When it comes to seeking a partner, more and more people are choosing to use the Internet. There can be many reasons for using a free dating site but top of this list must be the sheer convenience of getting to know other singles simply by consulting their profiles in your web browser.

At this stage in any courtship the atmosphere is congenial and relaxed. Whether they are accessing the site or app via your computer or smart device, it’s all about getting to know the person at the other end of your messages, gradually building a rapport. But sooner or later couples will want to make the leap from being involved in a virtual romance to making a connection in the real world.

This is one of the trickiest aspects of online dating because it can be very easy to present a distorted image of yourself when communicating in a chat room. There may be a temptation to exaggerate certain aspects of your private life so you seem more interesting to the person you’re opening up to. So how do you ensure this transition from the online to offline environment is so smooth your first date will be amazing?


It may seem like a no-brainier but always be honest and open when approaching online dating. When some people get immersed in a website they can get carried away with trying to impress other users in the hope they’ll attract winks or messages. Always remember if you do click with someone, the next stage in your relationship will be meeting them in the flesh. How do you expect them to react upon seeing you for the first time if their image of you is based on that 10-year old photo you’ve used for your profile?

Your description should be enough to draw in any potential love interest. So don’t mention you’re a keen skydiver just to give you an edge of excitement if the reality is climbing ladders make you giddy. There is a well-worn saying ‘the truth will out’ and this is so true when making wild claims to describe ourselves. You don’t want to be starting on the wrong foot when you eventually get together by admitting you’ve been telling lies. Your partner won’t know if you can be trusted.

First date location

Much as gender equality is a widely-held aspiration, when it comes to dating etiquette a lot of women prefer men to act chivalrous. So there would be nothing wrong in the guy inviting his virtual companion out somewhere for a get-together. The essence of the online chats you’ve been having up to this point will be a good indicator about the type of venue to suggest.

Perhaps your conversations have been bubbly and flirty, and the obvious destination for continuing in this spirit would be somewhere fun-packed, such as a bowling alley or a trip to a theme park. There is always the perennial option of inviting your new partner out for a drink or two; while this is hardly out of the ordinary it is a staple choice for many reasons, not least the fact alcohol has a habit of creating a party vibe and lowering inhibitions.

On the other hand, you might well get the impression your online connection is already developing into something meaningful, deserving more than a few drinks in a pub. Then you can pull out all the stops and book a table at an exclusive restaurant for a sumptuous meal washed down with fine wine. And forget feminism for a moment and ensure you foot that first bill!