Life Advice



Keep your conversation on the dating app… until the date

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

I am known for saying texting is the “death of a first date” (morbid, I know… but true), and I stand by it. What I mean by that is this: Once numbers are exchanged, if you haven’t already set up the details of the date (time/date/location), then there is now a 65% chance of the date no longer happening. Here’s why:

- Someone simply doesn’t text/stops texting, and all hope for meeting is lost.

- There’s a false sense of intimacy over text, and someone is bound to overshare.

- There is a lack of sense of urgency to plan the date. Some people think getting the number is the pinnacle of success. It’s not.

- Things can easily be misconstrued or misunderstood over text.

Instead of becoming message pen pals, which can turn sour quickly, I’ll always encourage clients to meet in person for a conversation once you’ve established there’s an interest from both sides. A face-to-face meeting is always going to give you a much better idea of your chemistry than endless texting back and forth (barring a long distance between you, of course).

After exchanging a few messages on a dating app, it’s natural for someone to ask for your phone number to keep the discussion going. Instead, I recommend you keep your conversation on the app, including planning for a date. Actually, someone asking for your phone number is a great way to bring up the idea of meeting in person, as an “upgrade.”

When a person asks for your number, here are a few ideas of how you might suggest meeting instead:


“I’m not a huge fan of texting before a date, but I would love to meet. I’m free Wednesday or Thursday this week — what’s your availability?”

“Oh, I don’t mind planning on here! Would Wednesday or Thursday work for you?”

“Thanks for asking for my number. If it’s OK/cool with you, would you mind if we actually make the plans to meet through the app? Keeps me somewhat organized. But how’s Wednesday or Thursday this week?”

To elaborate a bit on why I recommend keeping conversations and date plans on the app, for starters, people can get lazy after some texting. It’s hard to keep a text conversation flowing when you don’t know much about each other, and often, one side loses interest and the first date never even happens. You’ll get a much better feel for each other face-to-face… and you won’t have exhausted a bunch of topics already. Not to mention, it’s hard to fully show your personality over text.

Then there’s organization — the “line” that keeping conversations in the app keeps you organized isn’t a lie! It can get confusing when “Marty Bumble” and “Michael Bumble” are both sending you texts, and you might even have to go back to the app to figure out what you have already talked about with each person. Keeping the full discussion in the app can avoid awkward moments like “You asked me that already” or confusing their interest with someone else’s.

Once plans are in place, it’s a good idea to confirm the day before via the app once again with a simple message and exchange numbers in case of last-minute contingencies. Try: “Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. In case you need to reach me for anything then, my number is 555-555-5555. Feel free to send yours.” Works like a charm. This is essentially like saying, “Here’s my number. Please don’t text me incessantly! Use it if needed.”

At the end of the day, you’re looking for a romantic partner, not a pen pal. Someone can seem great over text then not-so-much in person or vice versa, so the sooner you can turn a match into a meet, the better — then you can decide whether there’s a connection you’re both excited to explore.

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