Every JDater® knows there are few things more thrilling than coming back to your computer and seeing that you’ve got a message from your latest crush. But sometimes, in our tech-infused world where talking on the phone seems old-fashioned, we forget that texting, emailing, and instant messaging are no match for meeting the real life, fantastic you, in person.
It’s way too easy to get caught up in the cute e-conversations, spanning 18 notes, jokes, teases and Flirts before a plan to meet up has even been discussed. To do it right, and to turn your crush into something more than just a pen pal, requires taking an emoticon breather. Making the move from flirty friend to an actual relationship requires getting to know each other – for real. While your online persona reflects aspects of who you are, it’s the you that has more time to carefully craft your next response, sometimes with the input of well-meaning friends.
This is not to say that online contact isn’t an awesome icebreaker. However, every aspiring romantic searching the site for the right person has a story about seeing a great profile, sending a message, starting an email relationship, and being totally head over heels by the time they got around to meeting up. Prolonged cutesy crush contact can lead to first dates that simply don’t measure up to the electronic soul mate we’ve created in our minds. If Mr. or Ms. JDater had skipped from the introduction emails right to a first date, it might have turned out differently. Our writing Romeos wouldn’t have built up their date to be “The One,” just because they both like baseball and the beach. Instead, a few hours could have been spent getting to know each other, and the potential couple would have been able to decide to see each other again based on their date – not based on the person they had pieced together in their mind.
Besides, going out on actual dates is fun! When you are at your best, in a great outfit, it’s much easier to be your fabulous, charming self, versus when you’re emailing your new JDate crush while wearing PJs and eating Lo Mein take out. The simple act of walking out the door with product in your hair has been known to boost confidence, and confidence is sexy. Your date appreciates you making the effort, and that’s always a great way to start things off.
Speaking of making an effort: Girls, it’s almost 2010. You don’t have to wait for the guy you’ve been emailing with to make the first move towards moving your relationship offline. However, this doesn’t let guys off the hook. Bite the bullet and make a date for mid-afternoon mochaccinos. The first date can be something low key and inexpensive; a glass of wine at Happy Hour, a coffee date, or takeout salads for a weekday lunch won’t break the bank, but will get you much closer to that person who you’d like to get to know better.
For the long distance daters, a quick cup of coffee is not an option when you live in Chicago and she’s in California. But before you can commit to making the trip to meet in person, you need to bridge the gap between e-mail chats and an overnight visit. That’s where technology can actually help, rather than hinder, your budding relationship. Skype and Video Chatting are great solutions for JDate crushes who don’t share an area code. While nothing can replace a real live date, face-to-face video contact, (where there’s no delete button or a time delay to come up with witty banter), is a helpful substitute until the day you can actually meet up.
Dating is hard enough with out the preconceptions that come from prolonged e-mail contact and not enough actual dating face time. So ride the rush of new inbox crushes, and then step back from your keyboard, set your cell phone to date mode, and head out for some real, one-on-one time. Get out there, and your great matches can turn into great moments.
Kate Jenny Jay is a freelance writer in New York City. She is currently at work on a Young Adult novel series, as well as a book about dating in Manhattan. When she’s not writing from the confines of the apartment she shares with her JDate boyfriend, she loves watching baseball, practicing power yoga, and daydreaming about dog ownership.