The best way of meeting anyone online for the first time is (common sense) a public place. My preference is grabbing some coffee and letting some conversation flow. You can usually get a good base reading on whether you want to see this person again or not. If the conversation isn’t good, then you can leave and just pretend it never happened. The more informal the better, I believe. Don’t dress up in the nines. Just go as casual yourself. You’ll know that they will like you for you, and not just a mask of you.
The basic rules I go by with meeting for the first time is:
1) 60 minutes minimum. 90 minutes maximum.
Granted I had a couple dates that I wish never ended. I wanted to stay out the entire night with this person, we clicked that much! But it’s best to end on a good note and schedule another date while being anxious and excited to see each other again than to be already bored of someone.
2) No sit down and eating!
Getting coffee is a great way of meeting someone and seeing if there is chemistry. If things go bad, you just have to down a cup of coffee… you’re not trapped at a dinner table waiting for your entree, crawling out of your skin. If you need something to play with your hands, think of an arcade setting, or even a small art gallery. Something fun and light. But again, be out of there in a hour. That is key.
3) Public meeting, no excuses!
This person might be the most incredible person in the world…online. That doesn’t mean they are in person. Meet somewhere in public. And make sure you let a friend know as well. Not only for safety, but if the person you are meeting is human sandpaper, you can get a way out. Harsh, but true.
4) Have fun! Even if you aren’t, try to!
I think the best dating advice I can give is to have fun. Even if you don’t, you’ll have a good story afterwards, so just enjoy the ride!