Online dating is great. You get to meet a lot of interesting people and learn more about them in a short space of time.
And there’s a pretty good chance that, among them, there will be someone that you’re going to really click with, and some sparks might start flying even though you’ve never seen each other in real life.
However, at some point, dating online isn’t enough, and you have to meet in person to move forward.
You’re not going to move forward with every person you meet online, but it’s probably not going to be just one person either. The thing, is online chemistry is different from real-life chemistry. You have to actually be in the same room to see if there’s something there or not.
While a profile can tell you a lot about the person, people are not their dating profiles. Communication is limited online since you can’t hear the tone of voice, see the facial expressions, and notice the body language.
So, dating online has some downsides that don’t matter at first, but at some point become obstacles to creating an actual connection and a deeper bond.
Ultimately, you need to see each other in person when you feel a connection while dating online.
The big question is—when?
Should you meet right away or date online for a long time before meeting in person?
You are going to find out the answer to this question soon, but it’s not a simple one, so keep reading until the end to know for sure.
How Long To Wait Before Meeting In Person
Not too soon.
If you meet up with someone only a few days after matching with them on a dating site, you won’t know enough about them to be sure that you want to go on a date.
So, don’t let anyone force you into meeting right away. If they’re pushing you to meet too soon, they are probably not good for you. Either they are up to something, want to use you, or aren’t taking online dating seriously.
There are exceptions though. You could connect during the first few days of communication and already know that you want to go on a date with them. If you feel comfortable with them, think that there’s something there, already know a bit about them, and don’t see anything suspicious, you can meet them.
However, the rule of thumb is to wait for at least a week before meeting in person. If you want to meet them sooner than that, take some things into consideration. You’ll learn about them later on in the article, but for now, know that you shouldn’t wait too long either.
Not too long.
Waiting for more than three weeks to meet in person is a bad idea. After knowing each other for that long in the digital world, you are going to create ideas about what they are like in the real world. Most likely, the reality won’t match your expectations, and you will end up being disappointed.
You can’t really get to know someone that well based on their profile and messages. So, you’ll imagine a lot more than what you can actually read. You might fall in love with someone who isn’t real, even if they were entirely honest with you.
By talking to them for so long and hoping that they’re right for you, you could imagine them being perfect and then feel let down when it turns out that they’re only human. This is not the only downside of waiting too long to meet.
Dating online means that everyone is likely communicating with several other singles at the same time. So, the person you match with might meet someone else in person before meeting you. If the date goes well, they’re off the market!
They could also meet someone outside of the dating site, delete their profile, give up dating online, and decide that they’re off the market.
What’s more, waiting for too long to meet could cause you both to lose interest. You could start communicating less frequently and decide that you no longer want to meet each other. How long should you wait then?
Your safest bet is to wait for a week or two before meeting in person. This is neither too little nor too long. It gives you a chance to get to know the person and establish some sort of a connection, but it’s not long enough to fantasize too much about who they are before meeting the real them.
However, keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to this at any cost. Sometimes, you might want to meet sooner because you’re sure about them, or you won’t want to meet in a week or two because you’re still not sure…
That’s okay too, but if you don’t want to meet them after a week or two, they’re likely not a good match for you. If, on the other hand, you want to meet them sooner than a week, there are some things that you need to consider before deciding that it’s the right way to go.
15 Things To Consider Before Meeting An Online Date In Person
As we’ve established, there is no specific amount of time that you should wait before going on a date with someone that you’ve met online. One to two weeks is ideal, but you don’t have to blindly follow this guideline if it doesn’t feel right.
Sometimes, you’ll want to meet someone sooner and that might be okay! How to tell? Well, answer these questions:
1. How long have you known each other?
This is not the same question as, “How long have you been dating online?” Maybe you’ve known each other on the dating website for only two days, yet you realized that you are acquaintances and/or have mutual friends. Perhaps you were even friends at some point and have now reconnected.
After all, you are going to see people that you already know on dating websites. When you already know someone, it’s okay to go on a date right away if there’s a connection. The same goes for when you’ve known each other on the dating site for at least a week.
2. How well do you know them?
How well do you know them though? You could be acquainted with someone for years and not really know a thing about them or you could spend a week with them and know lots.
It could be the other way around too. You could match with someone and only exchange a few messages over the course of a few weeks, or engage in small talk only. This means you don’t know them that well, and you’re probably not connecting much either.
By the time you agree to meet your match in real life, you should know the basic things about them. You don’t need to know their entire life story, but they shouldn’t be just a stranger anymore.
3. How many messages have you exchanged?
While there’s no specific amount of messages that you should exchange, it doesn’t count if you’ve only exchanged a few messages during the week.
If you haven’t communicated a lot, you might even want to wait for longer than three weeks, that is, for as long as it takes for you to communicate enough.
How much is enough? Well, if you’ve barely communicated since matching, there’s probably no connection anyway. It’s either that or they’re not that serious about dating online.
4. How many in-depth conversations have you had?
You could exchange a ton of messages and still only engage in small talk. In this case, you might also want to put off meeting each other until there’s a connection. You can still meet with this person, but if you haven’t had in-depth conversations online, you aren’t likely to have them in real life either.
Don’t forget that you’re picking your dates from a website or an app where there are a lot of them. You have to choose based on a connection that’s either there or not.
Of course, your match might just not be that great at texting… But, you are more likely to find love with someone that you have in-depth conversations with right away.
