What Are You Waiting For?

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Part of the appeal of online dating is the ability to suss out a prospective match before you actually meet in person. We scan for red flags in online profiles and in emails; we might even attempt to do an internet search once we have a real-life name. We have extra time in which to make decisions (such as accepting or asking for a first date), and we value that time.

However, perhaps we shouldn’t drag our feet too much. While there’s nothing wrong with looking for red flags, particularly if you’re nervous about online dating in general, all that extra decision-making time isn’t always useful. Consider:

Spending too much time in back-and-forth communication before the first date might muddle the waters rather than clarify them. The chemistry of a pair of pen pals is completely different from that of a romantic couple. It’s entirely possible that you could get along smashingly via email, but fall flat in person - or vice versa. Thus, if you’re having difficulty deciding how you feel, try exploring why that is; it’s quite possible that you already have more than enough information.

After all, don’t underestimate the importance of the gut feeling. Yes, intuition is best paired with good old-fashioned, well-reasoned logic, but sometimes we forget about what our instincts are telling us. If your potential match seems great, but something inside you warns of danger, there’s nothing wrong with giving it the benefit of the doubt. And if you know you feel confident about accepting a date after one email exchange, you don’t necessarily have to drag it out just to reinforce that gut feeling.

Remember: you make snap judgments about people every day in person. Maybe you’ve gotten along with a co-worker from the very first conversation. Maybe you’ve felt someone was “off” without being able to put a finger on the exact reason. If you met someone with whom you really got along at a bar, would you insist on three more consecutive bar meetings before you gave them your number?

Granted, much of this gut instinct is enhanced in person - your brain is picking up on tiny things that you might not even realize. And that’s all the more reason to get to that first date; that’s where the real assessment happens. All the emailing beforehand is a prolonged introduction; you won’t know anything about your compatibility ‘til that first date. So what are you waiting for?