With so many relationships starting online these days, you can catch some serious feelings before you even meet someone in “real” life. While we’ll always have friends or loved ones that tell us we shouldn’t develop deep feelings for people we haven’t officially met yet, they likely don’t have any experience with clicking with people online the way you do, and their advice is easier said than done. You may have even matched with someone in another state and are looking at a potentially long-distance relationship after you meet, and things go well. While there are plenty of mature dating tips to consider, you also need to prepare for a meeting for the first time. Let’s go over a few things to make sure you’re doing to give you and your love interest the best chances of a great first meeting.

Set Realistic Expectations

The first thing you need to do before you meet your online crush is to set some realistic expectations. If you’ve been chatting for a while off whatever platform you met on, you’ve likely not only texted but talked on the phone or even video-chatted. If you’ve decided to take things to the next level and meet up, chances are the chemistry is there. Just be realistic that even if you’ve FaceTimed, your date may still look a little differently than you thought they would – and you might to them as well! If your personality and sense of humor clicked well before the meeting, they likely will in person, but be prepared for a brief period of awkwardness on both ends. You may end up meeting the love of your life, but you should also be prepared to meet someone you just want to be friends with, or they could feel the same.

Put Your Best Foot Forward, In Public

Even if you think you know this person like the back of your hand, it’s a good idea to meet in a public setting for the first date. You can never be too careful, and public spaces also offer you an easy out if you’re just not feeling things face to face the way you were online or on the phone. You also want to make sure you put your best foot forward but be authentic. Take time to groom yourself properly, wear a flattering outfit appropriate for the environment of the date, and maybe even swipe on some lipstick and your signature Sofia Vergara perfume. The point is to look like yourself, just polished and ready to meet the possible Mr. Right.

Have Some Things Planned

Just like heading into a job interview, you don’t want to “wing it” with your first meeting – especially if you’re interested in this person. Sure, some of us are dating pros, but taking time to have set topics in mind to talk about is a great start – even if you feel like you really know this person. If you’re digging their vibe, make sure you let them know you’ve been paying attention to past conversations and insert things you remember. While some people have boundaries they don’t like crossed on first dates, if you know your date is open to touch, give a gentle touch of the arm or shoulder to let them know you’re feeling a connection. The worst thing is walking away from a date feeling like you got mixed signals and then realizing you didn’t give any definitive signs you were into it either! Be straightforward and beguiling at the same time.

Follow Up – No Matter What

Unless something awful happened that made it clear there doesn’t need to be a follow-up to your date, you should always follow up. Don’t be the person that waits around for a phone call or text if you know what you want to say – and never, ever ghost someone no matter how badly you feel the date went! If it wasn’t a match, you could simply text a polite “It was so great to meet you, but I’m not interested in more than a friendship at this time.”

Hopefully, meeting your online crush will be the start of a beautiful love story – and if it’s not, there are genuinely plenty of fish in the seas. Utilize the tips as mentioned earlier to head into your first date with a level head and ready to leave a great first impression, no matter what direction your relationship ends up running in.