Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Poll: In Online Dating, How Long do You Wait Before Meeting in Person?

This poll is inspired by a recent message board thread about online dating and how long people wait to schedule dates with people they click with. Back when I did a little online dating (always locally), I liked to exchange emails for about a week or two before meeting in person. I don’t think I ever asked anyone out, but I may have made some nudges in that direction, hinting that I was ready to take things offline. I figured if more than three weeks had gone by and we still hadn’t met face-to-face, then there wasn’t enough interest in making it happen and I moved on already. What about you? What’s your normal practice?

[polldaddy poll=”6302366″]

19 comments… add one
  • Christy June 20, 2012, 2:11 pm

    I used to wait WAY too long. I’d imagine a connection online that literally NEVER panned out in person. (Except for the girl with whom I made plans, but who somehow got herself a girlfriend in the week between the plan being made and the date? So then we just met in a friendly way. But that was also a bad thing that happened from waiting too long.)

    I did a fair bit of online dating, and let me tell you, the real world worked much better for my awkward self. Fewer expectations.

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  • Matthew June 20, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Anything more than a few emails is silly. Connection and chemistry online just doesn’t at all imply a solid connection and chemistry in real life. There’s really very little point in not meeting in person sooner rather than later.

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  • honeybeenicki June 20, 2012, 2:19 pm

    I’ve never had the joy of online dating, but I think I would probably go with a few emails and at least one phone call and probably wouldn’t wait more than about 2 weeks.

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  • Fabelle June 20, 2012, 2:26 pm

    I have no experience with this, but I had to laugh at the last option 🙂

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  • MissDre June 20, 2012, 3:08 pm

    I made my current BF within 4 or 5 days I think? But we had been emailing back and forth all day for those 4 days.

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    • MissDre June 20, 2012, 3:16 pm

      met* (not made)

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  • RMM0278 June 20, 2012, 3:12 pm

    Back when I did it, I had a two email maximum. Although I never asked anyone out, I aimed for having a date set by the third email or sooner. There’s no point in wasting time emailing each other. I wanted to get the meeting over with so I could see if there was any connection.

    When I first started, I ended up wasting a lot of time with guys who, although in my zip code, just wanted a pen pal. (Seriously, WHY do online dating if you end up stretching out email correspondence for a month?) I wasted a lot of time, effort, and attention trying to woo them only to find out in their 5th, 8th, 11th email that they’re still discussing details in my profile and what I do for a living.

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    • rachel June 20, 2012, 3:26 pm

      This always happened to me with guys who weren’t in my zip code. I can remember a guy in Boulder, and one in Denver (I live about an hour away from both) that turned into pen pals because I guess it just wasn’t worth it to either of us to make the drive.

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      • Will.i.am June 21, 2012, 8:41 am

        Ha. Online dating is nothing but options. There’s so many options in front of you that you really don’t have to settle. When I did it, I saw plenty of profiles disappear for a week or two and then come back online. Then, disappear for another week, then come back online.

        I will say this wholeheartedly, I think online dating is one of the worse things for dating. It absolutely ruins chemistry and destroys your self esteem. Meeting someone in real life has still given me much greater results than meeting someone online. With online, it’s just too easy to bail!

      • zombeyonce June 21, 2012, 11:28 am

        I disagree that online dating ruins chemistry. I met my husband online and we emailed back and forth for about a week and a half before we met.

        When I met him on our first date, he had a very unpleasant (to me, but probably not to hipster girls) thick handlebar mustache and he was very soft-spoken, making it hard for me to hear a lot of what he said. If I hadn’t seen other pictures of him clean shaven or enjoyed his emails so much (they were fantastic and hilarious), I may have been a lot more shallow and not looked past the facial hair and the quietness and not tried to hard to hear what he had to say.

        I’m glad I did, because he looks damn hot without that mustache, and I can actually hear him now and he’s just as hilarious as his emails were. If he hadn’t hooked me with them and it had just been a blind date, I’m not sure I would have gone on a second date with him. That would have been a tragedy.

