No Online Chemistry—Should You Meet Anyway?

Can a ho-hum email exchange lead to a hot date? Here, experts debate whether you should keep an open mind.

By Tiffany Sun

ou’ve exchanged a few emails, but so far, Funloving34’s messages have yet to leave you tingly-toed. Your prospect is cute enough and sure seems nice, but you just aren’t feeling a spark. So when he or she pops the question (no, not that one!), “Do you want to meet?”—should you give ’em the green light? Read on for three opposing views from three online dating gurus—then decide what feels right for you.

Can you have chemistry in person: Yes!
“One thing we've learned about the Internet is that the online world differs from
You can’t give everyone a chance.
our off-line reality. You can communicate with someone online that you feel you have a world of chemistry with, only to meet and find that the chemistry has suddenly ‘disappeared.’ Luckily, the reverse is also possible! Although you may feel zero chemistry online, remember: There are many elements of chemistry that cannot be measured online. First of all, looks. Everyone looks different from his or her online photo, so you’ll never know if there’s physical attraction until you two meet. Second, the way a person speaks to you (you may love that person’s calming voice!) or the way your date treats you in person — whether he or she listens intently when you talk, for example — can all create sparks. Finally, what about the way your date looks at you? Communication through the eyes and body language is a powerful medium in measuring our feelings and chemistry, and you simply can’t experience this online.

A sense of chemistry develops as you share experiences and emotions, and you can't achieve that when the ‘person’ is your computer monitor. Only face-to-face experiences can truly help you understand someone’s character, honesty, values, humor and overall demeanor. So even though you have no chemistry online, that doesn’t mean there won’t be chemistry in person. Give your prospect a chance with a face-to-face meeting (a brief coffee date is fine)—not doing so could deny you the potential of finding your real soul mate and experiencing a romantic love you never thought possible.”
—Joe Tracy, Publisher,

Can you have chemistry in person: No!
“When interacting with potential dates online, people have hours or even days to be clever or witty in an email. So if they can’t capture your imagination with the time they have to respond, how are they going to do it when that time is stripped away and they have to do it face to face? People are supposed to be on dating sites to capture someone’s heart! If nothing about your prospect grabs you, why waste your time? Email may not be the best barometer of a person’s personality, but
Do you have many strong shared interests? It may be worth meeting.
when you can’t find something exciting about them via email — coupled with there being so many fish in the sea — why settle? Men and women I’ve talked to say they’ve met someone to give the person the benefit of the doubt, but it usually didn’t pan out. From personal experience, I’ve found that it can be just as bad or worse in person as in email! The fact of the matter is, with so much going on, your time is valuable. If you’re busy like most people, you need to pick your spots carefully and go where your heart leads you. You can’t give everyone a chance. Remember: Where there’s fire, there’s passion, so go where you feel the heat!”
—Roman Griffen, author of Internet Dating: Tips, Tricks and Tactics

Can you have chemistry in person: Maybe…
“Love can grow if given the seed to plant. Most experts believe that it takes three to four dates before two people feel truly comfortable. Online, people don’t have the opportunity to dazzle you with their shining personality, so they have to do it with words. Some just aren’t great writers, so their nervousness can easily take over. Others don’t want to take time emailing when you can find out so much more by phone. If you’re walking the fence, I suggest a phone conversation and then — provided there are no creepy feelings during or afterwards — a date.

If you still feel hesitant, spend a bit of time trying to decode what’s making you uneasy. Reread your date’s profile again. If you notice a mismatch on an uncompromising issue, such as whether you want kids, why get involved? Remind yourself of any interests you do — or don’t – have in common. Is he or she into hiking and camping, but you consider yourself allergic to the great outdoors? Then it’s probably not worth meeting. But if you’re both foodies who dream of touring wineries on weekends, perhaps you do want to invest a little face-to-face time. Shared interests are something to consider if you’re comparing that prospect against other potential candidates.

Finally, think about whether it’s simply no chemistry or if something in the other person’s profile or email turned you off—cockiness? An impersonal response? If so, go with your gut–it’s almost like a built-in protector… it works!”
—Bev Bacon, author of Meet Me… Don't Delete Me. Internet Dating: I've Made All the Mistakes So You Don't Have To

Now that you’ve heard the advice, see which approach suits you best… and put it to work helping you find someone you truly click with.

Tiffany Sun is an associate editor at Quick & Simple Magazine. She thinks any potential online chemistry vanishes when a man uses excessive smiley faces in emails.
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