I always pictured it going something like this:
You’re sitting in a coffee shop writing. Occasionally sipping a steamy latte. A handsome stranger plops down at the table with a quick “hey there” or “excuse me”. You feel the spark, and that would be it.
Or maybe you’re out with friends, drink in hand, moving to the music. That elusive handsome stranger cuts in. The spark steals you away for a dance, and it all goes up from there.
As you grow older, unless you move into a more social industry, it only gets harder to meet people this way.
The reality is this:
For SO many reasons, this kind of organic meeting just isn’t common anymore. I’d like to blame it on technology. The idea that people are just so into their phones that they don’t even notice an opportunity to strike up a conversation with a stranger is passing them by.
I truly do believe that’s part of it, maybe even the root of the problem. Approaching someone in real life can be scary. It’s a 50/50 shot in the dark. You have to be okay with those odds. And the opportunity to do this sort of thing is rare. Believe me, I’ve only tried this twice LOL. Both times, the guys were just so shocked that we only had a short conversation before I walked away. It can catch people off guard.
This is where online dating comes in:
For a lot of people, the 50/50 odds of success is a lot easier to swallow from behind a screen. It can definitely take the pressure off.
Almost all the men I’ve dated introduced themselves to me online. Don’t get me wrong, I was totally leery about the whole thing at first. But now, I see the benefits, and I’m so glad my best friends encouraged me to give online dating a try.
First of all, it’s so much easier. Whether you’re scrolling profiles on the couch with a cup of tea or killing time on your phone on your lunch break, you can literally take the time to strike up a conversation with a cute stranger anywhere – at any time. Not only that, but you can really vet the person before choosing to reach out or respond to someone.
Where do they work?
Where do they live?
What are they really looking for?
These are just a few of the more important things you can discover before taking the time to grab a cup of coffee and meet in person. Now, of course, people can lie. And being cat-fished is a real possibility. But I haven’t had any issues like these thus far. The possibility for good definitely should outweigh the fear of the unknown.
If you’re thinking of trying online dating, here are a few helpful tips!
- Use the The Day Rule. Talk to someone through the online dating website or by phone for at least three days before meeting them in person. Use this time to ask them questions. Get a feel for their personality. See if their conversation seems in line with what’s in their profile. Even better, send a snapshot or two of yourself. Hopefully they’ll reciprocate with candids. Then you can be more sure that they really are who they say they are.
- Get their last name. Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Ensure they are who they say they are.
- When you do meet someone in person, do it on your turf. And set a time limit. If the date is somewhere public and neutral where you feel comfortable and familiar, you’ll feel a lot safer and a lot more relaxed. Always have somewhere to be. I usually set no more than two hours aside for the first date. If it’s going poorly, you have an out. If it’s not, STILL LEAVE. That’s what second dates are for.
- If, on the first meeting, a shared purpose isn’t clear – whether you both want to be friends, date, a serious relationship, ultimately marriage, etc. – make it clear. It’s better to be blunt in the beginning than wake up a few months from now realizing you’re both not on the same page.
- Do you feel the spark when you first meet? If it’s not there, call it quits. Trust me, if you’re not attracted to the person right away, the odds of those feelings developing is a long shot. Be honest. With yourself and them. If you still like them, settle on being friends.
- HAVE FUN. Don’t take online dating too seriously. If something weighty develops out of it – fantastic! But coming at it from a ‘no pressure’ stance makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable – and much less stressful!