Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dating: Call Me Maybe? Yes Definitely!

So you’ve found the profile of someone who catches your attention. You’ve been exchanging emails and you’re getting excited to meet them in person. But before you dare set that day and time to meet at a coffee shop or arcade, you should get off the computer and on the phone with them first.

Talking with someone on the phone before you meet them in person will tell you some pretty valuable things. And the more information you have about someone, the greater your chances are of being compatible and being a good match. So if all your communication at this point as been in writing, let them know you'd like a short phone conversation. Pick a time and location (not at work or in the middle of a loud music concert) where you'll have little interference, at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted conversation and a good phone connection. You will both save yourselves a lot of trouble by finding out early on all of this:

1. They are a real person and are likely who their profile says they are. It’s pretty easy to fake a profile and write messages pretending to be someone you are not. It’s much more difficult to disguise your gender, average age, primary language fluency and general education level when you actually speak to someone. Their profile may say they are a petite blonde female in their early 20’s, but if over the phone they sound like either a middle-aged chain smoker or a man, you might want to think twice about meeting them. 

2.You have something to talk about.  If you think it would be awkward to meet up with someone and discover you are absolutely not attracted to them, image how much worse if would be to discover you also have absolutely nothing to say to each other. It’s easy to like the way someone looks, but that is just a small part of forming some kind of relationship. You also need to have enough common interests and share enough ideas and opinions that you can enjoy each others company. Conversation is key to a healthy and lasting relationship. Even if you have a short fling, you still have to be able to talk to each other.  

3. Testing out the personality chemistry. It’s entirely possible to be attracted to someone's voice and see if you have a spark over the phone. You won’t know for sure if it’s a real connection until you interact in person, but you can still get a better idea over the phone if you’re both playful, sarcastic, open minded or talkative people. If it feels like you have no chemistry over the phone or they give short, one word answers, there is a good chance conversation in person is going to be stilted and uncomfortable too.  You might decide that meeting in person would be pointless.
    4. Ask and answer those tough questions you didn’t talk about in writing. This is the time to find out if they don’t have a car because they lost their driver’s license from having too many DUIs. Or clarify what “I got a job” really means as the answer to the question: “What is your occupation?” It’s an opportunity to ask questions and see if they give a long pause before they answer, sound embarrassed or are very quick to become defensive when you ask something you absolutely should know before you meet in person. Such as if they have a criminal record or a spouse and kids at home. Be fair though. If they answer your questions, pony up and answer theirs as well. If you lied about your height, age, weight, sexual orientation or income on your profile, this is your last chance to come clean before they meet you in person and then reject you forever because you lied to them. 

    5. Confirm what are your (and their) intentions for the meet. If you've read some of my other articles, you know that I don’t think you can date someone you’ve never met in person. So if you’ve been set up on a “blind date” by good intentioned friends and family or you’re meeting someone off an online dating site, the very first time you shake hands face to face, is technically a “meet” and not a “date”. IF after you’ve met in person and you’ve decided you want to get together again, (even later that same night) it THEN becomes a date. You can’t after all, know if you want any future contact with someone you’ve never seen in person.

    Over the phone, BEFORE you find out what kind of handshake they have, is a great time to confirm that you’re just checking each other out, testing the chemistry and will decide how to proceed only AFTER that happens. You NEVER want to commit to doing anything with someone you couldn’t pick out of a police line-up. Even if you love each others pictures, have been emailing, texting, instant messaging, Skyping and flirting for months…you *cannot* agree to ANYTHING until you size each other up in person.     

    So there you have it. If they won't take your call, don't take them out. Better to have to block them on your phone if they turn out to be crazy, than to have to figure out how to get out of a really awkward (or dangerous!) dating situation in person. 

    But don't let the potential of a phone call being weird or uncomfortable change your mind about online dating. There are people who find long term relationships and the love of their lives this way, pretty much every day. 

    Who knows, maybe someday meeting people to date in the grocery store or the gym will seem odd, and reading someone's stats online before you date will become the new norm. Maybe. But either way, call them definitely!

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