5. How much do you seem to connect?
It all comes down to the connection that you either feel or don’t feel.
Don’t force things if it feels off. You can’t expect to fall in love right away, but there should be some sort of chemistry and a bond before you decide to meet.
Meeting everyone you match with would be exhausting and pointless. Picking people based on their photos would be shallow, and you don’t have enough information about them to pick based on that…
So, you have to go on the connection that either happens or doesn’t. If you feel a strong connection with someone, you can go with it and meet sooner than a week. However, make sure that you can trust them and that they don’t have bad intentions. Consider other factors from this list to know for sure if it’s a good idea to meet them sooner than a week.
6. How at ease do you feel talking to them?
How comfortable do you feel talking to them online and meeting them in person? If something feels wrong, it’s probably best not to meet them.
Maybe they don’t have bad intentions, but the right match for you will make you feel comfortable and at ease. Of course, you could get a bit nervous, but if someone makes you feel uncomfortable or even frightened, don’t go on a date with them.
7. Have you talked over the phone or had a video call?
It’s always a good idea to talk over the phone or have a video call before meeting in person. This reassures you that there’s a real person behind that profile, and it lets you learn more about what kind of person they are.
Going outside of the dating site before meeting in person makes sense, and having a video call lets you see the person, not just a picture of them. Plus, it helps you stay safe from scammers.
8. Do you feel comfortable meeting them in person?
The most important question is whether you are ready to meet them in person or not. Forget about the specific number of days and focus on how you feel about meeting them in real life.
Are you looking forward to it, or do you feel like it’s too soon for it? Does the thought of it make you happy or worried? Do you like them and think that they could be your new partner? Does it feel like you could be yourself around them? Can you trust them?
9. Do you know how to stay safe when dating online?
Learn more about how to stay safe while dating online. Steer clear of suspicious profiles, and meet your date in a public place. Tell someone where you’ll be and charge your phone. Remember that you can always ask the waiter for help if you’re feeling uncomfortable or threatened during the date.
It’s also a good idea to have a prepared exit strategy. Maybe you can’t leave your dog alone for too long or your friend sent you a message about an emergency. They’re pretty transparent excuses, but if you ever need to get out of the date because you’re feeling uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to use them.
You don’t need to feel bad for lying if you’re in a situation where telling a blunt truth might make the situation worse for you.
10. Are they forcing you to meet in person?
When someone is pushing you to meet in person before you are ready, they’re pushing your boundaries, even if it has been a week or two. Don’t let anyone force you into going on a date sooner than you’re ready.
They might ask you on a date and try to convince you at first, but they will likely back off if you say no. If they don’t, they’re disrespecting your boundaries, and you should be somewhat suspicious of their intentions.
On the other hand, you should know that if you don’t feel comfortable dating them after a week or two, it’s probably not going to change later on. So, don’t string them along either if you don’t feel a connection.
11. Are you on the same page?
Have you both made it clear and transparent what you’re looking for? Whether you want to hook up and leave the next day or get into a serious long-term relationship, you should both want the same thing.
If you don’t want the same thing, or you’re not sure what they want, it’s better not to go on a date. This will prevent someone from taking advantage of you if they only want to hook up while you’re looking for the real thing… Or, it will prevent someone from accusing you of breaking their heart while you were only wanting to have a casual relationship.
12. Are there any red flags?
There are some noticeable red flags when dating online. If someone is overly controlling and jealous while you’re dating online, they are likely to be the same if you get into a relationship with them. And, obviously, you should steer clear of anyone who asks you for money.
Also, be cautious of profiles with little to no information about the person and only one picture. Similarly to being controlling, you could also run into people who seem needy and desperate. If they are like that while you’re dating online, it won’t change once you’re dating in person.
13. How many people are you dating?
As you have learned, the time it takes to go on a date with someone you meet online can greatly vary and depend on many factors. One of those factors can be the number of people you go on dates with.
Since you will connect with several people on the dating site, you are likely to meet several of them too. So, don’t schedule your dates all at once; just stick to meeting matches within a week or two.
14. Did you connect on social media?
You can learn more about the person by connecting with them on social media. You might find that you have mutual friends and similar interests. You may also find a lot more information and pictures of them as well.
So, it makes sense to move faster with someone that you learned a lot about from their social media profile. You should’t rush things just because you’re friends on Facebook, but if you have learned a lot from their social media profile, you can meet sooner if you want.
15. Do you think that they could be the right match for you?
In the end, it all comes down to how you feel about them. If you think that they are the person that you’re looking for, of course, you’ll go on a date with them as soon as possible.
But if you’re not sure whether there could be something there, take your time to figure it out.
It would be wise to wait for at least a week even if they feel perfect for you, but consider the other things from this list too.
Finally, if you don’t think that they’re the right match for you, there’s not much point in going on a date with them, no matter how much time it has been.
You may also like:
- 18 Important First Date Tips After Meeting Someone Online
- 20 Questions To Ask On A First Date That Aren’t Boring!
- How To Stop Texting Too Much Before A First Date
- How To Turn Down A Date: 10 Ways To Politely Reject Someone
- 24 Online Dating Rules + Etiquette You Must Follow
- 16 Good Signs Your First Date Went Well: How To Know For Sure
- When And What To Text After A First Date
- Dating With A Purpose: 15 Tips To Date The Right Way