How to have better quality dates online, and meet a future partner (like I did)
A younger friend of mine has been online dating for a while. She’s in her 30’s looking for Mr. Right or someone compatible to love and possibly marry. With Zero luck.
Dating for her is a means to an end. Her batting average of dates showing up according to her is about 50%. I probed further to see if I could offer her advice as a friend. This is how my sequence of questions and her replies went:
Me: How long do you write back and forth before meeting each potential date?
My friend: About a week.
Me: How do they usually get to the topic of meeting in person (and who makes the first move)?
My friend: I usually do by suggesting to meet at a local coffee sweets place (that by the way, I suggested to her instead of a bar for one of her dates months prior).
Me: How do these potential dates reply back and when?
My friend: They usually reply by the night before and answer something along the lines like “Sure I’ll meet you at (her proposed time and place).”
Me: What happens when you go to the meeting place?
That’s when I learned her 50% batting average of no-shows. And proceeded to give her my two cents having had experience dating online before, and my actually meeting my ex-husband that way (who is a still a friend).
What Advice Did I Give My Friend (And Anyone Online Dating):
Write for a longer length of time with potential dates. The back and forth writing will help establish a stronger connection, than if you meet a stranger without knowing much about them. Try to get to the communication with the potential date about their day to day life, so you can get a glimpse of this person as a real person. Because if you end up dating this person long-term, you’ll want to know what their life is really like. For example, what type of things they’re working on and what they do on weekends.
When I met my ex-husband, we actually wrote for a month before meeting in person. I was thinking, if this keeps going on, I’m never going to meet this person. But then one day, he called and I heard his voice before we met in person. That’s not the usual way of online dating, but what’s important is, we had a connection before we even met in person.
It was like a “blind date” only because we hadn’t met before, but it wasn’t blind as we already knew a little about each other’s lives. He sent me recent photos of him before we met, so I wasn’t surprised when I actually met him in person for a smoothie. Everything matched up for the first date. That’s what a successful online first date can be like.
Communicating Before Meeting In Person
Before meeting in person when you‘re in communication stage, try to stay away from talking about what your and their ideal mate is like, and what you and they are looking for. It may sound too specific in writing and you or they may rule each other out too soon. (For example, it’s usually too soon to start talking about starting a family as it could scare the other one off).
If this person is Mr. or Mrs. Right, then they are looking for someone like you, if not you (so you would be their ideal). Think in those terms.
Try to be more casual in conversation. Look at your getting to know this person through computers and phones, as though he could be Mr. or Mrs. Right. You’re gathering (and providing) information. When writing about yourself, don’t make up anything or portray yourself as something else. Hope for the best in each email or text, but don’t rule out a possible strike out based on what you get back as a reply. If this person strikes out, you’re freed up to getting closer to the next person.
Even if you’re an outgoing, have-to-meet face-to-face-right-away type of person, try to dial it back a notch. By forcing yourself to slow it down from meeting right away, you make a deeper connection with someone who could be a potential long-term partner. When you see someone in person before knowing much about them, you make all kinds of judgment based on their looks, and appearances that can cloud the way you hear the words they say (for or against their favor).
Look at this time of writing one another as a special time to get to know one another without wasting each other’s time. Have a bit of patience for your own good.
Try to reply to an email as soon as possible. The potential date does the same thing (it could be a few days before a reply). This isn’t work where you’re expected to return communication in 24 hours. Don’t fret.
Meeting them instead of waiting for an email or text, could seem like it would be more efficient. Especially if you think your appearance and in person persona is much better than in writing (and online photos aren’t enough).
Waiting to meet is worth the gamble though, if it’s meant to be with this person. You’re getting a preview and seeing what they are like. It’s not you throwing yourself their way. They should be curious enough about you to wait (and you can learn if they are serious about dating with similar goals as you). In the process, you could also learn a yellow or red flag that makes this person ineligible to date you.
When I online dated with one dating site that’s no longer around, some men weeded themselves out simply by typing answers that weren’t asked by me (with no explanation of the mistake)!
