You may have known this person all your life, or maybe you’ve never met at all. Maybe you were close friends once upon a time, and they moved away and as you stayed in contact with one another your relationship changed over the years. Maybe you were introduced by friends in the only face to face encounter you’ve had since your relationship began. Maybe you have never met.

Whatever your situation, remember to make safety a priority when it comes to meeting someone new. Although you may feel like you’ve known this person long enough to know that they pose no threat to you, it is still a good idea to treat your first meeting as if you were going on a blind date.

Meet in a public venue

When you plan your trip or the place where you will meet, arrange to meet in a public venue. What if the person you meet looks lovely in photographs, is divinely charismatic when you video chat, has the voice of an angel over the phone -and is the creepiest person you’ve ever met in real life? Meeting in a public place ensures that if something bizarre or wrong were to happen, you would have quick access to some kind of help.

Arrange for your own place to stay

Murphy’s Law is the idea that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. You never want to put yourself in a scenario -especially a new one- where you lose control of your situation. If Mr. “perfect voice” or Ms. “beautiful smile” isn’t quite as perfect and beautiful when you come together, at least you will have your own hotel or place to stay at the end of the day.

Keep your stay short, in case things don’t work out

If you are traveling a far distance keep your stay there short, just in case things don’t work out the way you hoped.  Sometimes the chemistry just isn’t there. You should also remember to tell someone where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you’re coming back. If possible, take someone with you.

Be prepared and have a backup plan

Be prepared and have a backup plan in case something goes wrong on your journey there. Have extra money in case you get a flat tire, or something else untimely happens to your car. What if you miss your flight or you suddenly fall ill? What if your cellphone dies or you underestimated the length of the journey? Be sure that you will be equipped to handle those lovely life moments while in unfamiliar territory.

Never be afraid or reluctant to turn around and leave.

Sometimes neighborhoods are sketchy, sometimes things go wrong. If it just doesn’t feel right, and you get that awful gut feeling remember that it’s never too late for you to call it off and go home. Don’t feel bad if you decide to cancel your meeting. As long as you let the other person know of your intention to cancel and perhaps the reason why, things should be okay.

Take care of yourself.

Yes, we know you’re nervous and excited and you wish that next week was today and that you were there already. That’s great; you have every reason to feel that way! One very important tip for persons who are going to meet for the first time; don’t let your excitement keep you from taking care of yourself. In the days leading up to your meeting, make a serious effort to get lots of rest, exercise and to eat and drink in a healthful way. No one wants to be tired, irritated, upset, moody or hungry when they meet for the first time. You want to put your best foot forward! So take care of yourself in the days leading up to the big day.

Bring a small gift

Everyone loves gifts and when you’re standing there wobble-kneed and nervous, a small gift can be just what you need to break the ice. Having something to focus on and talk about (like your gift) can be great for those first awkward moments together. Remember, this not required. Don’t be disappointed if you bring a gift and your other half doesn’t. This is a personal choice.

Be yourself

The best thing you can both do for one another is to be yourselves. The transition from speaking on the phone or watching one another through a computer screen to having that person standing right there in front of you in the flesh can be awkward. Why make this transition more awkward by trying to portray yourself as something you truly aren’t? You’ve taken the time and traveled the distance to be there, be who you truly are and everything else will flow naturally.

Alter your approach

You’re best friends and you know each other so well it’s almost like you can read each others thoughts. You both may share a truly unique connection with one another, but when meeting for the first time you should try and take things slow. Approach your meet-up as if you were meeting someone completely new. Like a first date, plan activities where you can take the focus off of one another while still getting to know each other in this new way. In this way you will both be as comfortable as possible with each other without having more awkward moments as is necessary.

Enjoy the visit!

You’ve traveled this far, both in your time together as a couple and in the distance it took you to reach one another. Make sure you enjoy this visit! You deserve it.