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You can ‘get to know’ someone from behind the safety of a screen.
But a recent study by the University of South Florida suggests that – while a short period of messaging is fine – we actually shouldn’t wait too long to arrange a meeting.
It feels a bit more intimate.” Of course, if you’re nervous, there are other things you can do to speed up the getting-to-know-you process.
One friend tells me that, if she has a positive feeling about someone, she gives them the details of her Facebook account and switches to messaging them away from the dating site.
Thankfully, the window isn’t too terrifying (no one is saying that you have to slurp coffee in the first 24 hours).
No, according to American researchers, the tipping point comes between 17 and 23 days after the first message is sent.
They conducted a survey of 433 online daters and found that the longer they waited to meet a match in person, the more likely they were to feel let down.
Of course, exchanging a barrage of emails – even phone calls or Skyping– can seem more secure.
Now, I’m not for a moment hinting at any sinister goings-on.
The fact is – you’re unlikely to meet a con artist or lunatic.
It makes the prospect of arranging dates a lot less scary.
But, in the end, it doesn’t really matter how you met – online or off.
But the simple truth is that messaging on the internet is nothing more than a fact-finding mission.