I have spoken briefly about the “long game.” This is how traditional pre-app dating was. You would go to a social event, see each other from across a crowded dance floor, then boom, you eventually started dating. Most importantly, there was a “courtship” phase. Most of us are used to swiping, meeting, maybe hooking up, and there might be a date here and there. There are key differences in the app- versus real-life style and it requires more strategy…..
You have seen him multiple times and he finally talked to you…..
This is step one. If he has not spoken to you and approached you, then either keep waiting for a bit, or throw in the towel. When a guy is interested and available, he will say hello in a bar, party, or cafe setting. You will not need to say hello and start a conversation to “help him out.” So, yes…. he finally talked to you. You should keep it light and don’t make assumptions. Act like you are on a first date. Stick to surface-level topics, be friendly, and get a overall vibe from him.
He has talked to you at least three separate times and includes you…..
Three times a charm. This is noteworthy because: once, could be him being bored and wanting to talk; two times, he recognized you; yet three…now you have something. Still keep things very light and open your ears and listen to what he is telling you. He might be talking about an ex, or that he is having a rough patch. He is interested, but probably needs a rebound or his ego stroked. Do not ignore this, and don’t think he will change his mind after he gets to know you.
Go dark for four days to one week…..
This is a crucial step. Pull back when there isn’t forward motion yet. Just don’t be gone for too long because that can backfire. Go on a date or two with other guys, but take your dates far away. After the week is up, return like nothing happened. Again too long = forgotten, the right amount = anticipation. This is the hardest step because you fear he will just forget you and move on. Is he excited once you come back around? Did he ask for your number or ask you on a date?
Be careful about Instagram…..
It’s tempting to just send that follow request on Instagram. You can keep up with him, watch his stories, and like his posts. You will send a message out of desperation once he isn’t giving you what you want. He will answer you and things might seem like they are going somewhere. There might be a night where you send a message and he leaves you on read. Don’t go down that road. Wait for him to ask for your number.
Does he bring you around his friend group?…..
Dating in the wild, you will meet friends sooner than online dating. With app dating you can hide your friends from your dates. In person, his friends are already there. How do his friends treat you? Are they excited to see you again and include you? Or do they ignore you? Sneaking off to a dark corner to avoid his friends glaring eyes is not a good sign.
If there has been no forward motion, let it go…..
This is not your invitation to low-key stalk him. He isn’t going to change his mind by you always being around. You might have to give up a fun regular hangout spot. Your night could be ruined by him giving you the cold shoulder, or worse, seeing him on another date.
Listen, getting the stars to align at the right moment can take a long time. However, meeting in person will always be more memorable than swiping on an app. All my special relationships have not involved an app. There is something magical about two people having chemistry and doing the delicate courting dance. Yet… you shouldn’t be waiting literally forever. Once you reach the “going-dark stage” and then returning ,he needs to pull the trigger. If he doesn’t, he either found someone else, or wasn’t that interested in the first place. Also, I have said before that just because it’s a “meet-cute” situation doesn’t mean it’s fate and the universe owes you. He still needs to take forward actions to move things along: Asking for your number, asking for a date, texting etc. Do not linger around hoping he will talk to you. Yes, it sucks to give up that cool hang-out spot for a while, and I know you want to go there out of spite. Trust me, there are other bars, coffee shops, venues.