Online Dating: Zero Date Means Your First Date Is Not A Real Date

What is a Zero Date? It’s a first date when you meet via online dating or the apps. Here’s why it doesn’t count as a real first date.

Get Real about a First Date

your first date is not a real dateOne thing I share with my love coaching clients that makes a big difference for setting expectations is calling your coffee dates, “Zero Date.” This is a practical way to get real about these first meetings which are really nothing more than a chemistry check.

After being on numerous first dates with men myself, I realized these meetings weren’t like real dates. That’s because neither person knows if they will be interested enough to see each other again.

The truth is, a lot of items need to be checked off before you can decide if you want to see a man again, such as:

  • Did you find him attractive?
  • Was there any chemistry?
  • Could you understand his sense of humor?
  • Was the conversation comfortable and interesting?
  • Do you share a similar world view, so you “get” each other?
  • Was there enough similar taste in music, travel, sports, hobbies, etc.?
  • Is he looking for something casual or lasting love like you are?

Digital Dating Is Different Than Meeting IRL

your first date is a chemistry checkWhen you meet a man for the first time in real life, you can size each other up in person pretty easily. But with dating online or the dating apps, that’s not possible until you meet face-to-face.

So, your first step is the Zero Date with the sole purpose of determining your level of interest in spending more time together.

Catching on to the outcome of one date from the other person’s viewpoint can be difficult. Sometimes it seems like you’re getting along famously, but you never hear from the guy again.

Other times you have a moderate to low level of interest and, of course, those are the men who call. If the guy feels it for you, he will likely ask you out again.

The truth is, a first meeting often means absolutely nothing. That’s why my love coaching clients discover not to count this first meeting as a date at all. It’s just a meeting and the start of the dating process.

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!

Why Calling It Zero Date Is Wise

a coffee date is not a real dateThere are several reasons why looking at your first meeting as a Zero Date keeps your expectations in line. This idea:

1. Completely takes the pressure off, so you can relax and be your best self.
2. Minimizes the chance of instant attachment that you want to avoid to guard your heart.
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 – it’s just one date.
5. Encourages you to not let the date roll into multiple hours, creating a false sense of trust.

Give a Man a Fair Chance


Anyone can be nervous on Zero Date. Knowing that its mostly a chemistry check, why not do what you can to be a great first date? Men choose women who are easy to be with. So, if you think of this as a chance to use your skills for this purpose, you might get a lot more second dates. (Or real first dates!)

Avoid harsh or snap judgements if you can. Even though a man might not be right for you, being kind is always a good way to go.

Hone Your Dating Skills

your first date is not a real dateZero Date is the perfect opportunity for you to practice flirting and use your feminine charm. You can also hone your conversation skills and build confidence in your ability to handle a first meeting.

When you adopt this outlook and take the pressure off, you’ll learn how to maintain a healthy, “we’ll see” attitude to remain neutral. This prevents heartbreak before you even know if the guy had real potential.

Since the true purpose of dating is “data collection” and discovering if he even has any 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. Discover how it helps you better navigate digital dating and relax as you get good at meeting new men and moving on easily if nothing comes of it.


Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Online Dating: Zero Date Means Your First Date Is Not 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. You’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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