Before The Meet Up

You’ve picked the perfect dating app and you’ve made your profile flawless! You’ve gone through the matchmaking section of the site, swiped right on potential dates, swiped left on the “absolutely not’s” and now you have a few people you’ve been messaging. What happens now? This awkward phase between the first message and the first meet up is actually one of the most important stages of the start to a relationship that has been build online. It’s normal to feel nervous while being hopeful and excited at the same time, with a dash of “How does this work again?” This stage of the relationship is delicate but I promise you that it’s navigable. My current relationship was established using a dating app and I’ve learned a lot about online dating in the process. I decided to use OKC and it was definitely a way to more personally connect to people than what I found on POF and Tinder. You should pick an app that has an interface that you find easy to use and effective. The apps I tried at one point or another include OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Clover. Download a few to test them out, but only use one or two. You don’t want to have to juggle multiple sites.

I’ll give you a quick run through of the apps I’ve used. Picking a good app is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to online dating. OKC was my favorite that I used, as I found people that were more commonly looking to find someone special over a one night stand. I got the most messages from this app and it was the most enjoyable to be a part of. Tinder was my second favorite because of how easy the swiping interface was to use. I also found the most attractive people on Tinder. Not sure why this is, but hey, I’m not complaining. Clover was strictly based off of photos and I removed it within days of downloading it. I want someone to look at my profile. Not just judge a photo and swipe. Not to mention I never got a first message longer then one word. I also found that POF and Coffee Meets Bagel didn’t work for me even though I know couples that have found love on these sites.

 

When you are searching for connections there are three options; the matchmaking system, views, and swiping. Some apps have a matchmaking section where you will answer questions and the site will match you up to potential matches with a percentage. This can be hit or miss, but my current man received a 55% match, so it seems to work well enough. With views, you can see who has looked at your profile and then go and investigate theirs in return. However, I don’t recommend using the views as much as the other two systems, as if someone was interested when they viewed your profile, they should have taken the time to send a message anyways. You don’t need to return a view when you should be returning the message they never sent. Swiping is based off of photos mainly. I chatted with many matches I made by swiping so I would definitely recommend it as an easy place to start. In the very least you know that you have a natural attraction to them, but know that someone that is easy on the eyes, isn’t always compatible personality wise.

Next step in this awkward yet intriguing phase, is making first contact and seeing if there is a potential for a romantic relationship. It’s normal to not have a connection with everyone you’re matched with or swiped right on. The internet isn’t flawless, and just because your answers seemed to be compatible on a test, doesn’t necessarily mean you should start picking a wedding date. While we’re on this topic I think it’s worth saying that not everyone you find attractive will have a personality as likable as their looks. If you don’t feel the potential after a few messages,don’t drag it on, cut off communication and continue on your merry way. At the same time you don’t need to feel fireworks after just a few messages, but if you couldn’t even find a spark when handed a pack of matches, then he probably isn’t for you. I messaged back and forth with six or seven men before I found the one that was right for me. A study of multiple dating sites found that a connection is more likely to be established if the woman sends the first message. Men, don’t let this discourage you from messaging someone that you suspect potential with. Many women don’t feel comfortable making the first move even though apparently they should be more open about making first contact. Women are three times more likely to receive a reply if they message first compared to men, which is another reason ladies might want to consider making that first step. Just for the record, I did indeed message my current man first so it worked out in my benefit. It is also worth saying that out of the handful of men I communicated with, I only sent the first message to one of them. All the others had messaged me first.

 

Give some leadway as everyone isn’t good with words. My match’s profile didn’t have perfect grammar, but he seemed interesting and had a few of my “must have qualities.” I later found out that he is dyslexic so I’m glad that I didn’t look too far into grammar or spelling. Be aware of traits that you like in a potential romantic match. I’ve always been the type of person that had a type. That ended up following through online and my current match is ex military and a single parent. My last four relationships have been with someone that was ex military, and I myself am a single mom. So this seemed to make sense for me. Don’t overlook what makes sense for you, but also be willing to look at the facts, and then be willing to look past them. We all see their age, work, education, and interests first, but what does their profile reveal about their values? If you were only willing to look for someone 25 to 30 and they’re 32- don’t just click right off the page. Know that some things probably aren’t as important as you originally though they were. It’s acceptable to talk to multiple people that you’re interested in, don’t be shy, but also don’t over do it or you’ll end up with an out of control traffic situation. You don’t want to have to keep a spreadsheet just to know who you’re talking to. Nobody wants to mix up Mike with Mark after all.

