If you've been dating for a while, then you probably know a thing or two about first dates. Hopefully you've had some great first dates. In all likelihood, you've also had some not-so-great first dates, ranging from awkward and uncomfortable to absurdly weird and ridiculous. It's all part of the game.

How do you know when a first date should lead to a second? Chances are that you already know when it definitely shouldn't. If it becomes evident that their values, goals and experiences are just too different from your own, if they're disrespectful or if they just make you uncomfortable, then it's pretty obvious that it's just not a good match.It's not always that straightforward though, is it? Maybe the date was okay. There weren't too many uncomfortable stretches of silence and he or she seemed like a fairly normal, upstanding member of society. It wasn't a date that belonged in a movie, but it didn't feel like a complete waste of your time. What then?

Wondering if your mediocre first date should lead to a second date? Here's a few things to consider before making your decision.

Were You Interested?

As the date progressed, did you find yourself becoming more or less interested in your date? If you found yourself caring even slightly more about that person as the evening progressed, would the trend continue as you went on more dates and got to know them even better? Or, as the date progressed, did you find yourself becoming less and less impressed?

Keep in mind that first date jitters affect everyone, even making people behave in a way that they wouldn't otherwise. If possible, try to look beyond the awkwardness before deciding whether or not you want to schedule a second date.

Do They Fit Your Criteria?

We've talked about your list before, and you probably know that by staying with those who only fit your "type", you can end up missing out on someone great. However, there are still going to be non-negotiables. Perhaps you're looking for someone who doesn't smoke (or doesn't mind that you do), is financially independent and is polite and courteous. Does your date meet your basic criteria? If not, then it doesn't matter how much time you spend getting to know them or what else they have going for them. It's just not going to work.

Romance Takes Time

Consider how your grandparents probably began their relationship. Maybe they grew up together, maybe they met through a mutual friend or maybe their paths just crossed one day. They were probably open to the general idea of a romantic relationship, but in all likelihood, they didn't jump into their relationship with an all-or-nothing mindset. They may not have had the luxury of prescreening potential partners in the same way that we do today, they simply had to take the time to get to know one another.

Fast forward to today. Thousands of people use online dating sites to help them connect with other singles. You have the ability to narrow your search to those with whom you're more likely to be compatible. You're using online dating as a tool to help you find true love, but still, that isn't a substitute for actually taking the time to get to know someone.

With everything that has changed with the dating landscape, one thing hasn't changed: romance blossoms over time. Butterflies and fireworks on the first date are nice, but those initial feelings burn themselves out notoriously fast anyway. Think back to your date. Maybe it wasn't stellar, but were they the kind of person you could see yourself having a future with? If so, then maybe it's time to schedule that second date!

Have you endured a first date that is obviously not going anywhere? Depending on how long you've been looking for "the one", it can be really discouraging to go on a chain of unsuccessful first dates. If that's you, then it's time to give online dating a try. Love2Date Singles provides you with the opportunity to meet other local singles. We offer a variety of lifestyle groups, making it easier than ever to find singles who share your background, interests and goals. Signing up is free and simple, so create your profile today to get started.