Meeting people through dating apps is a whole minefield of apparent rules and etiquette which leaves us all wondering: Which pictures should you use on your profile? How long should you wait after matching before messaging? What should you say in your opening line? And it doesn’t just end there. Once you are chatting to someone you think you like, how long should you wait before meeting up in real life?
According to research by Samsung KX in partnership with dating app happn, 58% of dating app users wait up to a month before meeting their matches in real life. Think this sounds super long? You might be right. Here’s how to know when it’s right to meet someone in real life.
How long should you wait to meet up a dating app match in real life?
It’s better to meet up sooner rather than later, says dating expert for Match Hayley Quinn. One to two weeks is the optimum about of time, according to Hayley, as it gives you time to get to know them, but not too much time that you overthink or the spark fizzles.
To make sure you’re not forced into waiting longer because of your busy schedule, Hayley suggests saving one evening a week for spontaneous fun, meaning you have space to book in a date when the time comes around.
Why should you meet up quickly?
The first reason to meet up with a dating app match https://datingranking.net/adventure-dating/ quickly is to stop yourself overthinking. “If you exchange a lot of messages with someone, you build up an idea about what they’re going to be like in your head. And if that image doesn’t match up with reality, it can lead to disappointment,” says Hayley. The best move is to not let yourself paint too much of a picture about someone before you meet up, and let the real them influence your perceptions.
Messaging too much before meeting can also mean you become emotionally attached to the person before you’ve even met, which can lead to even more disappointment if it doesn’t go well, Hayley adds.
Secondly, initiating meeting up soon after starting to chat also allows you to filter out people who are genuinely interested. “It’s difficult to figure out who is really looking for something, and who is treating dating apps in a more casual way,” says Hayley. “One of the best indicators that someone is committed to meeting up with you is whether they will make the time to meet you in person relatively quickly. If somebody wants to leave it a while, you can infer that dating isn’t a priority for them right now,” Hayley adds.
Avoid messaging too much before meeting
If you put off meeting up for too long, you might run the risk of never actually making it to a date with the person. “The problem isn’t that they’ll go off you after a period of time,” says Hayley, “but their personal circumstances might change or their outlook on dating might change.”
While you of course need to chat enough to know if you like the person, Hayley says to avoid messaging too much before meeting up. “Avoid any heavy relationship questions like ‘what are you looking for.’ Aim for a mindset of being open to a relationship if you meet someone great, but not that you need a relationship or want one for the sake of it. So, seeing how easily you get on and how well you communicate is more important than having someone meet a list of criteria,” Hayley adds.
Can you meet up too quickly?
Don’t completely rule out meeting somebody after two or three days of messaging, says Hayley, but she does suggest avoiding extremely last-minute dates. “While it can be tempting to meet up when someone texts you last minute, it can show that they don’t have much respect for your time, and that they expect you to drop everything to hang out with them.”
Hayley also recommends being wary of somebody who is very insistent about meeting up quickly, or wants to meet up multiple times in the first week, as it’s a sign they’re rushing into things. “While meeting up really quickly can feel romantic, that can be quite misleading.”
How to initiate meeting up in real life
An easy, subtle way to give someone your number is to say you’re hanging out with friends or that you don’t use the app very much, but offer them your number instead, suggests Hayley. This gives the person an indicator that you’re interested in taking things further, and it also means that you can chat over the phone to see how you get on before meeting up.
Where should you go on an app date?
When it comes to first dates, if you’ve already met the person in real life then maybe give it a good couple of hours for a date, says Hayley. But if you’ve met them on an app then try a micro-date instead, which could be an hour to an hour and a half.
If you want to avoid just drinks or coffee, then you could meet for coffee and a walk, which can make conversation flow more easily. Hayley also suggests trying an activity date, like mini golf, an exercise class or a food market – something that you would enjoy anyway so even if you’re not feeling the date, at least you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time.
How to stay safe when meeting a dating app match in real life
When meeting up with anybody for the first time on a date, whether they’re from an app or elsewhere, make sure you meet up in a public place, and always tell a friend where, when and who you’re meeting with. You can even share your location with a friend, or have a contingency plan for leaving the situation.