in: Dating & Relationships

How to Make the Move from Online to a Real Life Date

Candace Wong

The transition from online mingling to in-person adventuring can be a delight, if you know how to play it. Read up, reach out, and land that real life date.


Do you have online dating fatigue (also known as online dating burnout)?

You experience symptoms such as frustration, dread, and boredom with online dating. You log in to find your mailbox flooded with generic messages: hi, hello, how’s it going, I like your eyes and your smile. Or even worse, an empty mailbox.

You’re struggling to write another unique, interesting message, but you’re just not sure how to take it from online to a first date—or, you’ve found yourself speed-dating through awkward, uncomfortable first dates.

You’re experiencing online dating fatigue! I’m here to teach you an easy, three-step process that will teach you how to navigate from the first message in your inbox to screening your first dates so dating becomes exciting again and dating fatigue is a thing of the past.

Step 1 – Start with Your Wish List

When you start online dating, keep a list of singles who catch your eye—this is a list of people you would be interested in contacting and knowing more about.

It doesn’t matter whether you write it down on paper, use a To-Do list app, or use the “Like” feature in your MeetMindful account. The idea is to make a nice, long list of 20-30 singles who strike your fancy while you are browsing. At this point, don’t be too picky. Keep your options wide open. You will filter them out later in the process.

I first experienced online browsing fatigue when I used OkCupid. After reading a bunch of profiles with the intent to contact them, I got tired of browsing and logged out before I wrote any messages. This resulted in an empty inbox.

But with your list handy, you have already decided who to write to so you can focus on connecting with those people specifically. Write to a handful of singles from your list each week. If they don’t write back, you can cross them off your list.

Add to your list regularly. This way, you will always have someone interesting on the horizon. This approach reduces online dating fatigue because you are engaged in conversation with several people you find interesting. The process becomes fun and energizing, rather than waiting, stressed-out, for that one person to write back to you.

For the single, heterosexual ladies out there, I insist you take the initiative to write to men. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you should be reaching out—even if it feels awkward or vulnerable at first.

Writing first gives you three advantages:

    1. You get to choose who you want to contact instead of waiting for them to contact you.
    2. You will get a much better response rate. Writing first shows you are already interested, so they’ll be eager to respond.
    3. When you write to a handful of matches from your list each week, you increase your options and your probability of meeting someone great. I hate to boil it down to simple math, but in online dating (as in life), the more you send out, the more you’ll get back. 

What about the people who don’t respond to your messages?

People don’t respond for a number of reasons that a) may have nothing to do with you (don’t take it personally) and b) you may never find out (don’t waste your energy). Instead, focus your energy on connecting with singles who do respond—they’re the ones who want to get know you, not the ones who don’t write back.

Step 2 – Take Them to Your Inbox

Once you’ve felt a connection with someone, you feel safe and confident in who they are, and have exchanged at least a few messages on the site, take the writing offline to a personal email account by using a similar script below:

“I’d love to be able to write to you more regularly, but it’s hard for me to log into the site during my workday; I’m always on my iPhone/Android, though. Why don’t you give me your regular email address so we can reach each other more easily?”

You want to take the email offline because it builds momentum in the budding relationship. It also personalizes the interaction.

In addition, when you take the email exchange off-site, you reduce the chances for either one of you being distracted by other singles while corresponding with each other. This is like bringing your date to a singles event, you don’t want that!

This may also be the time to ask for a number.

As a general rule, women (or the feminine figure in the relationship) like to be pursued. So, to the masculine energies who are reading this: court your partner, be assertive, ask for a number and set up a time to talk. If they’re not comfortable giving you a number, offer yours. It’s important to ask first, though; this shows you are taking initiative.

When you do decide to move things to the phone, it’s important to be specific about the time. Don’t be vague like “Call me tomorrow afternoon.” Set a specific time: “Tomorrow evening between 7 and 8.” This reduces the chance for missed calls or calling back and forth—which ruins the feel-good anticipation and positive momentum of receiving a phone call from someone you’re into.

Step 3 – Give Them a Ring

For the singles who say they don’t talk on the phone because your main form of communication is texting or emailing, reconsider.

Would you rather spend one hour getting ready, 30-minutes driving to meet them, then waste an evening on a bad date OR spending 15 minutes on the phone talking with them to determine if they’re a good fit for you?

Exactly! I know what I’d prefer to do: hang in my pajamas on the phone instead of dressing up for a disappointing date.

Talking on the phone before you go out with a potential date also builds trust. You’ll get a good feel for whether or not they are someone you’d want to spend time with alone. It prevents you from going out and wasting time on a date with someone who appeared to be charming, intelligent, and fun over emails, but is a bore face-to-face.

Getting someone on the phone will also build a sense of comfort and familiarity in the relationship; this will make your first date feel like it’s a second date—a much more relaxing, fun atmosphere than going on a (practically) blind date.

Dating is a numbers game, so the only way to guarantee that you find love is to keep dating. By following this method—making a favorites list, followed by emails on and off the dating site, leading to a phone call—you will release yourself from the stress and strain of what online dating can be. When you have more fun dating, you will be more motivated to keep dating until you find love.

About the Author:

Candace Wong Candace Wong

Are you using technology to find love? Feel like you are running out of men to date and frustrated by the non-committals but ready for a real relationship? My name is Candace, a love coach for single, professional women looking for real, long-lasting love. If you are ready for commitment, learn how to identify men who are ready too with my free online e-guide at createahappylovelife.com

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