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If you have finally meet someone you’re interested in and have been communicating with them online or over the phone, it’s time to set up a meet-n-greet. This should be planned within two weeks of talking—don’t wait any longer than that. The reason for this is because, typically, if people spend too long talking through a screen it is hard to determine whether or not you have real chemistry. Sure, you may click—conversation is great, you’re getting along and they are becoming increasingly easier to talk to. But if you prolong this part of the process your image of this person and your (potential) relationship can get easily misconstrued and distorted. Don’t fall victim to this trap. Until you meet someone in person it’s easy to convince yourself they are the perfect person. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to talk to. But if you want a real relationship to develop, it’s imperative you take it offline.
I do not consider the initial meet-n-greets actual dates because you do not really know how much you like a person until you meet them offline. These are meet-n-greets, not dates, for a reason. They are supposed to be quick—anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. You really don’t need more than that to determine if you connect with them. Maybe you go on 10 meet-n-greets before you meet someone you’re interested in going out to dinner with, and that’s fine. It’s part of the process.
Set up a place to meet for coffee or maybe ice cream if you are not a coffee drinker. Although many people like to meet for a drink at a local happy hour, I advise against this. One drink can quickly turn into three and before you know it, your buzz is convincing you that you’re more interested in this person than you really are. Coffee dates don’t long to finish; if you don’t have chemistry you can pay your (very inexpensive) bill and go on your separate ways. If you do hit it off, you can make future plans for a date and have something to look forward to.
The Golden Rule of Meet-n-Greets
An important tip for these dates: make sure to listen to your date. I know, easier said than done—especially if you are someone who talks when they are nervous. But there is a Golden Rule of meet-n-greets (yes, treat them how you want to be treated, but there’s more to it); if you do not feel a connection with the person during this short encounter, don’t make plans for a real date. There are plenty of people out there and it’s important to remember when meeting people and surviving the Dating Jungle that you are never going to meet your Jane/Tarzan if you are too busy settling for the mediocre out of your fear of never finding someone.