If online dating has a disadvantage, it’s that it takes much longer to go from first look to first date. Sure, that disadvantage is certainly outweighed by the fact there are so many people to choose from. It’s also outweighed by the fact that when you do meet, you’ll also know a little bit about them.
But there’s always a time-lag between spotting someone’s profile photo, sending them an email, getting a feel for each others’ potential compatibility and meeting in the flesh for the first time.
It’s always tempting when you see someone who looks good on a dating site to meet them as quickly as possible. If you wait, you feel, there’s always a chance that someone else might snap them up before you get a chance to seal the deal.
And besides, when you’ve spotted someone who looks like they could be a huge amount of fun, you want to start having that fun right now.
….It still pays to wait a little (Please Wait).
If you’re over 40 When you ask to meet someone in the flesh too quickly you first run the risk of scaring your new friend off. (younger people these days don’t seem so scared!) They might feel that they want to check you out a little more. They want to get to know who are, make sure you’re honest, reliable—and really the person it says on your profile. If you come on too strong, you could send the message that you’re too keen, too entranced, or worse, too desperate. Nothing kills a potential new relationship faster than that.
There are no hard and fast rules about how long you should wait before working towards for the date but in general, the third message is often a good time. By then you’ll have already asked the first questions that were at the top of your mind, you’ll have figured out whether the person you’re writing to is impressed by the way you look on your profile and you’ll have a fairly good idea about the level of your compatibility.
By the time you reach that stage, the only way to check whether there’s any real chemistry is to meet in the flesh.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t even mention a real date before the third message. You certainly can, and some people will find it reassuring to know that you’re serious about making a real go of a new relationship and won’t be satisfied by keeping it virtual. It is possible to hint at the date in the first email as long as you don’t push it too hard. You can say something like:
I just have to say that that’s a great picture of you on the beach — and a very cute dog. I’m a 31-year old teacher living just outside San Diego, and like you, I’m into horror flicks, Thai food and hiking. (Although I can probably skip the mountain climbing — it’s hard enough climbing out of bed in the morning.) Where do you like to hike? I’ve found a great route near the coast that runs alongside a couple of streams with fantastic views out to the sea. My dog certainly likes it…
You look like a great person and I’m sure you’d be a lot of fun to meet.
That shows that you’re genuinely interested
The aternative to asking for a date too soon is to leave it too long. That can be just as bad, and sometimes even worse. Not only because the longer you leave it, the greater the odds that you’ll lose your chance, but also because you want to go into the first date vaguely familiar with the person you’re about to meet but still curious enough to have a string of questions.
Nothing to say
You don’t want to arrive at the first date and find that you’ve got nothing to say to each other because you’ve already said it all in the emails.
And you also don’t want to go with a giant bank of expectations.
The longer your email conversation and the more you enjoy reading and writing your messages, the greater the chance that you’ll absolutely believe that you’re going to hit it off right from the get-go. That’s certainly possible. It’s even likely. But it’s not guaranteed.
Virtual vs Real
Unfortunately, there’s not always a direct link between the warmth of a virtual relationship and the heat generated at the start of a real one. Three emails and out is a pretty good rule, but the best rules are made to be broken and ultimately the best time to move from a Web meeting to a real meeting is when you feel ready so trust your gut on this one.
If the question feels awkward to ask, there’s probably a good reason: you ain’t there yet. Keep chatting, keep writing and keep going until the real relationship develops…
Dating online? Regardless of your age, an important thing you need to know…
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