On the one side there’s someone who likes to speed things to a conclusion; on the other is someone who prefers to take his or her time ... Hitting the right tempo can be tricky. Take a look at our tips.
Right at the beginning of their online correspondence Nathalie (36) could tell that Alex (39) wanted to meet her in person, so she suggested meeting straight away - she thought lots of emails and phonecalls would be too laborious. “I was really surprised when he replied by saying that he didn’t want to meet up immediately,” she recalls. According to a Parship survey, one in three members prefers to move things on a bit, but, as Parship’s psychologist Nicole Schiller explains, “Some people find that too much. It’s important to find something that works for both of you. While it’s mostly men who don’t want to lose any time, more and more women are ready to speed things up a little.
At a snail’s pace
If you take the bull by the horns it can alarm the other person. For instance, Anna (46) broke off contact with a man who asked for her photo straight away. “He wrote in his message that he didn’t like wasting time if he didn’t think it was going to lead anywhere. I’m not ashamed to show anyone my photo, but I wasn’t prepared to be put under that kind of pressure.” In principle there’s nothing wrong with being efficient and focused in your search, but it’s important to consider the needs of the other person. “You need to bear in mind that the other person might want to take things at a different pace,” advises Nicole Schiller - and there’s nothing wrong with that. In general online dating moves at a fairly swift pace, since both parties are actively looking for someone, but it is still possible to take things more gradually as you get a feel for each other.
“Some people don’t want to give away everything about themselves straight away. They’d prefer to start by building a basis of trust,” says Nicole Schiller. “I often worried about it afterwards when I met up with someone quickly,” says Laura (32) about her first experiences of Parship, “but I didn’t want to look like a killjoy, so I’d go along with it.” “If someone is moving things along too quickly for your taste, put your foot calmly on the brake: explain that you need more time before taking things to the next stage,” suggests Schiller. Don’t let yourself be pressured, but you also need to be ready to make compromises.”
Don’t overdo the emailing ahead of time, though: it can be far too easy to build the other person up in your mind or to start getting anxious about meeting up.
Christopher (42) is one of the 32% of members surveyed who likes to keep up the pace. “If I’m face to face with a woman I get a much better picture of where I am,” says the graphic designer. “I’m a visual person and I’m not a fan of either emails or phonecalls,” he explains. If patience isn’t one of your greatest virtues, you should let the other person know if you feel things are moving too slowly, making clear why you would like to take things to the next stage. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something as important as a potential partner, then you don’t want to rush things. Give yourself enough time to gain an understanding of the other person - that applies as much to email or phone contact as it does to a face-to-face meeting.
And what happens if you don’t have much time? Melanie, a 28-year-old tax officer says: “When Tom [a sales manager] suggested we meet, I agreed straight away. He told me he was very busy and was due to go on a long business trip.” So she made a date with him. “When we met one lunchtime he kept looking at his watch and I had the impression he just wasn’t listening to me,” If you squeeze in a date between two business meetings, you are not going to have the space to engage properly with the other person - which, let’s face it, is only polite. Melanie made a sensible decision and didn’t take things any further with Tom. “It just wouldn’t have felt right,” she says.
At your own speed
Find out what speed is good for you. This depends very much on your personality. “Have a little fun with this,” suggests Nicole Schiller. She’s not suggesting you should take things too lightly, but rather that you shouldn’t get hung up on the issue. How ready are you to give things a go? What have been your experiences to date? “Think about how you behave when you’re not on the Internet,” says Schiller. If you’ve had an interesting conversation with someone you’ve only just met, do you give them your mobile number, or do you prefer to take things more slowly? Sometimes it can pay to be a tortoise rather than a hare …