The 2/2/2 Rule or (Should I Change My Online Approach To Feel More Chemistry on First Dates?)
First of all, I want to say that after reading all of your blog articles and your book, Why He Disappeared, I feel more empowered than ever in my dating life. Like you suggest, I am actively online dating. I spend an hour or so every day chatting with guys I find both physically and emotionally alluring. Like most of your clients beautiful, funny, caring and have a great job (I’m a bit younger though, 26 years old). Being young and cute, I get quite a bit of male interest online and I typically go on 2 to 4 dates a week. Unfortunately, most of the guys I go on dates with I end up having no interest in going on a second date with. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these guys or with me, but it just feels like neither one of us is very into it. I’m getting pretty frustrated at the whole situation and I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m just picking the wrong guys, but when we chat online it seems like we really hit it off. That chemistry just never seems to translate into real life interactions. Am I doing something wrong or am I just picking the wrong guys? I suspect it might be the latter, but I have no idea how to go about picking better guys. Are there specific factors in someone’s profile that I should be looking at? I normally look to see if the guy is interested in trying new things, what his stance on having a family is, how serious he is about finding a relationship, etc. If I’m doing something wrong, is there a way I can approach dates so that we both feel more chemistry when we meet in real life?
Looking forward to your input!
I’m new to online dating. I’m doing what most everybody does: emailing lots of people short emails and encouraging them to meet as quickly as possible for coffee. I’d have 3-4 dates a week because they were low cost, and low investment. Quickly, I realize that I hated this way of dating. That I never had a great coffee date. That I never made out with someone at Starbucks. That meeting at 2pm in plastic chairs isn’t that conducive to romance, and feels more like a business meeting. It was from that point on that I decided to put a little more time into getting to know someone prior to the date, to ensure a better date.
It couldn’t be too long. After all, who wants to spend a month getting to know someone, only to find out there’s no physical chemistry? At the same time, meeting someone after writing “Hey, you’re hot. Let’s meet. Here’s my phone number,” was yielding nothing but these boring coffee dates with total strangers.
Total time from first email to first date: 1 day
I write to a superstar on JDate — PhD in neuroscience, quick wit, burlesque dancer. Emails are lengthy and magical. Phone calls breeze by like time was standing still. A week later, with great anticipation, I show up at a bar for the first date, convinced that this was “the one.” Less than an hour into the date, she tells me, “I’m not that attracted to you.” It was like I got punched in the gut. My fantasy didn’t match my reality. Lesson learned.
My fantasy didn’t match my reality. Lesson learned.
Ready for Lasting Love? Ready for Lasting Love?
Total time from first email to first date: 1 week
I receive an email from a woman without a photo on Match.com. I engage her in conversation. It’s fun. It’s flirty. It’s easy. She lives about an hour away. We exchange emails and she sends me a photo. She is the most beautiful woman I’d ever talked to online. Breathtaking. We start talking on the phone. Conversation is effortless. I call her a second time. We set up a date for Friday night. We continue to flirt during the day. We have another phone call the day before the date. She shows up at the restaurant and she’s glowing. We’re connecting. It’s incredible. We go out dancing. We come home and fool around a bit. I’m smitten. She takes another 2-3 weeks to decide she wants to become exclusive. It’s on.
Total time from first email to first date: 1 week.
I write to a cute girl on JDate, right before I’m about to visit my Mom on the East Coast for Christmas. We exchange emails on the site, then off the site, then move to the phone. The first call was good enough that — since I wasn’t in LA to take her out — I decided to call her by phone from Florida. The three hour time difference meant that I called her at 10pmEST (after my Mom had gone to sleep) and 7pmPST (when she was home from work). Every day for a week, we spoke for 2+ hours. Finally, even though we’d never met before, she picked me up at the airport. We were pretty much instant boyfriend/girlfriend.
Total time from first email to first date: 10 days (7 of which were on different coasts)
By 2003, I had become a dating coach and spent a lot of time listening to people complain about what was “wrong” with online dating. I was also still single and looking for answers myself. But I’d had enough experience to realize that I had a “system” going that seemed to work very well for me.
Basically, if every other guy was going to zig, I was going to zag.
While other men would write aggressive first emails and try to procure a meeting as quickly as possible, I realized that since I had LESS success being pushy and LESS success going out with total strangers, it was in my best interests to slow down just a little bit.
Basically, if every other guy was going to zig, I was going to zag.
I’d write a couple of emails on Match, write a couple of emails off Match, talk on the phone once or twice — all the better to assess our connection PRIOR to going on the date. If I discovered that emails were boring or conversations were flat or weird or tense, I wouldn’t ask her out.
As a result, instead of going on four blind dates a week with strangers based on their photos, I went on closer to 1 or 2 dates a week with women I’d gotten to know for about a week.
Sure enough, dating became more fun. It wasn’t foolproof. Sometimes, there’d be no chemistry. Sometimes, a woman would be great on the phone and bad in person. But, for the most part, I enjoyed meeting women after a week of flirting — it always felt more like a second date than a first date.
When everyone else was sipping lattes in plastic chairs, I was hooking up like crazy — all because I put in a LITTLE more time up front for quality assurance.
So while everyone else HATED online dating and got burned out on it, I LOVED it. I knew there would be ups and downs, but, for the most part, the more I stuck to my process, the more comfortable the women were when we met and the more fun we had on those first dates.
Candidly, when everyone else was sipping lattes in plastic chairs, I was hooking up like crazy — all because I put in a LITTLE more time up front for quality assurance.
In 2007, when I was creating my comprehensive online dating program, Finding the One Online, I had to come up with a name for the thing I’d been doing effortlessly for the past five years.
I called it the 2/2/2 Rule: Two emails on the site. Two emails each off the site. Two phone calls. First date. Takes less than a week. Saves women the horror of meeting douchey strangers, spares men the cost of taking out women with no personality, builds up trust and rapport, delivers better first dates than blind dates at Starbucks.
Pretty soon, 2/2/2 became a “thing.” Pretty soon, I was doing a TEDx Talk about it.
2/2/2 Rule: Two emails on the site. Two emails each off the site. Two phone calls. First date. Takes less than a week.
Pretty soon, emails started pouring in from around the world about how something so simple revolutionized their online dating experience.
I know all the objections: Men don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. I just want to see if there’s chemistry. It’s a waste of time. I don’t know what to say. What about texting? What if we don’t like talking on the phone? I got it, I got it, I got it.
There are answers to all of those questions, but I suspect those who aren’t open to this will not be persuaded by my logic, experience and success.
In short, if you’re a guy who is happy with spamming women with your phone number and getting one out of 50 to write back, go on with your bad self. If you’re a woman who has 3-4 dates a week and doesn’t see value in making men work a little harder to meet you, by all means, keep up your good work. But don’t complain that online dating isn’t working for you. Because online dating is doing EXACTLY what you’re asking it to do — it’s feeding you men that you refuse to vet because you’re impatient and they’re impatient. The results speak for themselves.
You don’t need to be an expert profile reader to succeed in online dating. You just need a different way of moving men from the dating site to the first date in less than a week.
In short, my dear, Allyse, you don’t need to be an expert profile reader (although I’d personally go for longer profiles, sincere profiles, and self-aware profiles) to succeed in online dating. You just need a different way of moving men from the dating site to the first date in less than a week, to make sure that he’s a good guy BEFORE you meet instead of AFTER.
Volume 4 of Finding the One Online is about that ONE subject — how to flirt with men, initiate contact, and effortlessly screen 7-10 men into 1-2 pre-screened dates per week.
Check it out and let me know if it makes a difference in your experience, okay?