online dating conversationOnline dating can be enjoyable and exciting, as it’s designed to be a low-pressure environment to have conversations with new people and find someone you share a lot in common with. But while meeting people online is fun and easy, something that worries many online daters is exactly how soon they should move their conversations offline. Although there are no hard and fast rules to guide you, there are a handful of opportunities where it might be ideal to meet in person. Below, we detail what you should know when deciding to take an online dating conversation offline.

How to know when it’s time to meet someone offline

Frankly, the best time to ask someone out is whenever it makes sense or feels right to you. While studies like this one found that individuals who asked someone out within 17 to 23 days of initial contact usually had good first dates, there’s no definite amount of time that you need to wait before you take online dating offline. In fact, as the study’s conclusion noted, the good first dates were not a guarantee of a successful relationship or date — it was just a trend that researchers observed.

With that in mind, it’s probably best to make sure you and the person have chemistry before you proceed with any offline action, as chemistry is important whether you’re talking to somebody online or offline. If you’re messaging someone and it’s difficult to make conversation, that’s usually a sign that you lack online chemistry. While that doesn’t mean your offline chemistry is doomed to fail, it’s likely that you’ll be swimming upstream to make things work. Conversely, if the conversation is flowing after a few back-and-forth messages, then that’s an excellent sign that there’s chemistry. After a certain point, you can politely invite the person you’re speaking with to continue the conversation offline. As you likely know, there’s no guarantee they’ll agree, but, at the very least, their response will let you know where you stand with them. It’s important to note that online chemistry doesn’t necessarily translate to offline chemistry, so make sure to manage your expectations appropriately.

Talking offline doesn’t mean you have to meet in person

If you don’t feel quite ready to meet in person, but you wish to get to know someone better, you can exchange phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Skype usernames, etc. Sometimes, simply taking your communication off the online dating site you’re using is a decent way to get a better feel for someone’s personality. Additionally, it also can allow your conversation to be more intimate by freeing you from the constraints of whatever service you’re using.

When you decide to meet in person …

Once you successfully score an in-person meeting, what’s next? You’ll want to make sure you practice safe offline dating. This means you should do your homework before meeting someone by verifying their identity as best you can and ensuring you’re falling for a person rather than a scam. Also, be sure to have your initial meeting during the day in a public place, like a coffee shop, a museum, a public park or a book store. Finally, for added safety, make sure you tell someone about your date so that they can know who you’re with and when to expect you back home.

For more tips and tricks to help keep online dating stress-free, keep reading our online dating blog.