Relationship progression is an odd enough thing, isn’t it? Those first few awkward dates, the texts, when do we add each other on the Book of Faces, do we introduce them to our family and if so, when is it appropriate? Are they going to like him or her? If they’re like my family, you also get to face a bevy of suspicious folks who ask what you bring to my life, in what ways will you enhance it? Let’s shake it up some, shall we. Take your magical 8-ball, and while shaking it, ask softly, “Should I meet this cat from the interwebs that I’m really digging on?” What’d it say?
OK, so let’s add in the meeting in chat to the building of a relationship. As previously covered, there are drawbacks to relationships that begin on the Internet. Some of the biggest ones are: Are they a real person? Are they truthful? What is their angle? How do I protect myself from being in a school of catfish? This doesn’t cover a lot of those and oftentimes, it’s hit or miss. Most of the times, they or rather, parts of themselves they’ve presented to you aren’t really accurate, chances are that most of them haven’t been 100% truthful or hey! You’ve been catfished. What about that rare, .01% though? The one who is real and truthful, who has no angle and isn’t using bait? What do we do about them? [personally, I’m of the enjoy them 17 ways from Sunday camp.]
You’re debating meeting up offline. This isn’t a safety meeting, but in the sense of CYA as a writer and as a server, we will state here: please use ALL the same precautions you would take for a blind date, Tinder or a random hook up in the produce section; tell someone where you’re going, the name of the person you’re meeting, how long you expect to be gone and an agreed upon time to call, with one of two phrases, one for good, one for call 911! And for the love of all that is safe, please do not agree to share a hotel room on the first night. Make separate reservations for each person, and don’t share that information until AFTER you’ve met. That’s how folks end up making the 11 o’clock news, in Hefty sacks, littering various highways.
Ensure you provide enough funding to make your way to the agreed upon city/state/country and back home, that your ID/Passport is in order and that your car rental/flights or hotels are in YOUR name. Not only his, not only hers. Find a middle ground place in which to meet, like a restaurant, a diner, or a mall. Someplace where there are lights, where there should be other people and where you can scream for help, if need arises.
Spend some time discussing how you’ll handle it, if you two do hit it off. Spend some time discussing how you’ll handle it if you don’t hit it off. Make plans for alternate things you’d like to do in the area, if you don’t hit it off. Chemistry is all well and good in chat rooms, but if the sparks not there, it’s just not there. That’s ok, we all need good friends who won’t judge us, who care enough to meet us and who habitually tell us the truth.
If the spark is there, at some point, you’ll have to have the discussion about, do we do this again? How often is feasible? Have we established clear boundaries for expectations? Do we have expectations? How will we handle the separation? If you’re in separate countries, this can be difficult, which you already know from lining up times to just chat, never mind fly or drive back and forth.
In our limited experience, we’ve discovered that having those difficult discussions can be painful, but rewarding. Instead of spending the entire first visit trying to muddle it out and taking time away from just learning one another and enjoying one another, have that discussion as the anticipated day of visit draws near. Make a script if you need to in order to help you cover all the things you’d like to discuss. [I habitually have conversational ADD and this is free advice I’m giving you.] Make sure options are clear for both people, “Do we understand that this is the progression of potentially taking it offline full time?” or, “This will be a once in a lifetime thing or something we rarely get to do, so make it memorable?” “Will we go on a date or are we merely meeting up for the opportunity to have naked monkey sex with this hot chick/dude from the interwebs?” WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE??? Try to cover these bases, at minimum before meeting, so at least everyone is going into it with eyes wide open. [Also, as a server, we do NOT provide pro bono counseling services for those who get heartbroken post-meeting. You may be part of our circus, but you most definitely are not our monkey.]
We love hearing success stories. We love happily ever afters for our friends and our server users. We also don’t want to get word that one of you guys ended up making the news in a horrible, gruesome way, so be safe, be sane [which can be difficult with post-orgasmic endorphins, we are so aware] but above all else? Be honest. With yourself [what do you want, what will this meet-up allow you, is it meeting your needs or will you leave feeling used?] Be honest with your potential partner/mate/personal fuck toy. [What are your intentions? Is this once and done or are we progressing somewhere? What will I see them as after?]