If there were ten commandments of dating in 2015, the first one would have to be ‘thou shalt meet up quickly!’
As I’ve mentioned before, dating in the twenty-teens is a numbers game. With so many people dating online, it can feel as if you have infinite choices. And to some degree you do. It’s by no means a bad thing. Dating can be an exciting, exhilarating carousel ride, if you play the game correctly.
Like most people, my first contact with online dating was the film You’ve Got Mail and so when I first began online dating, I believed the key was to make a real connection with someone before meeting up. To look carefully for ‘The One’, and only once I thought I had found him, to then meet up. As a result, I chatted to guys for several weeks, trying to learn everything about them, before I committed to going on a date.
However in reality, it’s very difficult to get to know someone simply over emails and messages. It’s also particularly difficult to work out whether there will be any attraction in real life.
The problem with waiting to meet a date in person, is that in the build up to meeting, you begin to create a false impression about who you are texting or emailing. Without hearing the tone of their words, or seeing their face as they say things, you begin to attach unfounded attraction and expectation to the person. An attraction and expectation which may prove difficult to live up to in person.
In reality, ten people could say the exact same thing to us, but, when those same words are said by someone who you are attracted to, they produce a very different response to when anyone else says them. The problem with meeting someone online, and sharing lengthy correspondence before meeting up, is that you assume that you are going to fancy one another, simply from photos and brief online descriptions. You fill in the gaps with assumptions of attraction, and will view the things they say and do more favorably because you’re excited and invested. And at the same time, that person is doing a similar thing.
Obviously sometimes the person you’ve been getting to know will be just as attractive and as good a match in person as they were online. However more often, if you chat for too long, you either create a false impression which your match won’t be able to live up to, or one of you gets bored of simply feling like pen pals. Even if there is an attraction in real life, you need to experience it early on, in order to continue investing time in the ‘relationship’. After all, we all know how many other options there are online.
The easy solution is to meet up quickly. Once you’ve established you like each others’ profiles, and that you can communicate easily enough online, try to take things offline at the quickest opportunity. Don’t mistake haste for naivete. You should still pay close attention to your personal safety, and still apply thought to the date. Make it fun, and do something you want to do any way, so that even if the person doesn’t turn out to be as good a match as you first thought, you still have fun.