And if you find out there’s something that could be a “deal breaker” for you before meeting, you may choose to not meet at all or meet with the expectation that this person could be a friend only. You may have curiosity. You have that right. Some areas are “gray” and some are “black and white”.
Scenario: the potential dates writes something like, I’m hanging with the boys (or girls) and it could be a wild night. Or something similar.
With just this information alone, you know this isn’t Mr. or Mrs. Right! Who tells you this stuff when they barely know you in the grand scheme of things (and haven’t yet met you in person)? If you keep talking to a person like this, they are likely seeing if you’re the type of person who is out for fun or they could be very carefree. If you stop writing to this person, you’re showing you’re no longer interested.
If this person reaches back out, and redeems him or herself with explanation, then that could be okay. For example, they were trying to sound cool and outgoing, when in fact, they’re insecure and shy. The key is that they come back, apologize in a way, and explain what was said that is acceptable to you.
The person should realize it on their own and be mature enough to realize that’s why they’re not hearing back from you (if they care to). You’ll see if they’re worth your further time.
But if the person just glosses over what was inappropriately written and starts writing again to connect, you should casually ask them how their night was (as they were open enough to tell you about it beforehand). Pay attention to what they say back and decide if this person is worthy to continue the conversation with. You could learn something valuable about this person so early on. Don’t ignore what you learn.
How to Think During This Time
Don’t let what you’ve heard about what other not-so-classy-as-you people do on dates, cloud your sensibilities. They are probably not getting what they want in dating. They are compromising themselves and are not models in the dating area to replicate.
Many people’s goals in dating is to meet a future boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. Loose individuals may get more dates but they’re not getting a husband or wife. You’re different, a person who expects their potential date to be a gentleman or respectable woman on a date, qualities you look for in a spouse. Set and maintain that tone. Don’t be stiff, but respect yourself.
Let the man take the lead in setting up the date (even the shyest of men, can come out of their shell, if they think they’ve found Mrs. Right). If you’re a woman, you can suggest meeting in person at some point, but it’s better to let the man take the lead. It’s best to leave it this way in the beginning for the first few dates.
Benefit of Corresponding Longer
“By establishing connection through writing (ideally for a few weeks) and letting the male make the move, they are most likely to show up for the date”, as I pointed this out to my friend.
And you won’t be disappointed and waste your time waiting for a “no show” who could’ve been a possibility.
And when you meet in person, you can see if the person matches who you’ve been writing to. It could be a great date.
You could already be familiar with this person before you meet instead of starting off with no or little information. If you meet too soon, then you won’t have that additional tell-tale experience and relationship building (whether or not it turns into a relationship).
Meeting Your Online Date In Person — Finally When The Day Arrives
When the day arrives to meet, if you feel nervous because you have so much anticipation “riding” on the date, try not to be. Meeting this person in person is when your dating actually begins. The online correspondence leading up was preliminary qualifying information to make it to this step. Don’t put the “cart before the horse” by jumping ahead steps.
You now know some things about this person and when you meet, you could already have a feeling of familiarity. This can be calming.
It’s easy to get excited if the person you meet is someone that you think has last-ability, but try to keep thinking this person has potential until you actually “go steady” (so you don’t get disappointed).
If on the first date, the person is completely different from who you thought they were from written conversation, you have to question the disconnect. Sure, the person could be a bad writer or poor in person communicator (or just nervous), but you were able to understand them well enough to reply back and meet, so there shouldn’t be a complete 180 degrees difference.
Good relationships aren’t built on confusion. You should feel more comfortable as the date moves on.
Meeting Your Online Dating Expectation and Goals
If your end goal in mind is good dates and getting closer to finding a partner, with the longer correspondence time strategy, you may end up having less actual dates than if you use the tactic of setting up in person dates right away, but your percentage show ups (and date quality) should be higher.
You may even get 100% shows (instead of my friend’s 50% average).
Now, wouldn’t that be a different story than getting stood up the first time (making you wonder about dating and yourself)? Or of having nothing in common to talk about (and sitting through bad dates)? Or meeting someone in person you learn has red flags (and wasting your time)? These are all benefits to consider about writing longer before meeting your online date.