Consider this hypothetical situation: you’ve struck up a compelling conversation with someone on a dating platform, and the topic turns to setting up a first date. The suggestion is a simple coffee meet-up.
What’s your reaction?
Coffee dates spark differing opinions—some view them as low-cost and minimal effort, while others have no issues with them. Yet, this is only one example of how the realm of online dating presents a myriad of complexities and uncertainties.
Additional points of contention and uncertainty:
- What counts as a suitable first date?
- What’s the ideal duration for online chat before meeting face-to-face?
- Is a pre-meet-up video call necessary for vetting your date?
To make the journey through the often bewildering landscape of online dating easier, I’m sharing strategies that have been beneficial in my own dating experiences.
Limit the Chat; Opt for In-Person Connection
From my perspective, two weeks of texting is generally sufficient to gauge whether the digital rapport is strong enough to transition to an in-person meeting.
If you’re hesitant to meet so soon, alternative options like phone or video calls are available. However, these should ultimately pave the way for an in-person encounter.
While some individuals excel in texting—showing wit and self-assurance—their real-life personas can be remarkably different. Texting allows for planning and revision, unlike real-life interactions which are spontaneous.
Face-to-face meetings offer insight that technology can’t replicate, like body language, social cues, and chemistry. Meeting in person also allows you to identify “eternal texters”—those who have zero intention of progressing beyond the screen.
Such individuals are often reluctant to commit and are merely wasting time, with no real aspiration to take things further.
Opt for a Short and Affordable Initial Date (i.e., Coffee)
This approach serves dual purposes.
It not only alleviates date-related stress but also offers a setting where you can genuinely get to know each other without the pressure of enduring a prolonged meal or activity.
Should the date go south, a coffee meeting allows for a quick and graceful exit. This is much more complicated to do during a long dinner with an unpleasant date.
Financially, coffee dates are less burdensome, making them less regrettable if things don’t pan out.
Be Mindful of Comfort Zones and Personal Boundaries
I’ve always been cautious about the venues chosen for dates and the subject matter discussed. Despite a strong initial connection, some dates have proven to exploit that sense of ease.
I’ve encountered dates that suggested meeting in dimly lit, late-night spots or steered the conversation towards inappropriate topics shortly after the date began.
In such instances, it may be challenging to make a graceful exit, especially if dining (another reason why coffee dates are advantageous). The key is to be upfront and set boundaries.
Some may consider this overly cautious, but given that you’re dealing with essentially a stranger, caution is warranted.
Don’t Pursue What Doesn’t Feel Right
I know individuals who’ve forced themselves into dates with people they’re not genuinely attracted to simply because the person is “nice.” In reality, it’s kinder to be upfront about your lack of feelings and enable both parties to seek partners who are a better match.
Forcing yourself to maintain interest when it’s not genuinely there will only lead to emotional emptiness over time.