can schedule more together.

If you follow these steps you’ll be able to weed out the guy who isn’t your type, most of the time.  It doesn’t always work. The great conversationalist on the phone could turn out to be the guy who lied about height and age and spends the entire dinner meeting talking about his second (of three) wives and how often they had sex. Loudly, in a crowded restaurant. Comparing himself to Wilt Chamberlin. (yep, I don’t always follow my own rules!)

Be polite if things don’t work out on your first date

If you tried all these steps and you find yourself at dinner with someone you have absolutely no desire to date, be gracious. Try and figure out how to get through the meal. Order something simple and skip drinks and appetizers. I also let them know that I have later plans as a way of signaling my intention.  Another tactic is to be honest, tell them you don’t feel that there is any chemistry or attraction and cut the evening short. He or she may feel the same way and appreciate your honesty.

You are going to have at least one of these bad dates at one point. Consider it a learning experience. Sometimes there is no way to avoid it so you just have to find the humor or lessons in the experience. You can set ground rules, talk about honest, open sharing, ask questions and hope for a good outcome. And, when it doesn’t work….you just have to sit back and try to enjoy the moment.

What tricks do you have for getting to know prospective dates?

Walker Thornton bio: Walker is a freelance writer. Her blog, The Diva of Dating (link:, offers tips, resources and stories for the over50 crowd. Follow her on Twitter, @TheDivaofDating (link:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Singles Warehouse February 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I love your easy 4 steps! Perfect.


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