Something awesome is probably going on right now, and you are most likely not aware of it. If you’re reading this blog, most likely you think that the answer to this question is a no-brainer. We can also guarantee that most people reading this blog feel the exact same way.
Except, here is the twist. A lot of the people who think this is a slam dunk no-brainer think so for the opposite answer as you.
What? Yup. Some people reading this think that you should spend a lot of time chatting with a new online dating match before you meet in person while some people reading this think that the conversation should be limited. So, who is right? Well, it all depends on how you choose to look at it. Let’s take a look at both arguments and show you why “the other side” thinks they are right.
Why You SHOULD Talk to an Online Dating Match A Lot Before Meeting
The main school of thought on this side of the argument is that your time is important. Life is already busy as it is. You don’t need to be wasting time going on dates with someone who you could have vetted in conversation before taking the time to get all dolled up (or dressed up) to meet them. If they are in clear “violation” of one of your deal breakers, then what’s the point of wasting your time going out on a date?
The other idea here is that people get excited and want to start building that connection. They find someone they find attractive who has a lot of great qualities and they want to get things moving as quickly as possible.
Why You SHOULD NOT Talk to an Online Dating Match A Lot Before Meeting
On the other side of the aisle, you have the people that think you should really only be using online dating to set up the actual dates. These people prefer to do all the meeting and vetting in person. Typically, they think that the online messaging is impersonal and doesn’t give you an accurate view of who someone really is and how they really are.
If you are one of these people or you’ve ever chatted with one online, it usually goes like this. You/they chat for a few, ask a few basic questions, and then ask if you want to schedule a time for coffee/drinks/dinner/a date. If you fit into this category as well, you think it’s awesome. If not, you think these people are impersonal and “trying to rush things.”
So, Who is Right?
This would be a bit of a worthless dating advice blog if we didn’t give you some insight into what we thought was the best course of action. Honestly, we think it’s a combination of the two. We completely understand that your time is valuable and you should not be wasting your time going on worthless dates that aren’t going to go anywhere.
On the flip side, we agree that chatting online can be impersonal and people can seem completely different via chat and text than they are in real life.
You may think that you’re getting to know someone you really like, when in fact they are completely different when you meet them. Our brains have a tendency to fill in the gaps the way we want when we are hopeful for something. Anything you can’t see or are unsure of when chatting with a match online will always fall in favor of what you want it to be which is a dangerous habit to get into.
Here’s what we recommend you do. Before you chat with a match, spend some time going through their profile. The most important thing that you need to figure out is if they violate any of your deal breakers. If they do, you can even save yourself the time of chatting with them online. If everything checks out in the profile, have a few good questions ready to ask them when you start chatting.
Chat long enough to get a good feel for who they are (the best you can online) and ask any other deal breaker questions that are important. Make sure that you aren’t interviewing them or that it doesn’t come across like that. It’s still ok to be forward, but don’t suck all of the fun out of it. If everything checks out and you’re interested in them, set up a date. There’s no reason to start falling for an internet persona and a few profile pictures.
Additionally, you can also look into using video chat software like Zoom or Skype to get to know them better. Some online dating sites like eHarmony even offer their own video dating software!
This will protect you in one other way as well. It will prevent you from getting hooked on someone who ends up being a flake. If you talk to someone online for weeks and then they never actually want to meet up in person, what’s the point? You’ll end up with a sore heart and back at square one.
The bottom line is that you need to talk to someone enough to make sure you aren’t wasting your time, but let the chemistry and relationship develop in person when you can see each other eye to eye. Your success rate will be much better this way.
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.