When to Meet Someone You Met Online

So you've stuck your dating profile on a few sites (or perhaps one in particular) and you've met the man or woman of your dreams. Obviously, you will want to exchange a few emails or phone calls before meeting them in the real world -- but how long exactly should you wait? The following advice is based on my own personal experiences and is meant to be used a reference point for those either just venturing into the online dating scene, or those who've been unsuccessful with it but have yet to figure out why. Read on for my tips on when to meet someone you've just met via online dating.

1. Do know what they look like as well as some basic facts.

Do not meet someone who claims they haven't got a photo to share with you. You should know what your date looks like before you meet them and if they can't provide you with a photo, ask them for an online chat with a cam via one of the many messenger services or even Skype. Anyone who can't provide this for you in advance is probably up to something. While I don't think they (or you) are obligated to disclose info like home address or even work location before your first meeting, you should know some basic things about them such as name, age and family situation. Some people won't be comfortable sharing their last name with someone they've only met online, but some will and you have every right to ask. They should be totally forthcoming about their real age (it's amazing how many men lie about this!) as well as their family situation -- if they're separated, this is not the same thing as divorced and they may even share a house with their spouse if that's the case, so know these things in advance.

2. Do exchange a minimum of 3 emails and or phone calls first.

This is to give you the chance to see how they communicate. Are they lazy about replying? Do they send a 2 sentence reply to your 3 paragraph email? Do they sit silently on the line or do they participate in the conversation? These things will give you big clues as to how they'll be in person so you should always get a few of these in in advance -- do not agree to meet someone you've only exchanged 1 email with!

3. Do not meet someone the first day they contact you.

This should go without saying but it really doesn't. Do not rush into meeting someone you've "known" fewer than a few days. You have no idea who you're agreeing to meet and you need to take a little time to find a few things out about them.

4. Do not exchange 50 emails over a period of several months before finally meeting someone.

Obviously, if you live across the country from one another, this may be the only way you can do it, but if you live in the same town and you spend months exchanging emails this is a sign that one or both of you are too chicken crap to step up to the plate and meet. Not only that, the more you get to know someone by email, the more drastically different they could appear to be in person, as some people write entirely differently from how they speak or behave in person. Therefore, it's quite easy to think you've got major chemistry with someone and then discover the opposite when you finally meet.

5. Don't meet anyone until you feel comfortable!

And before you think that a contradictory thing to say, given that I've also said don't wait several months to meet someone -- if you don't feel comfortable after a few emails and/or phone calls, you're probably not going to, so do follow your instincts.

Image: SHERI DWYER / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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