Online Dating: “Date Zero” Don’t Count Your First Date as a Real Date

In a recent dating coaching sessions with Marjorie, she kept throwing around a term I had never heard of before. She referred to her first date with a guy from as “Date Zero”. How incredibly clever!

Why did Marjorie name her coffee dates “Date Zero”? Very practical really. After being on numerous first dates with men she has never met before, she simply realized these meetings weren’t like real dates. That’s because neither party knows if they will be interested enough to start seeing each other. A lot of ground has to be explored before that can be decided. For example:

  • Do you find each other attractive?
  • Can you understand each other’s sense of humor?
  • Can you hold a comfortable and interesting conversation?
  • Do you want to know more about each other?
  • Do you share a similar world view so you “get” each other?
  • Do you have enough similar taste in music, travel, sports, hobbies, etc?
  • Do you have a similar dating agenda?

When you meet a man for the first time at a party or singles event, you can size each other up in person, face-to-face. But that’s not possible online. So, your first step is “Date Zero” with the sole purpose of determining the level of interest to find out more.

Reading the outcome of Date Zero can be very difficult. Sometimes it seems like you are getting along famously, but you never hear a peep from the guy again. Other times you have a moderate to low interest level and those are the men to call. Now you can understand why Marjorie has taken to calling the first meeting Date Zero and I have to say, this is extremely savvy.

The truth is, a first meeting means absolutely nothing. That’s why my dating coaching client has wisely chosen not to count it as a date at all. It’s just a meeting and what matters most is not if you had a powerful connection, but if THE GUY CALLS FOR ANOTHER DATE. Or better yet, if he asks on the spot for that next date. Then, you’ll be going on your first date!

What’s the benefit of defining the process this way?

1. Completely takes the pressure off so you can relax and be your best self
2. Minimizes the chance of instant attachment that some women experience
3. Allows you to maintain a clear and objective viewpoint so you can make good decisions
4. Keeps the meeting in perspective so you don’t over-value the date 

I highly recommend following Marjorie’s attitude about first dates with online prospects. Date Zero can be fun. It can produce a first, real date. But most importantly, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to practice flirting, use your feminine charm, hone your conversation skills, and build confidence in your ability to handle a first meeting.

When you adopt this outlook, you’ll learn how to maintain a “we’ll see” attitude to manage your enthusiasm and remain neutral. The purpose of dating is data collection – finding out his interest in you and your interest in him. Neutrality allows you to objectively collect data without getting emotionally attached before you know he’s worthy.

Give this way of thinking about your coffee chats a try and discover how it helps you better navigate the potentially emotional  and muddled waters of online dating. 

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony,,, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Online Dating: “Date Zero” Don’t Count Your First Date as a Real Date”

  1. This article is spot on and wish more people on dating websites were on the same page, instead of suggesting long ‘first’ dates and then getting angry when I try to downsize to grabbing lunch. Anyway. I could use advice for something I’m stuck on: I have a ‘please be attractive’ mantra going through my head before I see my date zero partner. The usual result is that I don’t feel anything. Body language is important to me and so are the expressions somebody makes with their face. I’m not physically attracted to a lot of men. Maybe online dating is not for me? Should I ask for videos/skype first in my case? I can tell in the first minute if I find the other person aesthetically pleasing in real life, but not really from photos and every date zero I have where I don’t like the guy makes me feel more and more despair.

    • Hi Lynn, Your mantra shows you expect to not be attracted to the men you meet and this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you put your attention on is often what you get. You are saying a negative mantra! So the Law of Attraction is working in reverse. Yuo’d be better off saying, “I find this man attractive.” Then you put a positive spin into your expectation to like him. The request for Facetime or Skype with local guys would be suspicious in my mind so I don’t advise that. Your best bet is to decide you DO find men attractive and live from this place. You’ll be surprised, if you really make an effort, it will shift your experience.

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