        It IS easy to bail when you only meet someone online, but it’s awfully easy to bail when you meet them in person, too. I dated a few other people I met online before I met my husband, and while there were plenty of jerks, there were also people I may have accepted a date from if I had met them in person first, but I quickly found out they were not for me when we messaged back and forth on the dating site. And the guys I did meet in person seemed more interested in a second date than most guys I’ve dated from “the real world.” And as far as chemistry goes, a good emailer can get me feeling the chemistry pretty easily.

      • zombeyonce June 21, 2012, 11:29 am

        *too hard

  • Kristina June 20, 2012, 3:13 pm

    I’m not sure I would ever try online dating–it seems so up in the air–it works great for some, horribly for others. I get creeped out enough by random guys in public asking for my number, that meeting someone I’ve only talked to a few times online (where it’s so easy to be someone else) creeps me out a bit.

    I imagine you have to do a lot of weeding out in online dating, and to me, that seems like a waste of time. I think many people see online dating as a last resort, and may end up trying to rush or force a connection with someone online first (because it takes less time), instead of trying to meet up in person right away to see if there is a real-life connection.

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    • KP June 20, 2012, 5:45 pm

      I think at this point in time, more people than not actually see online dating as a first resort, not a last one. Almost every single guy and girl that i know over 30 has an online profile, and for good reason. You’re exponentially expanding your circle of possible dates by casting a much wider net than you would otherwise have through friends or meeting people in your daily life. You can see upfront if you have things in common or if there are major deal breakers that you might otherwise overlook (religion, kids, education, etc). I think it allows you to be much truer to yourself and what you’re looking for in a person. And it can be a lot of fun! You get to be proactive in the dating process and get to meet interesting new people. And have a few horror stories that you’ll laugh about later with your friends.

      But of course I’m biased because I met my husband online, and another good friend met her husband online. And I met my husband in person less than a week after the first email, and I was the one to suggest it. It turned out we lived in the same town but would never have met otherwise (in all likelihood). So thanks, online dating!!

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      • Lydia June 21, 2012, 8:13 am

        I agree, it was very much a first resort for me when I became single again a few years ago. I always liked the clarity of online dating as well – there’s no wondering if that guy’s talking to you because he’s just friendly, or because he’s interested in something more – you’re on a dating site, so you know it is the latter, and can respond with that in mind.

  • rachel June 20, 2012, 3:25 pm

    I picked a few emails and a phone call, though with guys I actually met up with it was more likely, a couple emails and then a couple of good chats on gchat. I met my boyfriend on OkCupid.

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  • BettyBoop June 20, 2012, 5:39 pm

    I’ve usually waited 3 weeks to a month to meet. Between work, school and talking with other guys, it can sometimes be hard to find a night that isn’t booked for a date. Plus, I like to see if they can keep my interest past a couple of emails. Sometimes the first couple emails are great and then they let loose some deal breaker and I don’t see the point of meeting then. This system has worked well for me, I’ve dated more than half the guys I’ve met in person for at least a couple of months.

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  • DMR June 20, 2012, 5:44 pm

    No point in dragging it out. Sometimes you can develop a rapport online and then when you meet there’s no chemistry, and that is very disappointing. Also, all those important questions that you are dying to ask to vet the prospective person with can just as easily be asked over a mid morning coffee.

    I used to drag out the whole online thing, flirting, messaging and so on… but it’s really a waste of time.

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  • theattack June 20, 2012, 11:57 pm

    I’ve never done any online dating, but I think I would want to wait a few weeks. I think talking to them a little longer can help gather information that you can use to make judgments about whether or not they’re safe or even interesting. Of course you can’t be sure, but it’s more likely that you’ll get some clues and info that can help. For example, my best friend was going to meet a guy until she found out that he was fired from his last job for throwing things at another employee out of anger. That little gem certainly didn’t come out in the first couple of emails.

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  • Lydia June 21, 2012, 8:24 am

    For me, it varied wildly, though by the end of it I aimed to keep the ‘waiting time’ shorter, after having learned my lesson with built up expectations that kept being disappointed. At the start, it could take up to several months before I met someone in real life – that was a bad idea.

    I had my last date three years ago, when I met my fiancé. We exchanged e-mails for about three weeks before meeting up. We both would have preferred to meet sooner but it was a REALLY busy time in my life, so I couldn’t arrange it any earlier.

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