When to arrange to meet in person?

Online dating acts as a steppingstone between being single and meeting up with someone you’ve been messaging. Meeting in person is the next natural step to take. However it can be quite daunting receiving a request to meet up, even when you know that’s the reason you’ve joined an online dating website in the first place. Alternatively you may be the one asking to meet up but are worried it’s too soon to ask.

When to ask?

You don’t want to leave it too long before meeting up. Endless messaging could result in one or both of you becoming bored, but it’s very easy to fall into this pattern. Over time you risk picturing them in your mind of how you want them to be. If you leave it too long to meet, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment once you realise they’re not how you imagined. Usually within six weeks of communicating, meeting each other will have been suggested.

Ideally, 2-3 weeks after meeting online is an ideal time to arrange to meet, but only if you’ve been in frequent contact and feel happy enough to come face to face. If you’ve been in regular contact, you should by now have a basic idea of what they are like. Meeting on person will help to fill in the missing gaps and enable you to get to know them even better.

Many people wait for certain signs before agreeing to meet face to face. They feel it reduces their chances of rejection if they have a better understanding of the person they’re meeting. Although it can take time for these signs to come, it might be worth it in the long run. The signs may include:

  • Regular contact
  • Have you exchanged basic interest with each other?
  • Do they have a sense of humour?
  • Do you have things in common?
  • Do you have shared interests?
  • Have you complimented each other?

Too soon to meet?

If someone asks to meet you instantly, never feel pressurised to agree. Explain that you’d rather exchange some messages first and take it from there, especially if you’re new to online dating. If they’re worth meeting and genuinely like the sound of you, they’ll respect this and continue exchanging messages with you; if they’re not happy to wait, then they weren’t worth it, so don’t waste time being disappointed.

If you’re the one who asks to meet with another member straight away, don’t be put off if they want to exchange messages for a short while first. If 2-3 weeks passes and they’re still not keen on meeting, then you need to assess the situation and make a decision whether you’re happy to wait or if it’s obvious they’ve no intention of meeting you.

If someone takes you by surprise and asks you out sooner than you were expecting, don’t panic. If you like them so far and you’ve been in regular contact, then there’s no real reason to put off meeting up; after all, it’s a more efficient way of getting to know someone better. Suggest your first meeting be short and sweet: go for a coffee, or even just for a walk, remembering to always put your safety first.

Obviously there will be factors that play a part when arranging to meet up, such as distance, family and work commitments. It’s not easy to drop everything and meet up immediately, but making the effort to arrange a date as soon as convenient for you both shows you’re genuinely interested and it’s a positive step towards your dating future.