Online dating has become the new norm. With all the countless dating apps out there, you’re bound to find yourself trying out online dating at some point. Especially when it seems like meeting someone in real life just isn’t going to happen.

So, picture this: you’ve finally met someone you actually like through a dating app. You’ve been talking for a while, know that they’re real and normal, and are finally ready to take the leap to meet them in real life.

Of course, you’re going to be terrified. That’s normal! Especially when you’re meeting someone in person for the first time. But you can’t pursue a real relationship without bringing it to that next step. So if you think you’re ready to make that switch to offline dating, here’s how you can do it:

Don’t wait too long

You might be super nervous about meeting your online beau in real life and are tempted to drag out the meeting process. Just rip the bandaid off! Although it’s nerve-wracking, it’s essential to meet them in real, so you know right away what the person is like offline. Waiting too long might lead to more disappointment if they’re not like what you thought they were. Try meeting face to face within 2-3 weeks of first talking.

Be realistic

Even if the person you’re talking to is everything you’ve ever wanted and more, you have to be realistic that that might not be the case when you actually meet in real life. Be honest and authentic to yourself and prepare yourself for the possibility of disappointment. In other words- don’t get attached before meeting in real life.

Have an open mind

Although you should be realistic, you also should keep an open mind about the situation. Prepare yourself for disappointment, but don’t expect it! The person you’ve been talking to could be exactly the same as they are online! You’ll never know if you don’t take that leap of faith and meet them in real life. A key to switching to offline dating is just to have an open mind and be optimistic.

Think of conversation starters

Talking online may be very different from speaking in person. You might find that the conversation flows smoothly online, but in person, you’re struggling to find things to talk about. Even if you don’t think that will be the case, think of some conversation starters and topics before going into the date. That way, you know you’ll have things to discuss if the conversation ever lags. Better to be safe than sorry!

Go for a casual date

It’s not only the first date; it’s the first time you both are seeing each other face to face. That means you should definitely go on a casual date. No big fancy dinner, no complicated outing. Go for something casual like a quick lunch or after-dinner drinks. That still gives you the chance to see and get to know the person without all the added pressures of a big date.