In the world of online dating, the first date should be treated differently than real world dating. There’s a limit to the level of connection you can make across emails, texts, and phone calls, and it’s only when you’re in person that you can tell if you have actual chemistry with someone. With that in mind, here are tips for how to approach a first date in the online dating world.

Schedule the First Date Quickly

There’s a great temptation in online dating to spend months getting to know someone via electronic communications before you meet. It seems logical, but the only way to discover if you have chemistry with a potential mate is to meet them in person. Chatting online will make you a friend, but if you’re searching for a long term relationship then you should get to the first date as quickly as you feel comfortable.

Keep the First Date Simple and Flexible

Because the first date also doubles as a chemistry test, make it something simple so you’re not stuck for hours with someone you’re not really into. Getting a coffee together is great, and if you prefer spirits you can get a drink, which isn’t a half bad idea since a bit of alcohol tends to loosen people up. A simple walk through a park is a decent idea too, as your communication is likely to be better when you don’t have to stare into each others’ eyes. The benefit of a simple first date is that you can bail quickly if it’s not going to work out and you can easily extend it if you have genuine chemistry.

Dress to Impress

This should go without saying, but you’re trying to make a good first impression on your date. Presumably, you want your date to like you, so make sure you present the best version of yourself. Putting effort into preparing for the date makes a far stronger impression than you might imagine. Just as she’d be disappointed if he showed up in sweatpants and hoodie, he’d be disappointed if it looks like she just rolled out of bed.

Show Genuine Interest in Your Potential Mate

Be prepared for conversation on your first date, and if you’re not great at coming up questions on the spot then feel free to prepare a few beforehand, based on the knowledge you’ve gleaned of his/her interests. Showing genuine interest is a good way of building a solid foundation for a continuing relationship.

Good luck!