The idea of going out on a blind date set up by a friend or family member can make most men either so terrified that they want to change their names and move to a foreign country to avoid the date, or start to romanticize the idea that the woman of their dreams is being presented to them on a silver platter.

The fact is that both reactions to the thought of a ‘set-up’ are too extreme. Here are some helpful guidelines to follow the next time someone says, “Have I got a girl for you!”

A Different Process

When you’re out looking for a woman in a bar or club, you have control over who you approach, so chances are you’re physically attracted to the woman when you first approach her. After a couple of minutes of conversation, you may find that you’re not interested in her and can politely end the conversation and move on. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to abruptly end a blind date you’re not enjoying without appearing rude and putting yourself in hot water with the person who hooked you up with her, to begin with. So, there is a different ‘dating process’ you need to go through when it comes to blind dates.

Fact Finding Must Be Done First

When someone suggests that you might like to meet a woman they know, start by getting some information about her. Ask the person why they think you and this girl would hit it off.

If they’re able to articulate the things you have in common that could make for a good relationship or at least a possible friendship, that’s good. You can then expect some easy-going conversation about your mutual interests on the date so it will be a fun time no matter what the result is. If the person is trying to set you upstarts to mumble and seem to be searching for reasons why you should meet her, the chances are that someone pressured them and they’re now desperately looking for someone – anyone – to go out with this girl.

In most cases, this usually means that your blind date is going to be an unattractive woman. So, ask your friend for a picture. They should be able to show you her on Facebook if they are friends with her. If not, you can at least check out her profile pic. If you’re not attracted to her or only barely attracted to her, just avoid the date altogether. There’s no point faking your interest in her. It will be a waste of your time, and you’ll possibly kill her confidence a little more about whether she’ll ever find a man who likes her.

However, if she is attractive then go ahead to the next step and find out some information about her likes and interests, so you have something to talk about when you call her and on the date. (“John tells me that you enjoy traveling…awesome. What have been some of your favorite destinations?”) Then all you have to do is listen to her answer, flirt with her, crack some jokes and tell some stories of your own about things you’re interested in.

Set Up a ‘Quickie Date‘

If she turns out to be a bore, planning an entire evening can set you up for a long, torturous night. Instead, have an ‘exit plan.’ Rather than planning a blind date for a weekend night where you’ll need to spend several hours together, you can just as easily plan a date that has a set time limit on it such as lunch or meeting for a quick drink after work.

This way, if you’re not having a great time, you can always leave by saying you have errands to run, have to get back to work or that you have a project that’s due the next day. You’ve accomplished helping out your friend, you weren’t rude to your date, and you only have to be a nice guy to her for an hour or so. On the other hand, if you are hitting it off, drinks can turn into dinner (and more) or you can agree to meet again at another time after your lunch meeting.

Setting up the Date

Be sure that the person who is fixing you up lets the woman know that you’ll be calling. When you call, simply introduce yourself and remind her about who suggested that you call her. Have a chat with her first and get to know her over the phone for at least five minutes before setting up a time and place to meet. Don’t call it a ‘date,’ but just refer to it as you and her catching up. Keep it casual and relaxed.

It’s usually best to choose a lounge bar or café that will be close to where you both live or work if you’re planning to meet for drinks or lunch. Or, if you do decide to plan an evening or day out, after all, pick an activity that you know will be fun for you both. For instance, if you know, she’s an artist, and you enjoy art, suggest going to a museum or gallery. If you both like comedy, head to a funny movie or a comedy club, just make sure that you plan something and, if necessary, make reservations or buy tickets ahead of time so that you’re not stuck waiting for a table or find out that you can’t get into a club, show or movie. She’ll appreciate your initiative.

Being Easy-Going is a Two-Way Street

You have to remember that the girl is just as likely to feel as nervous and uncomfortable about the blind date as you are. Create a relaxed vibe by being easy going and stay relaxed. She will then find it easier to relax and enjoy her time with you.

Ending the Date

If you enjoy the date and feel like you’d love to see her again, you can either set up another date as you’re getting ready to say goodbye or tell her that you’ll call her again soon.

If you’re not into her, just let her know that you think she is a great woman, but you believe it would be better to be friends. After all, if she’s a friend or relative of someone you know, you don’t want it to get back to them that you were rude to her or were a dating dud. When asked by your friend how the date went, be polite. Simply say that she’s a nice lady and you wish her well but that you don’t think you and she is a good match or thanks him for setting you up with her if you do hit it off. You can be almost certain that whatever you say is going to get back to her eventually so even if she wasn’t the ‘girl of your dreams,’ diplomacy is always the preferred approach to take.

Blind dates may not be the best way to go about finding a girlfriend (see 21 Great Ways to Get a Girlfriend) or getting some easy sex, but it is good ‘dating practice’ for when you actually go on a date with a woman you really like. The worse thing that can happen after a really bad blind date is that you’ll have a funny story to tell…but, of course, not to the person who set you up.