Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Journey from First Message to First Date

Today we're going to do a deep dive into how the 19 first dates I've been on have come about. From who sent the first message to how long it took to ask me out. Here goes.

Meme courtesy of C.W.


OKCupid has overwhelmingly been the best source of dates. 17 of the 19 dates have been from OKC. Of the other two, one was from Coffee Meets Bagel and the other from match. Granted I have been on OKC longer, but the dates from OKC started materializing quickly, while the other two are lagging far behind.

The first move

For every single date I've been on, the guy has sent the first message. I haven't sent all that many messages out first, but so far none of those have turned into dates. The mutual matching thing has been useful though. It's a very easy way for me express interest without even needing to send a message. Five of the dates came about from a mutual match of some type, though in every case with the exception of the CMB date where you rate simultaneously, the guy has rated me highly first.

The first message

The messages I've responded to that have turned into dates haven't been that long or even that clever. Nearly all of them referenced something in my profile, usually one of the activities I mention that I'm clearly passionate about, and most were only a few sentences. If I feel like there's enough in the message to start a conversation, it's not rude, and I find the profile pic attractive, I'll click through to look at his profile and decide whether to respond.

GUYS: Don't waste a ton of time writing a first message. Just read her profile and mention something about it  that you find interesting.

LADIES: Write about things that you're passionate about. Make it easy for a guy to find something to reference.

Pulling the trigger

Average number of messages he sends before actually asking me on a date is four. A few asked in the first message and the longest was seven. The longer ones usually happened when there were quick back and forth messages right away. Generally I'm going to get bored with the conversation if he doesn't ask me out relatively quickly. I say in my profile that I'm not looking for a pen pal. We're all on these sites to go out on dates so there's no point in beating around the bush.

The waiting time

After he asks me out, there are usually quite a few messages back and forth to schedule the date and pick an activity. Some banter is helpful too so that it all seems a little less awkward. It averages out to be twelve messages that he sends before we actually meet up.

From first message to first date is averaging a little over eight days. This is partly because I have generally avoided weekend night dates and reserve at least two weekday nights for my friends so that only leaves three possible nights and weekends during the day. The average is definitely going up as time goes on since my schedule is getting packed earlier and earlier in advance. I've only once met up with a guy the same day he asked me, and that was because he realized I had found him on LinkedIn already. Oops. Need to make sure I'm logged out before doing any investigating.

The date

Despite saying I like creative dates, the first dates have still been mostly the standard - seven have been drinks, three coffee. For the creative dates, leading the way are climbing (2) and the Exploratorium (2). If it's a non-creative date, I generally make sure it's somewhere close to home for me. I don't mind going farther if it's something a little out of the ordinary.

A second date?

So far all four of the guys I felt like I hit it off with have asked me on a second date. The asking on a second date situation has varied quite widely. For all four second dates, the guy has asked me out again AFTER the date was over either by text or via the messaging system. Five more guys have asked me out explicitly (as in saying let's plan a day and time) and I have declined. Four additional guys at the end of the date said they wanted to hang out again, but I never heard from them. I wasn't interested and would have declined, but I find this intriguing. Perhaps my somewhat flippant reply made it obvious that I wasn't interested, but if that's not the case, I wonder why the guy even bothered saying anything. Maybe he felt like it was polite? It's odd though. Five guys disappeared after the date, never to be heard from again. And the last one messaged me after, but never asked for a second date and faded away too.

GUYS: Just wait until later to ask her out a second time. It's awkward if she's not interested, and you seem like a gentleman for following up if she is. Wins all around!

Of the second dates, two were dinner, one was drinks and the last was the infamous laser tag. I went on a third date to a Giants game at which point I realized there definitely wasn't chemistry with that guy. The other third date was a bonfire which was super fun. There's still one more in play for a potential third date, but we'll see how things progress.

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