Connecting with a potential match online can seem exciting, but when it comes to the actual dates, do you often leave feeling disgruntled? You’re not alone. While the process can seem efficient, I find that many single professionals tend to feel jaded about online dating after giving it many tries. So how do you lessen the chance of feeling as though time and money might be wasted on a first date? How can the process of online dating make for more of an enjoyable experience? This is my take on how to ensure just that through several easy steps.

Speak on the phone before your date, but limit the conversation
In online dating, one of the biggest mistakes one can make is in trusting that there will be chemistry in person based upon minimal data. Getting your hopes up through looking at photos or messaging through a dating site/app just isn’t enough information. I recommend one brief phone conversation before setting up a date, because it’s your best way to suspect how conversation may flow upon meeting. I don’t suggest an entire evening of talk, or a string of phone calls before the first date. False infatuation and anticipation may build, only to be followed by major disappointment if meeting in person is not as you had hoped.

Don’t overdress or under dress for the date
Again, it’s impossible to know how you’ll really click with someone online until you actually meet him/her. Spending lots of time on wardrobe, hair, or makeup builds anticipatory excitement beforehand, which is sure to plummet if you’re less than thrilled during the date. Conversely, if someone has noticed a trend in bad experiences from online dating, they may under dress in attempts to avoid any failed expectations, which can backfire if they end up liking their date.

Make sure you know your deal breakers before meeting (AND FEEL OK ABOUT THEM)
While some people feel bad about filtering their dates according to categories like education, income, lifestyle habits, etc., the reality is that this may be a potential issue moving forward if not known from the start, especially if you’re seeking something long term. Apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Happn don’t have this filtering feature, so when people use them, I suggest a bit more conversation and messaging before meeting.

The most important thing to remember is that online dating does NOT equal tried and true success. While some people get lucky from their first few experiences, it’s extremely common to go on a string of dates where a connection is just not there. If there’s concern that you’re being “too picky,” or are pigeonholing specific types of singles, which may result in repetitive bad luck, speaking with a therapist can help to further address these issues.