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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

What is the "Right Way" for Online Dating?

I recently had a friend who started his venture into the realms of Online Dating.  He was a little nervous at first, because he had never done it before.  He did the free trial, and immediately found someone he liked, but then didn’t know when to call or how long to wait.  I suggested he just sign up, because he met one person, he might meet others.  So, he did.

Then came more confusion.  He did the “wink,” and she did the “wink” back.  Then what?  He asked me if it was then okay if he introduced himself and then asked her out for coffee.  I suggested… “no.”  In a perfect world, maybe, but as I told him, you have to get to know a little bit about each other first.


I told him that once he got the “go” sign, as in the wink, that he then send an email, introducing himself, a little of his interests, and then (as he had of course read her profile), that he then comment on hers and ask her questions.  That way, it would get the conversation rolling a bit.  One email would lead to another, and once you get to know the person a little, a phone call would come, and then, ta-da, a date!  That seems to be the norm in online dating, or so I thought.

People to tend to merge away from the norm.   I have had guys ask me if I want to for a dinner before a wink, right in an email.  That’s kind of strange, it seems.  I don’t even know you!  Sometimes I get winks, and then nothing, so what should I think of that?

Here are a couple examples of how things went in my online dating experiences, and you can be the judge.

A recent guy:
We emailed back and forth, but there was never a phone call.  (I recommend a phone call, just so there is some communication outside of the computer.  After all, you are going to hear his voice eventually.)  But we did set up a time to meet for coffee, because the emails were nice.  We met, it was nice, but eventually, it fizzled out.  Can I blame that on lack of phone talk? No.  It was just how things were.  But that is one scenario.

A way back date:
There was one guy, who I emailed with a lot, and we set up a time to talk on the phone.  We finally did and had a couple conversations, then decided to meet.  He and I dated for a while.  Could this have been because we had the email and phone conversations and built up a little more to our “relationship?”  I’m sure.  I can say that I knew more about him that the guy who I didn’t talk with on the phone.  Again, it didn’t last.  But we did have good conversations and I enjoyed talking with him.

My last meetup:
We emailed for a bit, a few exchanges, and then met for coffee.  What we never exchanged were phone numbers.  Coffee was kind of awkward, we didn’t have much to say, or rather, I was trying to pull things out of him.  Maybe he didn’t want to talk on the phone because he was shy, you never know, but I never ended up seeing him again.  We exchanged numbers at the end of the date, but there was never a phone call.  And so it is…

My new date:
I probably shouldn’t jinx things, but I have an upcoming date with a guy who sounds great—in email and on the phone.  I’m not going to jinx it, so there.

The point is, it’s best to get to know the person you are meeting well before you meet them.  Email is kind of easy, you can think about what you want to say first.  When you are the phone, it is spontaneous, just like it would be on a date, and in a way, it’s good practice.  Plus, you truly do get to know each other better, and it can help for when you’re face to face with that person.  My recommendation for online dating—send a few emails, and then set up that phone chat.  Talk it out a little and if things go well, decide to go for coffee or dinner.  Hopefully, from point, things will just flow, and you’ll go from online dating to dating.  Good Luck!


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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