Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Have We Met?

Meetverb: to come upon; come into the presence of; encounter

I do a lot of .  This isn’t a new thing for me.  I’m an veteran, having first tried it out in the late 90s back when very few people posted pictures of themselves.

Frequently, when I’m talking about a guy I’ll say that I met him online.  But that, of course, isn’t really accurate.  We connected online.  But to meet a person implies coming into one another’s presence.  To see, hear, encounter one another in the physical world.

Yeah, I have a point.

One of my great readers, You Make My Date, left the following comment on a post the other day, “…Now that I think about it, it seems obvious to have a secondary email…but when you’re doing online dating and you’ve been messaging back and forth a bit, it feels almost as though you know the person, so all defenses are dropped!”

I’m well aware of the phenomon she’s talking about.  I’ve felt it too.  That, OMG I really feel like I know this person feeling you sometimes get when you connect with a person online.  But, I just wanted to use this opportunity to point out that you don’t.  Know that person.  That dozens of emails and flurries of texts and IMs and even a bunch of phone calls aren’t really getting to know a person.  Not really.  Not until you meet in real life.

Because, and here’s the SO obvious point, until you meet in real life you have no way of knowing if the 37 year old, 5’10”, althetic guy with salt and pepper hair who claims to own a house and a car and blah blah blah, is really who he says he is instead of some creepy guy (or woman) who’s really none of those things.

Which is why I’m so careful about (trying to) not get attached to guys before we meet.  To not have too high of hopes for them.  Because more than almost anything else in the world, I really hate being disappointed.


12 to “Have We Met?”

  1. That Kind of Girl says:

    As someone who has never online dated but will probably try it soon, this post is very interesting to me. Since you’re a veteran, may I ask: how much contact do you usually have with someone you’ve connected with online before you meet them in person? I kind of assumed that you messaged the person, they messaged back, and then -poof!- you went out asap. Not usually the case?

    Man, I have so much to learn.

  2. Simone Grant says:

    I want to communicate enough so that I feel like the date is worth my time – you know, do some proper vetting. So a few emails, maybe a phone call. I never IM with men I don’t know (that’s so another post). But if a guy doesn’t ask me out within a couple of weeks I’ll move on. Some guys are just “playing” at online dating and aren’t really interested in meeting, ever. And I don’t have time for that.

  3. twisting_edge says:

    You missed the obvious. It’s not “have we met,” it’s “have we dated?” If all you’ve done is exchanged e-mail, you haven’t even dated. “On-line dating” is an oxymoron, very similar to “playing air-guitar”. If the only noise you make comes from your mouth, you just aren’t playing guitar. Sorry.

    If you think some men have no intention of meeting, you should try meeting women on-line. It’s mostly useless. In general, they ought to be willing to at least schedule a meeting within the first week. Meet sooner in the process before you build up too many expectations based on wishes and hints. If it doesn’t pan out for whatever reason, it’s no big loss.

  4. Matt D says:

    I would expand this idea even further and say that even *when* you meet somebody face-to-face, you *still* don’t really know that they are who they present themselves to be. And I don’t mean this in a paranoid, horror movie plotline kind of way, but in a practical way.

    We create mirages of other people in our heads, which is at best a guess of who they are. That guess can be inaccurate even after “knowing” someone for a long time. Imagine how inaccurate it can be after only reading an internet profile and exchanging a few e-mails!

  5. serial dater says:

    I use a dating system that’s based on IM instead of emails, basically you’re chatting in real time. Let me tell ya, after a session or two you do feel like you’ve known this person your whole life!! A bit of fb stalking and you know his friends and family too. I even broke up with someone before meeting them, we went through the whole relationship cycle without actually meeting face to face. Soon they’ll discover online sex, and then what? Online babies…
    PS Simone, love your blog xx

  6. sddave says:

    I’ve done the online dating thing a few times and never exchange more than a few emails before meeting someone. I mean you’ve seen the pictures, read the profile, and had some small-talk, now take an hour to actually go meet them. That’s the point, right? Don’t go on a real “date” though, a cup of coffee or one drink at a very public place is plenty to start off.

  7. Simone Grant says:

    I agree that online dating is a misnomer, but it’s the name we’re stuck with. It’s a bit too late to change it to something else. I’d also agree that a significant degree that both women and men are just playing at the whole thing. Which is why I won’t waste much time chatting with someone online.
    -Matt D
    Yep, and sometimes it can take a long while before we shake that false image we have from our minds. I’ve definitely fallen victim to this before, many times. Thanks for the reminder.
    -serial dater
    I know how IM can draw you in like that, which is one of the reasons I don’t use it with men I don’t know. I want my real time relationships to have some flesh and blood involved -but that’s me. And thank you, it’s always nice to hear that.
    Yes, that’s the point. And I agree. I try to keep my first dates, with whoever no matter how I meet them, down to just a 20 minute obligation. That way if it’s horrible I can run.

  8. You Make My Date says:

    Simone, I’m so proud to be mentioned in your blog! You know how much I love it, so I’m absolutely honoured.

    Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get to this post. I recently spent a lot of time writing an entry on this guy I met online who I thought would be the father of my babies (a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist), just from our emails. Anyway, turns out I didn’t feel any chemistry to him in real life, and I had the most disastrous end to the date (which involved me almost commando rolling away as fast as I could).

    It completely reinforces what you’ve said in this post about really not knowing whether you click with the person until you meet them: everything looks so perfect on paper, but the reality is often much uglier!

  9. DateratLarge says:

    For all the flack that online dating gets, I do think there’s something to getting an idea of someone based on what they would WRITE about themselves, in a profile or in emails, instead of how they might be in person, over a cocktail (or 2nd or 3rd that is since they obviously grabbed a drink before), in a 1-hr time block before you have to leave for your (safety-net) previous dinner plans.

    Obviously everyone enhances their physical attributes, but I think in person you can sometimes miss the depth someone might have. I like the idea that online dating can give you a sense of someone’s insides before you see the outsides.

  10. Simone Grant says:

    -You Make My Date
    I’m glad you approve :-) And I’m sorry about your recent bad experience. I’ve been there and I know how horrible it feels when you’re so certain you like someone, before you meet IRL and then there’s just no spark. It just sucks.
    I completely agree, that’s one of the reasons I like online dating. But beyond the physical attraction, there is chemistry, that completely illogical attraction we have for other people. And some of that is physical attraction, but it’s more than that. I’ve tried to build relationships without it and it never works (and I have felt ZERO chemistry for some very hot guys). Anyway, I guess that’s why I like online dating but want to get to the real world date, sooner rather than later.

  11. Datehater says:

    My philosophy is expect the worst and hope for the best. But sometimes you just can’t help yourself! Nothing means anything until you meet. And quite frankly you really need to get over the 3 date hump to even feel like you can assess one another. Trouble is making it THAT far 😉

  12. Simone Grant says:

    Well said – expect the worst and hope for the best. Although I like to say, “expect nothing and hope for the best”.