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Sharabi and Caughlin (2017) set out to investigate the question of what predicts first-date success in their recent work.
They surveyed 186 participants who were using online dating and had at least one person they were thinking of meeting in person.
There's often a jarring difference between how it feels online and what it feels like in person. Generally, get to know the person as well as you can before meeting (but don't wait too long, because interest may wane over time). Meet up with people who are open to sharing about themselves.
Many times, that first meeting is a letdown, and it doesn't go further than that. In turn, be open to sharing about yourself (while exercising prudent caution, of course). Expect that, on average, you may be disappointed, but with persistence, there is a good chance you can form a satisfying relationship. Use online dating services that match you with people similar to you, and which require greater communication and sharing as part of online courtship.
Similarly, greater communication predicted a more successful first date, especially when people really were similar to each other.
When people were overly positive, exaggerating similarities and the expectation of future interactions, disillusionment was very likely; this effect was greater when communication was lower, presumably because people are able to maintain positive illusions in the absence of information about the other person, leading to a greater risk of being disappointed.
At that time, 22 percent of heterosexual couples reported meeting online.Meeting online was the third most common way of meeting, after being introduced by friends, and close behind meeting randomly in public settings (bars, restaurants, parties, etc.).According to the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of Americans recently reported using online dating sites to meet people, and online dating is gaining wider acceptance across most age ranges, notably tripling among people age 18-24 from 10 percent to 27 percent between 20.So while online dating is on the rise, most online relationships do not lead to long-term, committed relationships. (2013), a higher percentage of married couples in their sample (30 percent) met online, and those that did were slightly but significantly more likely to stay together and report greater marital satisfaction.Researchers are just beginning to understand the new and complicated dynamics of online dating, and it is unclear what factors go into successful matching, though long-term relationship satisfaction is likely to come from the same factors regardless of how people meet (see here for an overview of predictors of relationship satisfaction).
And after hundreds of first dates, who wants to waste their time finding out they didn't need to meet in person anyway?