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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

First Date Behavior | Risking Rejection | First Encounter Expectations

Quick Access:
Offline Meeting
Risking Rejection
First Encounter

I’ve been talking with someone online for almost 3 months and now we’re having our first offline meeting. It feels as though we’ve been dating, so what’s the appropriate behavior?


Everyone must be careful that they have an accurate impression of another person online. The tools of online dating – such as compatibility testing, IMs and videochat – can go a long way in helping you feel out some one and whether they are likely to be your type. Genuine, lasting and fulfilling relationships can and do begin online. In fact, sometimes relationships that began online are more stable and satisfying than ones that started offline. Having said that, it still takes in-person meetings to really know if the chemistry and bond you think is there is really there.

I can’t say what is or isn’t appropriate between two adults, but I think your instincts will tell you what’s appropriate once you meet in person and interact for a while. So, don’t rush anything once you meet face-to-face. Give yourself some time to see if your expectations of the other person and the level of relationship you have match reality. And too, it’s only fair that you give the other person time to do the same.

How do I ask a girl if I'm her type without risking rejection?

Most of the time, women will give you hints that you’re her type assuming that you are. She may know instantly, or she may not. But a good way to broach the topic, in principle, is to ask her for advice on how to improve your personal profile. If she finds you attractive, cute or eligible then your request for advice will often lead to compliments that will give you an idea as to what she really thinks about you. Of course, if you aren’t her type then you haven’t lost anything. To be sure, what you gain is valuable insight and feedback on what you can do to enhance your presentation of yourself, and in the process, attract women that will find you to be their type.

What do men, versus women, expect in a first encounter?

This really varies based on things like how well each knows the other, the presence or absence of romantic feelings, and whether or not each has the same expectations for a relationship. But irrespective of the circumstances, both men and women look forward to meeting someone who smiles a lot, is attentive to their needs, shows politeness and manners, has a sense of humor, communicates sincerely and intelligently, and dresses well and has good personal hygiene. Oh, and there’s one more thing – both sexes like someone who’s relaxed and is sincerely enjoying the meeting. So, don’t put on pretenses by trying to be someone you’re not or fail to pay attention to what the person is saying because you’re thinking up your next smooth line. I guess it boils down to this – when meeting for the first time, people want to interact and get to know the real you.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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