But the simple truth is that messaging on the internet is nothing more than a fact-finding mission.You can gather information about the other person, but until you meet them you won’t know if ‘I love to laugh’ means Fawlty Towers or fart jokes. It’s easy to think you know a person better than you really do.Baldly, without meeting someone, there’s only so much information you can glean about them – knowing someone’s taste in films, music, food does not a personality make. There’s a danger of idealising them and imagining your future together before you’ve exchanged a single smile.What’s more, you have no way of telling which bits of information are true.Of course, just because you’re online dating, it doesn’t mean you should discount the chances of meeting someone offline, too.Go to parties, meet new friends and force yourself to speak to strangers – romantic potential, or not.But in all likelihood, you’re probably going to have a drink with someone who just doesn’t do it for you. I recall a friend excitedly going off for a first date with a chap - ‘I just have a good feeling about this one, he’s an academic you know’ - only to discover he was a librarian who spent the entire meal talking about dust jackets.The sooner you can assess whether those online sparks translate into real-life chemistry, the better.
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Put simply, how soon you meet will have a direct effect on your chemistry. You could be consigning yourself to a disappointing date.That way, you can mutually scout each other’s profiles and get a clearer impression of whether you’d get along socially. But if they don’t have anything to hide (and assuming you don’t) it’s one way to let someone in, before taking the step to meet them – especially if you don’t live particularly near one another. I’m not advising that you throw caution to the wind and arrange a date for every day of the week (although if you feel confident enough to do so, then go for it.Many macchiatos maketh the match and not all of us are great in writing). Which of your needs did you think they might fulfil?Because it just isn’t a real relationship until you’re sat opposite each other, drinking lattes.
(And I’d always recommend a coffee date – you can always excuse yourself if the going isn’t great, and you don’t spend oodles of cash on expensive dinners with duds).
Thankfully, the window isn’t too terrifying (no one is saying that you have to slurp coffee in the first 24 hours).