It seemed so promising.
You were thrilled when this guy you met online asked for your mobile number. Although you’re careful about giving out your number (after some bad experiences with unwanted pictures), this guy seemed genuine. His texts were funny, interesting, and kept you thinking about him.
After a few weeks, though, fascination was turning to irritation. The constant texting was getting old. Why wasn’t he asking you out?
Maybe because he’s just fishing.
As a means of communication, texting was made for men. They can get to the point without wasting time on small talk. They don’t have to reply unless they feel like it. They can communicate with lots of people with very little time investment.
Even better, text messages serve as bait. No need to meet in person when he can send the same witty one-liner to every girl in his phonebook.
He can wait to see who bites before sending a follow-up. Texts are an efficient, effective way to connect without risking rejection.
Which is why you should be wary of the guy who’d rather text you than see you:
He may be more interested in the pursuit than dealing with a flesh-and-blood female.
Technology has been a blessing and a curse to dating. You’re no longer limited to bumping into someone at the grocery store or wasting an evening at the local dive. You can theoretically meet men across the world and strike up a relationship solely through the use of technology.
But it comes at a cost.
Technology is addictive in a way that hanging out with someone isn’t. Internet use triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical behind more well-known addictions like alcohol or drug addiction. Dopamine spurs “seeking behavior.” Addicts are convinced that everything they could ever want is online, if they just browse long enough.
Meet in person, however, and a different neurochemical profile dominates.
As you fall for each other over a candlelit meal, you enjoy the happy feelings brought on by dopamine in conjunction with oxytocin and serotonin. As you hold hands or hug goodbye, a burst of oxytocin gives you a feeling of connection and contentment. A bond exists between you now. You’re more than just a name on his phone.
So, what about that man who keeps texting you or messaging you, without asking to meet?
He’s not feeling closer or more connected to you with every text exchange. Rather, he’s craving a dopamine hit.
Dopamine is behind the wild popularity of apps like Tinder that encourage seeking behavior. It’s more rewarding to keep looking. Unpredictable results, scant information, and automatic notifications fuel the addiction.
You’ve got better things to do than dangle on the end of his line. So, here’s my advice:
Learn to spot the guy who genuinely wants to meet someone. You can do so by paying attention to how soon he asks to meet in person.
If he is genuinely interested in you, he’ll want to meet you as soon as he thinks you’ll say yes. He doesn’t want you to get snapped up by some other guy before he’s had a chance to win you over.
On average, people who meet online will arrange a date between 17 and 23 days after they first made contact.  Usually, between 3 and 5 messages are exchanged before arranging a meeting.
Pay attention to the content of those messages. If the messages he sends you are generic ones like “How was your day?” or “Hope you’re having a great one,” then he’s probably just fishing. Some men send out large numbers of generic messages to every woman they can in hopes of getting a bite.
Look for personal details, things he could have only learned by reading your profile in depth. Comments about your personal appearance may feel flattering but could indicate that he’s done nothing more than look at your picture.
Some women decide not to give out their mobile number or social media details until they’ve met up in person. That way, they don’t have to worry about getting bombarded by unwanted messages, and they can discretely drop off his radar if they find they’re not interested.
All it takes is a quick 15-minute coffee date to know if there’s potential. But you have to be face to face to form that all-important first impression.
As great as technology is, it’s worth knowing that 1 in 3 online daters have never actually progressed to meeting anyone in person. For some, seeking is more rewarding than finding.