- What’s the best way to initiate contact with a match if I’m a guy? If I’m a girl?
- Should I initiate contact with a guy if I am a girl?
- What are some general communication tips?
- How long should we communicate online before meeting in person? When is the appropriate time to initiate a first date?
- What are some “rookie mistakes” I should be careful to avoid?
- Skip to Chapter 5 :: Getting This Show on the Road: Moving from the Communication Stage to the First Date
1. What’s the best way to initiate contact with a match if I’m a guy? If I’m a girl?
Following the communication options that are on the site are always the safest route. Those guardrails are in place for a reason; communicating via the site gives both parties time to discern levels of interest and red flags.
Eventually, though, communication should lead to a phone call. And, call us old-fashioned, but we think the guy should be the one to call the girl. Having a guy type, “My number is 555-1212. Call me if you want,” doesn’t scream “I’m pursuing you.” Some guys might think that by putting the ball in the girl’s court, it allows her to move as she’s ready. But to us it screams, “I’m lazy,” or “I’m afraid of rejection.” Set up a time to call her when you ask for her number. Be straightforward and call her when you say you will call her.
If you’re a girl, and you’ve given him your number, answer the phone at the agreed upon time. It can be incredibly frustrating to guys when they’ve been forthright and pursued you well, only to be met with flakiness.
For both parties, don’t settle for a texting relationship. You’re going to have to talk on the phone to get to know each other–unless you skip that and go straight for the date. Regardless, texting back and forth without actually talking in person is a facade, and it’s not based in reality. Anyone can make you feel good over a text message; it doesn’t mean you’ve met your soulmate.
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2. Should I initiate contact with a guy if I am a girl?
We know girls who do make the first effort at communicating with a match, and we know girls who don’t. The ones who do see no problem with sending him questions or a message letting him know she liked his profile. The ones who don’t feel that it’s a man’s role to pursue a woman–even online–so they choose not to make the first move. It’s a matter of personal conviction, so you’re on your own with this one!
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3. What are some general communication tips?
How you choose to communicate with your match will vary based upon personality, but there are 2 specific problem areas we’ve seen:
::Appropriate Wait Time
It’s a delicate balance, learning when to say more and when to stop talking. There are a host of reasons why someone might not respond to you in a timely manner: they are presently “in talks” with someone else and trying to see what happens with it before moving onto another match, they are busy, they’re out of town, their internet access is sketchy, and–the biggest reason–they’re not interested.
A good rule of thumb is one follow-up is okay, but much more than that with no response from the other party borderlines on too much. If you’ve reached out once and the person has not responded, wait a week or so and try once more. If that results in nothing, then let it go. Despite the fact that you really think this could be The One or that you worry that this is the ONE TIME your account is malfunctioning and they’re not getting your messages, it’s okay. Let it go. They got your messages, and if they’re interested, they’ll respond.
::Conversational Tennis Match
What should you say in your first communication with a match? Again, this is a delicate balance. From experience, we can tell you that nothing is more annoying than when someone sends a message that is super short and doesn’t really participate in the tennis match of conversation. For example, “Hi there. I liked your profile. Hit me up if you want to talk.”
Talk about yourself, but don’t regurgitate your profile. Your match has read all of that; give them more information about yourself. There’s no need to write a dissertation of your life since birth, but a couple of paragraphs of conversation topics will do. And, by all means, ask them questions about themselves. Tennis match, remember?
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4. How long should we communicate online before meeting in person? When is the appropriate time to initiate a first date?
Not a minute before you’re comfortable. Sure, there will always be nervous first-date jitters, but listen to your gut. If you’re still nervous about whether or not you’ll be safe with this person, or if some red flags have gone off along the way, there’s no reason to rush things. Talking on the phone for a while is perfectly fine. If your match seems to be speeding through things, and it leaves you uneasy, then put the brakes on and let them know. Most people will respect that, and slow down. If not, then that might be a clue that this match isn’t for you.
Also, feel free to request a Skype or FaceTime conversation or two before you actually agree to go on a first date. It might actually make the first date more comfortable.
Some people get more comfortable with online dating methods over time and speed things up. But if you’re new to online dating, you should know a typical process might be to message a few times, talk on the phone a few times, and then meet in person.
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5. What are some “rookie mistakes” I should be careful to avoid?
You’ll discover a great deal about yourself and how you choose to go about online dating the more you do it, but here are a few things we figured out the more we did it.
::Assume you’re not the only person your match is communicating with.
You don’t achieve playa status because you’re talking to several people at one time. It’s kind of assumed that you will be, actually. Some have a hard time keeping up with communications with multiple people, so they choose to only talk to one person at a time, but go ahead and decide in your own mind that the person you’re talking to is talking to others.
In a Christian subculture that “kissed dating goodbye,” this might take some getting used to, but keep in mind that dating is about getting to know yourself and others. If you keep your expectations low, you will put less pressure on yourself. Then, if the communication fizzles or if the date doesn’t go well, you won’t be as devastated. Plus, it will allow you to sit down at your computer and find talk to another match pretty soon after.
::You don’t have to go out with every person who communicates with you.
At first, you might be curious about the person you’re communicating with. You might want to see what they’re really like in real life, even though you’re pretty sure they’re not for you, because you’re new to the world of online dating. That’s fine. A couple of awkward dates will kill that curiosity really quickly and help you decide that you don’t have to go out with every person who communicates with you. You can be picky, but be careful with the pickiness or you could take the fun right out of it.
::It’s okay to Google your match.
In the world of Google and social media, doing a quick background check before a date is not a bad thing. Seeing what friends you have in common or what your match has to say in 140 characters or less can tell you a lot about a person. Just remember: They’re probably doing the same thing for you.
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