When’s the Best Time to Meet an Online Date?

Posted by Delaine - May 29, 2009 - Concerns & Fears, Dating & Sex, Internet Dating - 3 Comments


Yesterday, I received an email from a newly-separated woman who’d recently signed up on a dating site.  She wrote:  

“I read your article that said you don’t spend a lot of time talking to prospective dates on the phone or IM because you find it sets up false expectations.   My concern is that I’m going to meet a wacko or stalker!  So how long DO you talk to online men before meeting face-to-face?”

When it comes right down it, I think every woman/man has to make that ‘time’ decision for herself/himself.  So many factors come into play, ie: how long you’ve been separated, how much you trust your intuition, your confidence level, your comfort with the online medium, etc.

The very first man I met off a dating site I treated like a sociopath.  Seriously – I must have asked him a thousand question over a period of three weeks before agreeing to meet.  And though I now look back on that and chuckle, I know I was in a different head/heart-space back then.  Moreover, I was shocked and kinda frightened by this strange dynamic world called e-dating.  I needed time to adjust, so I took it – and so should you.  My golden rule: never allow anyone to pressure you into meeting before YOU think you’re ready.  Period.

My approach to e-dating today is way more relaxed in some ways, yet stricter in others.  I tend to rely heavily on my intuition, how ever communication transpires.  (Remember, I’ve been accused of brushing men off too easilyJ). 

 As a general rule, I tend to exchange a handful of emails with a man, or have a few brief IM chats  (I don’t have hours to chat so I keep them under a half-hour).  Usually I have a phone conversation with him too – the phone is way more telling than the computer in my books.   

I’m also always on the look-out for red flags – you know, if he’s secretive, if he won’t send photos, if his Instant Messenger response time is delayed as if he’s talking to another woman simultaneously… 

 And even if I do meet a man in person, I don’t normally give out my address, phone number, or any info on my kids.   AND I make sure we meet in a public place.

I think common sense and intuition go a long way in the e-dating world.    And as my wise best friend Hali once said to me, “If you meet a guy in a bar and give him your phone number without knowing much about him, he could just as easily be a stalker or freak as these guys you screen online.”  I agree.