Mini Date Lesson #1: Invite Adventurously

Both of my friends suggested using Mini Dates as a way to meet a lot of *different* people in person. As long as I felt safe, the Mini Dates were a great time to meet with people who weren’t my usual “type.” This provided a lot of insight about why my perceived “type” wasn’t always the best fit for me. Like all news of difference has the potential to be, this kind of self noticing was, at times, uncomfortable.

With each person I met online, I spent time messaging or talking on the phone before trying to set up a Mini Date. I looked at their photos and skimmed their profile. Unless they were a smoker, a self-proclaimed heavy drinker, lived more than 30 miles away, or they didn’t respond favorably about being cool about not being physical on the first meeting (which I ended up putting right up front on the first page of my profile), I would bring up the topic of briefly meeting in person soon.

For a few interactions, I spent much longer than a few minutes with the up front communications, either because I wanted to message or talk longer or I hypothesized that the other person wanted to take it slower.

So based on my friends’ advice, I did my best to not discriminate too much when setting up a Mini Date.

I went on Mini Dates with folks who had all sorts of jobs. Remember, I was doing First Dates 101, so I had a lot to learn quickly! I met with a carpenter, a data analyst, a CEO, a personal trainer, a touring musician, several lawyers, a waiter, a painter, the IT guy for a non-profit, a political candidate, a real estate agent, a stay-at-home dad, a truck driver, a professor, an RV salesman, the owner of a janitorial company, a sports team coach, a chip factory worker. They were all interesting people! If I had only confined myself to certain professions or perceived pay grades or white collar/ blue collar folks, I would have missed out on a lot of key learnings.

Even if I didn’t feel “sparks” from our online interactions, I would suggest a Mini Date anyways. I discovered that love and affection often develop over time, well after initially meeting, so I’m glad I was open in this aspect of dating.

I went on Mini Dates with several men who didn’t have perfect written grammar. One nice fellow with bad punctuation and capitalization was from Argentina. His grammar was rough because English was his fourth language! He turned out to be witty and a good conversationalist who could speak nearly-fluent English. I’m glad I didn’t have a black-and-white rule about grammar because I wouldn’t have met him and learned from that experience.

I went on Mini Dates with people who had things in their profiles that I didn’t understand. It turns out, people are rushed when they’re creating their profiles and not everyone has a perfected created online presence.

Note that I did not “invite with abandon.” I eliminated folks who couldn’t coherently message or talk on the phone.  I had a few “deal breaker” criteria: no smokers, no people who said they drank a lot, they had to live within 30 miles of my house, and they had to be cool about meeting first before anything physical.  But being adventurous and no too picky was great advice for me: it allowed me to quickly meet a lot of different people, which was perfect for a beginning dater.


Read more in this series: