Reply To: How Long Should You Message Before Setting Up the First Date?

Higher Bond Forum Christian Dating Advice How Long Should You Message Before Setting Up the First Date? Reply To: How Long Should You Message Before Setting Up the First Date?

Higher Bond Founder

    @david-j amazing question. Here’s a few thoughts on this.

    First, I actually had the chance to get an answer on this in a recent interview with Dr. Paul A. Johns, PhD, LMFT, CFLE who is the Chair of the Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) at Messiah University and has been working with families, couples, and individuals in various outpatient and home-based settings for over 20 years.

    Here’s a time stamp to the clip in case you want to watch it yourself (which I recommend):

    Basically, he says three things. One—it depends, but if you’re going to lean one way or the other, take it slow. Two—make sure you’re including others in the decision, as we’re instructed to do in the body of Christ, especially in a situation where emotions may be driving the ship. Three—consider meeting them in a group setting or public space because you really don’t know them enough to put a level of high trust in that individual (even if it feels that way).

    For me, I think the most important element is the safety element. I think it’s okay to meet up somewhat quickly or after a while, as long as you’re doing certain things to keep yourself safe. I would say the biggest non-negotiable in my opinion is video chatting at least once before you meet up. This allows you to confirm they are who they say they are (at least, that they’re the person in the pictures you’ve been looking at) and allows you and your gut to get a feel for things before committing to meeting up.

    If the person refuses to do this or has excuses why they can’t (bad internet connection, broken technology, don’t know how, etc.), then that’s a red flag and I would highly recommend not meeting up with that person at all. Tell them you’ll wait for them to go to a coffee shop with better Wi-Fi or for their machine to get fixed, or you’ll walk them through how to do it.

    So, bottom line what’s my answer? I would say a bare minimum of 1.5-2 weeks if you’re chatting regularly. If it’s just a message or two a day, maybe closer to the 2-3 weeks mark as a bare minimum. The reality is there is no right answer, but I think if you are prioritizing safety and following the principles Dr. Johns laid out (both in the clip I shared and that entire video), you’ll be okay.

    One final caveat, I would say that you don’t want the conversation to go for too long online and never actually meet up. I would say after about a month to a month and a half of regular communication, it’s probably time to either meet up or move on to someone else.

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