Social Question

Carly's avatar

How do you develop an in-person relationship which started online?

Asked by Carly (4550points) February 10th, 2011

I’ve been talking online with a guy that I knew back in highschool. He seems very different now, which is why I was initially interested in starting a relationship with him, but just recently I had a phone conversation with him and the conversation was completely different compared to the text-based convo online. He lives in another state right now, but I’m planning on going back to the same college he’s at now (in about a year), and I’ll be visiting the campus about 3 times until I go back permanently.

I’m not really sure if I should continue this relationship online though because I’m afraid we’ll have such a different connection in person. Is this normal to be different online? I don’t think I am, but I’ve never been told otherwise. Do you think an online relationship can develop successfully into an in-person relationship, or do you think its harder than it could be?

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24 Answers

marinelife's avatar

What I don’t think you can do is judge by one phone call. Some people are very different on the phone.

I think that you need to meet in person and look to see if the online connection is still there.

Summum's avatar

Of course being on the phone is different and much more personal. It is very easy to type things and many can express themselves better with the written word. As @marinelife says if you are seriously interested in this guy then you should meet in person before deciding what will happen. Often times we over think things and before you even meet you have come to the conclusions based only on your thoughts about meeting. There are many relationships that are successful from online meetings and some not so good but unless you try you will not know. Good Luck to you.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

As for online friendships,one can certainly develop very good and close ones.
Vunessuh came out to visit last summer.She a great guest and alot of fun.
Just as entertaining and fun as she is on here.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Jude and she was even sweeter than she is on here.
I think you should see him.You will never know until you try.

wundayatta's avatar

People are different in real life, if only because you have so much more information about them when you share personal space with them. It’s normal.

I have found that once you go to phone calls or chat, you tend to abandon email. The immediacy becomes too attractive. But isn’t it amazing hearing his voice?

People may be different on the phone than through other media. Important to know. But don’t abandon any form of communication from a conscious choice. If it happens, it happens, but you can’t plan the course of a relationship. If you do that, it is no longer a relationship, but your fantasy of a relationship.

Jude's avatar

Lucy is just as funny and genuine in real life, as she is here. :)

Hopefully, in the early summer, I will be meeting up with Nessuh, too. :)

I say, go for it!!

everephebe's avatar

I think @marinelife is correct, don’t start having doubts over one or two phone calls. Sometimes it’s easier to be much more nervous on the phone then in person or online.

You should hope that the connection is different in person! Hope that it’s even better then online! Continue until there is clarity, fear is murky at best. Be yourself, in person, and if it doesn’t work out in person stay friends online if you can. Don’t kill this before anything in person happens out of fear of nervousness. Let it play out.

Summum's avatar

Great question. I want anyone here to know if you come to Utah and want to see some of the sites let me know and I will meet up with you. My wife and I can show you around to some very beautiful sites. The skiing is the best in the world here. Grin There is a place called Park City and it is fabulous and just waiting to be discovered. Grin

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve never had an issue transitioning an online relationship into an in person one but I’ve been lucky. Treat it like any other relationship, say this isn’t what I thought it would be and move on.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think it depends on the person, honestly.
When I first met my husband (we didn’t meet online), at the beginning of our relationship we spent a lot of time talking online. I really thought that I didn’t like his personality very much. I knew that the conversations online were the influence behind that, but it was so early in the relationship that I thought perhaps I had misjudged him in person. Obviously, 7 years later, everything is a-ok. He just doesn’t express himself well in text.
On the contrary, I met a friend from the internet about 15 years ago, and we got along famously. We connected very easily online, and just as well in person. We are still very close friends to this day.
I think it depends on the individual.

dubsrayboo's avatar

@Summum I’m in UT also. Cool.

My husband and I met through email and then we did chat and then phone conversations. He is an awesome guy, but it was hard for the single guy to get used to a girlfriend with children. He had a temperament that was different from when we were first communicating. We’ve been married 7 years and it has been strong. There will be differences from online to in person but most of the time the personal relationship is worth it.

Austinlad's avatar

Me, I took a trip to England.

andreaxjean's avatar

I’ve met people online who I clicked with and then met in person and our attitudes toward each other were actually the same as they were online. The only thing that was weird for me was getting used to their body language and facial expressions. It’s hard to detect a tone by reading text, but when you speak in person people tend to talk with their hands and show more emotion. So, to answer your question, yes I do believe an online relationship can develop successfully into an in-person relationship, however, the first few times you meet in person it might feel like you have to get to know him all over again. Therefore, it might be slightly awkward at first.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t know if you can really tell from one phone call. I’ll make fun of myself a little here and tell you that until I really get to know someone, I’m very awkward on the phone. It’s like my brain goes haywire and I feel out of place and keep saying, “Uhh and umm” a lot. If someone were to videotape me making an initial phone call with someone new, it would likely be painfully embarassing to watch. Maybe he’s the same way.

