How many messages before it’s normal to meet up?
I was recently asked this question by a client who was at the beginning of her online dating journey. While the point of online dating is to eventually meet in person, the timeline of when that should happen is far from set in stone.
The first thing to remember is that there is no “normal.” Everyone has different levels of comfort, and not everyone is expected to act the same way.
I had a client tell me he has been online dating for 5 years, and has never met anyone in person. Despite having many connections and some promising conversations, he’d hardly ever felt a strong enough spark to take that first step.
I had another client tell me that his first message was always an invitation to meet up and chat in person. He hated texting, found it pointless to ask questions through a screen, and would rather jump right in.
The majority of people fall between these two extremes, and while there’s no perfect answer, I would urge the reader to lean towards sooner rather than later. Think of how many online conversations have started out strong, and then fizzled out before plans ever manifest.
In addition, there are some aspects of chemistry that you just can’t feel while chatting online. Things like their sense of humor, their specific mannerisms, the way they time their words and the way they make eye contact– these are things that simply do not translate to online communication.
You wouldn’t want to spend weeks messaging someone just to find out there’s no spark in person. Or lose interest in someone who is more of a dry texter but would have been electrifying in person.
Either way– if the date makes or breaks the match– it’s better to know as earlier.
With that said, I’m not saying that you need to race to meet your matches as soon as the notification pops up. Unlike a matchmaking service or blind dating, online dating allows you to use your own best judgment and intuition to decide which matches to move forward with.
Having a baseline rapport and familiarity with a match before meeting will make the transition to a real life environment seamless, comfortable, and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Remember that online dating does not mean an online relationship. Unless your goal is to have a virtual significant other, it’s in your best interest to move offline– and move forward– as soon as possible.