The time between starting an online interaction and deciding to meet up for the first time is a little like being in limbo – your interest has been expressed, but things haven’t yet moved forward. There’s a lot of advice around this issue on the internet, everything from rules like you should meet up within four emails to warnings to wait until you have communicated through every single other means, messages, phone calls, video chats. But really, there aren’t any hard and fast rules about when you should meet up in person. Rather, you need to work out when is right for you, which is why we’ve collected the three most important questions you need to ask yourself before setting up that first date.
Question 1: Are you really excited to hear from them?
Ask yourself this; if you were in the midst of an evening with your friends – having fun, talking and enjoying each other’s company, not a care in the world – and you got a text from this person, would you stop what you were doing to reply? Do you get feelings of excitement when their name pops up on your screen? Are you feeling giddy and giggly when you think of them? Then it might be time to move the interaction into ‘real life’.
Question 2: Do you have the same relationship goals?
Have you had enough conversations to know what the other person wants from online dating? Usually there will be enough information on someone’s dating profile that you know they’re looking for someone, but have you had a chat about whether or not this person wants something serious or if they’re not ready for that? Basically, you need to know whether or not this person wants this date to lead to the same kind of interaction that you do. If you’re not looking for the same thing, what’s the point?
Question 3: Have there been any red flags?
While you have been conversing, have there been any red flags? Did they ask for money? Unfortunately, people do lose money to dating scams. Have there been any long gaps in communication, have they avoided personal questions? Have they said anything that made you feel uncomfortable? If any of these things have happened, don’t meet up, in fact, you should probably cease contact. It can actually be a red flag when someone doesn’t want to meet up – a sign that someone is married, or not who they say they are – but don’t risk your safety or your happiness by meeting up with someone you have misgivings about. There are some good people out there and meeting with ones you’re unsure about will only waste your time.
Okay, I’m ready to meet up!
If you have asked yourself these questions and you feel like you have answered them satisfactorily, then organise that meet up! Remember to stay safe and, if you’re doing the inviting, make the tone light. It’s a really good idea to have your first meeting somewhere busy and in the day time – a coffee date, or a lunch somewhere that does tapas. Tell someone where you’re going and take your phone. Be prepared for anything – including some sparks igniting between you!