When I first started dating in my mid 40s, I had no clue what to do when it came to navigating the world of online dating sites.
I look back and wince at how often I allowed men to make me their email pal or phone pal. The worst part is, I was thrilled by it. You see, I figured they picked me out of every other woman to speak with. So in return, it was my duty to let them yak for hours about themselves and their days.
Night after night, I'd think I was doing the right thing. But guess what ... No date ever came out of a single one of those nighttime talkers.
I had to learn the hard way how to set boundaries and move interesting men through the process to get first and second dates with them. I don't want you to have to learn the hard way. Take the tips in these five steps to move from, "Oh, he looks cute," to "Yes, I'd like to go out with you again!"
Step 1: Don't choose 'the one' based on what you see online.
Some men look great on paper, don't they? Then you meet them in person and you think, "What happened to the one I thought was so great online? Where is that guy?"
This happens because you paint a picture in your mind of who someone might be based on a couple of paragraphs and a small profile picture. More than likely, he isn't that person and you've set yourself up for being disappointed when he's not who you thought he was.
Try and leave out any expectations and pictures of who you think a man might be until you've actually met him.
Step 2: Making contact.
I usually recommend you let men contact you. I always found it fizzled when I was the first to get the ball rolling.
Now that being said, I know of two very good relationships where the woman contacted the man first.
It's worth a try if you are really interested in a man, but make sure you aren't attached to whether or not he writes you back.
Keep emails to a maximum of three to five each between you. Beyond that, you are becoming his pen pal. You really want to take it to next step fairly quickly.
Step 3: Using the phone to your advantage.
I recommend limiting phone conversations to one to three at the most. Limiting the number of calls keeps you from endless nights on the phone that go nowhere.
This gives you the opportunity to screen a man. If you choose to meet without this step, you could be quite surprised by who shows up.
I remember a date with a guy who asked me to meet him at an ice cream shop. I thought it was a cute idea. The problem was, he had no job and no money for dating, so no ice cream!
I would have found that out if I'd spent some time on the phone with him before meeting him.
It really is worth squeezing in at least one call to see if he has any obvious deal breaker qualities so you aren't wasting your time on the next step.
Step 4: Taking it to the first date.
So he sounds nice on the phone. Now it's time to get off the phone and meet in person.
I like meeting for coffee or tea. A meal is great but it can be very long and you have to be at your best for at least an hour. It's exhausting, and it leads to feeling worn down by dating.
Meeting at a coffee shop can be short and sweet and you can be out of there within half an hour or less once your beverage is done.
If the date is going well ... you can take it to a meal but I do suggest limiting first dates to less than two hours. Leave some mystery and intrigue for next time.
Step 5: Getting that elusive second date.
You've painted a picture of him in your head, and guess what... He's done the same thing about the woman he wants and if you don't fit that picture, a second date is not going to be in the cards.
Try and remember, it's not about you! It's about him and his idea of who he wants.
Women do the same thing. Think of all the guys you have turned down because they didn't fit your picture of Mr. Right.
Try and view every date as a way to get to know someone new and interesting. And promise me this: if he doesn't ask you out again, don't write, text or call him.
Move on to the next guy because your goal is to have someone who wants you in his life. When you think about it, do you really want a guy you have to push to ask you out again?
Lisa Copeland is known as the expert on over 50's dating. Her mission is to help as many women around the world as she can discover how to have fun dating and finding their Mr. Right after 50. To get your free report, "5 Little Known Secrets To Find A Quality Man," visit www.findaqualityman.com.