When writing the first message you want to grab their interest and give them a reason to want to reply. Try to write naturally. The first message is awkward no matter how charming you are, so just do your best. With that being said, there are some things I really recommend doing. When writing that first contact make sure you’re literate! Nobody wants to read a mess of text speak and awful spelling. You want them to reply, not to stop and wonder if a five year old wrote the message. Don’t come off too strong. Men especially should note that first messages using the words “sexy” and “beautiful” only received a reply between 15% and 25% of the time. Not very good odds! Be engaging when reaching out! You are three times more likely to get a reply when using specifics. The most successful messages are those that mention a specific band or movie that the person listed in their profile. Of course that’s provided that they actually filled out the entire profile. I did use specific movies and bands on mine, and I believe my match did as well. You can also ask your potential match a question. This works for both genders, but women especially love talking about themselves (Ladies, you know we do!) so asking them a question proves effective. That also gives the person a reason to reply and makes them feel like you actually care to get to know who they are. Even better is the fact that us ladies, are actually rooting for the men! We get so many bad messages that we will usually reply to one that is half decent. We want to give you a chance, but you need to put some effort into your message. If all else fails try to be funny in a charming way. Making jokes is a good way to break the ice. It was found in a 2014 study that you were 17% more likely for the messaging to end in an exchange of numbers if “Lol” was used in the first message. A good sense of humor is one of the top traits women look for. If you can make me laugh, say something interesting, and attempt to get to know me, I can guarantee I have already put you on my radar, and the secret is other women are the same way!

 

Take the messaging off of the site!Communication needs to advance to text at some point and the sooner, the better. A good rule of thumb, is that the phone number should be offered by the man so that the women isn’t giving out her number unless she’s comfortable. My match gave me his number two nights after we started messaging. I messaged one guy my number, turned out he wasn’t interested. If the man is interested he will offer you his number- trust me! Also think through who you give your number to. You don’t want to be texting too many people as breaking communication is harder when they have your number.

How do you know when to move from the screen to meeting in person? A study done by Artemio Ramirez shows small window of time where you’re most likely to have the highest level of potential for a meet up. This is the reason you should follow the 17 day rule. Anyone I met online I met up with before that time frame ended, just as the study recommends. My current guy met up with me 11 days after the first message. When getting ready to send the first message there are a few things you should remember. You want the first message to be somewhere between “Hi” and your entire life story. Make sure that the messages you send are ridiculously short, or obnoxiously long. Ask questions about the other person. You’re trying to see if there is a connection so you should also be honest in your own answers. If you find that they aren’t asking about you and just let you ask all the questions, that’s potentially a red flag.

Remember to respect each other’s safety concerns. Meet in a public place in daylight hours, drive yourself, let others know where you are and arrange to call a friend after the date so they know you arrived home safely. Men shouldn’t take offense to this. She doesn’t think you’re a crazed maniac, but she has the right to protect herself and should be given respect for doing so.

Always dress your best, drink light or not at all, and don’t complain! Out of singles that date online surveyed on the top dating apps, 92% drink on a first date so don’t be afraid to have a glass, but don’t overdo it. Put your best foot forward and be positive and friendly. Nobody wants to meet up to hear a lecture about your ex, plus it can make it seem like you haven’t moved on. Also know that is someone does spend a lot of time complaining about a past relationship, they probably aren’t over theirs ex and you should proceed with caution. Nothing is worse then getting attached to someone who’s heart isn’t in it.

 

It’s normal to have mixed feelings about meeting up with your match. It’s definitely a nerve wracking experience. The two days before my first meet up gave me butterflies. Understand that it’s also normal to feel excited. This exhilarating phase is one you will look back on if the relationship progresses farther, so try to remember to just have fun and relax as much as you can.

Men follow up more often then women but both genders will follow up and most expect a text within 24 hours. I personally always follow up with a text to thank the guy that took me out. More women should be willing to send the follow up text. 6% of men do follow the “three day rule” which is outdated in my opinion. It only takes three seconds to send a text or message, why take three days to do it?

There a few studies that have come up with some interesting findings. I feel like knowing this ahead of time will benefit others, and if not, it’s still some interesting numbers at least. Out of surveyed singles that met online, 47% say they look up their date on Facebook before meeting and 32% ask for a first and last name. I did indeed look up my current guy on Facebook before meeting up. When we first started messaging he gave me a nickname so eventually I asked what his actual name was. When I did he gave me his full name. So really I’m not sure if either of us really asked. 50% of online daters say that they have broken it off with a potential match because they felt the person was too pessimistic. 60% say that they don’t expect to feel chemistry until the second date. If you don’t feel that initial click, that’s okay but if the person doesn’t l60% of OKC users say they wouldn’t date across party lines. This statistic I personally found a bit shocking but I can understand it at the same time. I was apparently apart of the 40% that was willing. My current guy is the opposite party that I am. We haven’t had issues yet and are always willing to communicate about how we feel on current events. We have found that as long as we respect and understand the other person, then the actual viewpoint isn’t that important. Usually we can find common ground, and if we can’t then in the end we just agree to disagree and move on with our day. However, 55% of surveyed singles said that politics are strictly forbidden on the first two dates.

Online dating can open your world to people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Don’t limit yourself to a closed off circle when online dating has the potential to help you find someone truly special. Statistics show that 20% of people in committed relationships right now met online, and 7% of couples that got married in 2015 met on a dating site. These numbers are growing each year as online dating becomes more popular. It truly is what you make out of it. I hope this article helps those of you currently looking online for that spark, and remember to learn what works for you from your own experiences.

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