Coming face-to-face with someone you’ve only met online can be a dater’s biggest fear. Alys & Victoria help you recognize when it’s time to bring your virtual love interest into the real world.
What terrifies you most about online dating? According to a study, women are afraid of meeting a serial killer. Men, on the other hand, worry that their date will be 50 pounds heavier than her online profile. Topping everyone’s list is when to shift the online flirtation to a face-to-face rendezvous.
Fear no more! We’ve got ideas, insight and inspiration to help you move your virtual romance to the real world.
You may even land your Mr. or Ms. Right 50% faster. Statistics indicate that couples who meet online and fall in love get married in about 18.5 months, while courting the old fashioned way takes approximately 42 months. That just might suggest singles who sign up for online dating sites are more eager to get into a long-term relationship.
That’s great news. However, it’s also important to remember that almost every online dater has experienced the letdown of meeting that special someone in person who is just not “The One.” It’s part of the game.
Here’s an Alys story:
I started emailing with a guy on Match.com. He lived out of town, but frequently visited for business. We started talking every couple of days, which soon escalated to daily calls over a three-week period. I was convinced, as was my mother. He was my Mr. Right.
Then it happened. We met in person. My gut reaction: don’t make eye contact with him and head for the closest exit. No, this wasn’t an episode of Catfish. In fact, he was better looking in person than his online pics. Nonetheless, I felt zero attraction. Perhaps my DNA didn’t like his pheromones. I convinced myself that this time my head knew better than my heart. We dated for several months. The end was foreshadowed by the first date. No chemistry is always a deal breaker.
Since then, I rarely have more than one phone call with a man before I meet him. Sometimes, it’s just a couple of email exchanges. I believe dating is a game of numbers. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to land your match. There’s a need for speed.
Researchers agree. A study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, explains that there’s a “tipping point” when it comes to meeting an online date in person. If you wait longer than two weeks after the first online exchange, the more disappointed you are likely to feel when you finally connect.
Victoria’s dating tactics have evolved. Here’s her story:
Having become a serial dater after my divorce, I played the numbers. In fact, I had so many dates at Starbucks, I risked developing a serious caffeine addiction. I shifted to a more selective strategy-having a real conversation over the phone after the first or second email.
It’s working. A recent chat saved me from what I’m sure would have been one of my worst dates ever. He got on the phone with, “How do you like living here? It’s certainly not Manhattan. No one gets it.” I immediately sensed an angry guy. After hearing him get defensive about never having been married because women are crazy, I was on high alert. He had me on speaker and was maneuvering his cart through Publix while buying dog food for his beloved Pit Bull, Cujo. The clincher was when he asked me what I’d be wearing on our first date. This was code for “get ready for a one-night stand.” At that point, I realized the only place we’d ever meet would be Publix- totally by accident. I ended the conversation politely, telling him I didn’t think we were compatible.
And, as my mother would say, “when one door closes, another opens.” My next conversation was with a man who enjoys living here in Paradise and has been married three times. At least I know he can commit!
Here are some tips to help you succeed from virtual to off-line dating:
→ Breaking the ice: Struggling over how to get the online sparks ignited? If sending an email is too intimidating, comment on an online profile pic instead. Compliment or mention something you have in common and pose a question. For instance, “Great form on your swing. I play as well. Where is that golf course?” Hidden profiles or no photos posted, but they offer to send you pics via email? Use your best judgment when giving out your personal email to anyone. After all, no photo could very well mean they are in witness protection or worse…married.
→ You’ve got mail: Whether you’re reaching out or responding, write something personal to the reader. There’s nothing worse than getting a generic email that feels like it was automatically sent to you from a direct marketing firm in India. And, for heaven’s sake use spell check! A typo is the equivalent of having food stuck in your front teeth.
→ Can you hear me now: The phone call is your best opportunity to listen and gain some insight into your compatibility. This is the screening process and you’re doing the hiring. But, don’t pull a Barbara Walters. Interviewing is a turnoff. Weave a few questions that are important to you into the conversation. Make it light with something like, “What do you do for fun, or, do you have a large family?” If you don’t get the answers you were hoping for, there’s nothing wrong with not committing to a date.
→ Fess up: We know that no one ever fibs about his or her age online! However, if by some chance you have lied about your birth year or anything else, disclose when you meet. If you’re not honest from the start of the relationship, chances are it will end quickly.
→ Skip the entree: In the first thirty-seconds you will know whether there’s a mutual attraction. Within thirty-minutes, you’ll know if you want a second date. When you first meet each other, it’s best to stick to light conversation over coffee or a cocktail. If it’s going well for both of you, share an appetizer. Stay clear, however, of committing to a meal in advance. Save the calories for someone you’re sure is worth it.
→ Back-up plan: No, we’re not referring to the surprise call ten minutes in from your sister who has a well-timed “emergency.” Plan to grab a drink with your friends later. If the date is a washout, you can drown your sorrows and laugh it off. And, if you think you’ve met ”The One,” you don’t want to rush a good thing.
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Timing is Everything. When to take your online romance, off-line? What terrifies you most about online dating? Check These Tips to Help You Fear No More.