Meeting someone over the Internet can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking. It’s full of potential – potential for a friendship, a romance, or even something more short-term – but it also carries risks. With online dating more commonplace than ever, you might be wondering if you should meet someone you’ve connected with online in person.
First, remember that you’re unlikely to fall head over heels at first sight. It’s unlikely that you’ll have a lengthy conversation via text message or chat and then immediately be ready to make a real-world commitment. Meeting in person is a chance to see if there is any real-world chemistry and it’s often best to take things one step at a time.
Most importantly, put safety first. Before meeting, create a list of boundaries and expectations. Ask yourself what types of behaviors you’re looking for in a partner and make sure those are communicated out loud and respected. Exchange a few pictures, let anyone important know where you’ll be, and arrange to check-in with them later. While the ultimate goal is companionship, self-care should always be the priority.
You should also go into the meeting with realistic expectations. Don’t expect a relationship to automatically develop because you have compatibility on paper. People aren't always who they appear online, so try to remain open-minded and allow time to get to know each other in different settings. Keep an eye out for red flags like defensiveness, evasiveness, and too much familiarity too soon.
If you’re having a hard time deciding whether or not to meet an online connection in person, consider imagining the perfect scenario. If this person turns out to be exactly who they say they are and you have a wonderful time together, would that be worth the risk? Pay attention to your intuition; if you consistently feel nervous or uneasy around this person, it's best to proceed with caution or pass on meeting entirely.
It’s about making sure that you're comfortable with the situation and taking necessary precautions. As long as you trust your gut feeling, don’t rush into anything, and remain mindful of safety, there’s no harm in seeing if your Internet connection reflects real-world chemistry too.
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