Blind Dating; What’s In, What’s Out?
By Mel Bancroft
Blind dating is not for people who believe in love at first sight and those who think their soul mate will appear out of nowhere. In a perfect world, this may be true. Once in a blue moon’s age, true love may happen in such a fantastical, magical manner. But in the real world, it takes certain kind of guts, self-confidence, and the ability to deal with rejection to cycle through one absurd date after the next, without cursing the entire opposite sex and giving up altogether.
Back in the good old days, blind dating used to be simple, when life as a whole was simpler. A family member or a friend would get the idea to set two people up on a date. Sometimes they hit it off, sometimes they were mismatches. Do people even set up dates for other people anymore? With the popular use of Internet dating in the last 10 years, blind dating has become somewhat obsolete. However, that may depend on who you ask. Although Internet dating allows you to see photos of a prospect before meeting them, the photos are often outdated or not a true depiction of the person you think you’re communicating with; therefore, creating a “blind date” situation and the urge to choke the imposter once their true identity is revealed.
Barry, a computer technician, has been on many blind dates. When asked what he thought about seeing photos of a person before going on a date, he smirked and replied, “I can’t tell you how many times the photo was nothing like the person I met. One lady was 50 pounds heavier than her picture, another one looked nothing like the picture, and another one looked 20 years older than her picture. Meeting them was like a blind date, except for what I learned about them over the telephone.” Despite his disappointments, Barry still uses the Internet to search potential matches. “The blind dating part is what I don’t like, so I screen people more now than I did before, and I met a nice lady that I’m interested in,” Barry concluded.
Although talking on the telephone can break the ice before meeting, blind dating can make it easier for some people to present themselves extremely different over the telephone than they do in person. Jeanette, a hair stylist, is used to networking at her salon among clients and co-workers who are quite extroverted. Someone in her circle suggested she go out with a guy she’d never seen before. “His pictures were great! He was tall, handsome, real good lookin’. We talked on the phone for a few weeks; he had me laughing until I thought my face would crack. Then, when we met, I was dumbfounded to see that he had about as much enthusiasm as a wet rag. I didn’t laugh once while we ate dinner. I don’t know if he was shy, or scared, or what. I was so disappointed. Now I prefer dating guys in my social setting, instead of the whole blind dating thing.”
It happens to the best of us. But blind dating isn’t so bad when the intention is reasonable. We never really know when the perfect mate is going to show up, but in the mean time here are several tips to help take the “blinders” off dating while patiently waiting for that one special spark.
1. If your friends or family set up the blind date, get several people’s opinion about the prospect.
2. Get multiple, current photos in the first few conversations as you progress with getting to know a potential date. If the prospect only has one photo that looks dated and blurry, it’s anybody’s guess what he or she will look like showing up on the first date.
3. Watch for tone of voice and weird warnings in the conversation. Avoid people who talk too much about abuse, violence, and ex-lovers’ drama; you don’t need the negativity and dysfunction.
4. Keep the communication light without getting too emotionally enthralled. This could lead to a big let down when you meet, if you don’t like what you see.
5. Minimize the length of time you communicate through email before telephone contact, and then limit the time frame between talking over the telephone until you meet for the first time. A month or two is sufficient, depending on how well you communicate with each other. Meeting sooner is efficient, but putting it off too long could prove to be a waste of time and raise red flags.
6. Always meet in a public place, preferably one you’re familiar with. Keep it casual; order a beverage or appetizer at first. If you hit it off, then you can extend the date to dinner, more conversation, and hopefully an invitation to another date.