When you’re using an online dating app such as Tinder, there comes a point where you have to make a decision about whether to take the connection you have with another person from the digital realms of an online match and subsequent conversation, to a real-world meeting. That’s assuming you want something more tangible and real to emerge from this online encounter, of course.
The problem for many is properly judging when the right time is to take that step, as well as judging whether or not it’s safe, how to remain safe, and more questions. It can certainly be a matter for concern, especially for female users. In this article, we’ll try to offer some helpful tips and advice on this topic.
Should I Meet Up With a Tinder Date?
Let’s start right at the beginning. Is it even a good idea to meet up with anyone that you’ve met on Tinder? The answer is yes, of course it’s okay, and of course you should. That’s not to say, however, that you should go ahead and meet up with everyone with whom you’ve connected or matched on Tinder, merely that a blanket “no” policy makes no sense. If you’re never going to meet anyone in person, then what was the point in downloading and installing the app in the first place?
If you take the proper precautions, do things sensibly, and use a good deal of common sense, there’s absolutely nothing that should stop you meeting up with someone from Tinder in the real world. If you want to advance your relationship with that person, be it just a physical one, or a more serious and lasting one, then you’re going to have to meet up in person sooner or later.
How Long Should I Wait Before Meeting a Tinder Date?
Some people may make a Tinder connection wait many days or even several weeks before meeting up, whereas others might meet up on the same day. It’s hard to say exactly what kind of timeframe is exactly “right” since it really depends on the situation, location, and what has already been shared between the two of you over your online chat.
Let’s face it, a lot of connections on Tinder are made for hookups, which means that the time between initial matching and face-to-face meeting isn’t likely to be so long. In order to stay safe, giving yourself a window of at least a week is a good idea, possibly two. During that time, you’ll talk to them more online, get to know each other a little better, but while still keeping that spark and fizzle alive.
Waiting too long can suck all the fun out of the initially exciting interactions that one can have on a platform like Tinder. Users generally want to see results, so a week is usually an optimum time window, though you shouldn’t feel bad about shortening or lengthening that gap if you feel that the time is right.
Is It Weird to Meet Someone On Tinder?
Apps like Tinder still have their detractors, who claim that the entire process of swiping profiles, matching, chatting, and then meeting up has an extreme ring of weirdness about it. While one might see things from their perspective, and understand how they can make such assumptions, that doesn’t make them right.
Tinder, as well as online dating in general, used to be part of the fringes of the dating world, but no longer. With some 40 million or more Americans making use of online dating services, and with almost everyone in the developed world connected to each other via a smartphone or another device, online dating has been firmly thrust into the mainstream of society. Therefore, it would be wrong of anyone to call it “weird.”
What Should You Do When You Meet Someone From Tinder for the First Time?
It may be the new “normal,” but that doesn’t make it 100-percent safe. The fact is that there are always risks when it comes to meeting an online love interest in the real world for the first time, and so we have to take appropriate steps and employ our full arsenal of common sense in order to keep us safe. There is arguably an elevated risk for female users at the hands of predatory or violent males, but in this section we will discuss these risks more broadly.
Pick a Public Place
The first thing for a first meet-up is to make it happen in a public place with plenty of other people around. Meeting at your place means you have to give up your home address, and meeting at their place means you have little or no control of the environment around you.
Online or not, the first meeting is essentially the same as a first date, so those same kinds of social rules apply where both parties should meet on equal terms. A cafe, restaurant or bar is always a good choice, though be aware of your alcohol consumption (see below for more). If by some slim chance you have encountered someone unsavory, being in a public place gives you room to move away, and enough of an audience to prevent them doing anything rash or dangerous.
Don’t Agree to a Home Pickup
Following on from the previous point, agreeing to have your date pick you up at home for the first date is risky because it means telling them your address. Even if you live in an apartment building and you just give them the street address, it’s enough information for an unsavory character to stalk or harass you in the future.
You should remain fully in control of your own transportation. Take yourself to the date, preferably on public transportation, but you could drive yourself there too. If you do drive yourself, park away from the meeting place and walk the final stretch. Once again, knowing your car details is just more ammunition for the unsavory to use.
Stick to Tinder for Communication
Your date might ask you for a phone number or other social media profile to stay in touch with you before your first date. That appears to make sense on the surface, but why? You’ve so far been fine communicating with them via Tinder, so we suggest maintaining that as the sole channel of communication. Don’t give out your personal phone number, nor a WhatsApp, Messenger, or other account.
Tell Friends and Family the Plan
Speaking of communications, it’s also critical that your close friends and family are made aware of your plans for the date. Tell them everywhere you plan to go, and at what times. Discuss some kind of signal or code word that you might use to express danger or trouble, and agree upon check-in times for either a call or text to come. If it doesn’t, then your loved ones will know immediately if and when something is wrong.
Go Easy on Alcohol
A common trap people fall into on their first meeting is “accidentally” drinking too much. It could be that you’re trying to calm your nerves, and in doing so over-consume and end up drunk, impaired, and overly suggestible. None of these things will make your first real-world Tinder encounter very safe, or very enjoyable.
First of all, by all means have a drink on your date, but stick to a strict limit, and avoid overly strong drinks such as vodka Martini, or Long Island iced tea and similar cocktails. Have a glass of wine, or a bottle of beer, or something else simple. Make sure you accompany your drinks with a nice water chaser to keep your head clear.
Don’t Leave Drinks or Personal Items Unattended
One more point when it comes to drinks is never to leave drinks unattended. This should be a rule of thumb any time you go out drinking, alone or with friends. Being spiked with any kind of drug is going to result in a very negative experience, and could make things extremely dangerous.
On top of that, don’t leave your personal items such as phone, bag, or other belongings unattended, either. An unsavory character might steal them, but equally might go through them looking for information on you such as your workplace, home address, and more.
If You Want, Leave
Finally, if at any point during the meet-up you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, then just get up and leave. Do not feel one ounce of guilt, not one bit. Maybe you’ve just misunderstood something, and it was all just a silly mistake that made you feel that way, but it doesn’t matter. It’s better to leave first and find you were wrong about it later than any other worse outcome.
Always Take Care, and Use Common Sense
Everyone’s situation with Tinder contacts will be a little bit different, of course. It’s hard to ever pinpoint exact instructions on timelines and dating procedures. Ultimately, you’ll have to use your own common sense and judgment to know whether or not you’re doing the right thing.