SamIAm's avatar

I’ve been doing a lot of online dating in the past few months and it’s certainly possible that people are different in text or on the phone than in real life. I just recently met someone who said he had been on about 5 online dates and that he spoke to most of them extensively on the phone before meeting and when they met, there was nothing there. I have also had a similar experience. Lots of emails and excitement but when you meet, the chemistry isn’t there. There’s nothing wrong with chatting and then maybe doing something simple like getting coffee when you go to visit the school. Just don’t expect too much, that’s the best way to go about this. Personally, I’m not a phone person with people I don’t know well but I can text and email until my fingers hurt. Again, just don’t expect too much and you’ll be fine.

glenjamin's avatar

I agree with @SamIAm , I am different on the phone then online or in person. See if you can meet him in-person, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in this basket.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would try (I know that’s not always easy) to temper my expectations at this point. I am not sure what sort of friendship/relationship you are envisaging but until you do meet in person (and develop that face-to-face element of your friendship), you can’t really know how things will work out and even then… it is still a lottery. Enjoy getting to know each other on the phone, online and eventually in person. He may well be able to communicate more effectively in print than on the phone, but it is still him and you are learning more about him as you go. Try to just enjoy the various exchanges and not make too many judgements.

Ladymia69's avatar

When I was 16 (way back in 1995), I met a guy on the (very young) internet…one of the AOL forums, the Grateful Dead forum. I started talking to him online, and then that led to talking on the phone….he was 20 and lived in Iowa. I was 16 and in SC. He decided to come down and visit me after 2 months of heated conversations, and drove straight down here. I proceeded to leave my parents’ house with no explanation, we met up, and I shacked up with him in a hotel for 5 days. We had really amazing sex and connected very deeply. He went back up to Iowa, but eventually moved down here and stayed for a few months, only to be called back to go to college in Iowa by his parents. It was back and forth for us for a few months – I would go up to Iowa to stay with him for a couple of months, then come down here. The age difference was beginning to show in our relationship. Plus, there were cultural differences, since he was originally from Chile. We eventually broke up almost a year after we met.
That’s my experience, and I feel like if I did it nowadays, I would be far more anxiety-ridden about meeting in person.

harple's avatar

I’m smiling inside reading this… I recall my first phonecall with my SO after having only exchanged emails… it was awkward and brief – we were both so nervous! We joked about it in our next few email exchanges, and the next phonecall was probably a week later… at that point, we knew what the other one sounded like so didn’t have any ill-conceived preconceptions, and we gave the phonecall time to let us relax a bit… we laughed so much in that phonecall, and have continued laughing for the hundreds we’ve had since :-D

So, I guess, give it time – don’t jump away from it, but perhaps don’t jump any further in just yet. @Simone_De_Beauvoir is quite right though, if it’s not what you thought it would be (and more importantly isn’t what you’d like it to be) then it’s okay to say so!

Carly's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate , That was exactly what the conversation was like. I was used to having long, deep conversations with him on Skype chat, but when I called him he laughed awkwardly, said “um” a lot, there was a lot of silence so I felt I needed to keep talking.. We also cut each other off a lot.. the whole smooth conversation was just ridiculously choppy.

@SamIAm, do you think much of that disconnection, when you meet a person IRL, is due to spending too much time online? I feel sometimes like I should be getting to know this guy more in-person so there’s actually something to learn about me when we meet up again. I worry a lot about “spreading myself too thin” online, then eventually burning out before we
have the chance to be together.

@harple, I truly hope it ends up that way.- crossing my fingers -

SamIAm's avatar

@Carly: I guess that could be true. But if there’s a connection, you’ll always have something to talk about and learn about that person. Think about your closest friends… I can talk to my girls on the phone for hoursss on end, and still have lunch the next day and not worry about conversation. But if you feel better, cut the conversations that aren’t in person short, let him know that you’re excited to hang out but want to get to know each other more in person. Be honest and be yourself. If you burn out, or if things don’t go well, they weren’t supposed to.

jca's avatar

my suggestion is meeting for coffee. coffee is something you can do in a half hour or three hours, there’s no awkwardness like will he pay or do you go dutch, because it’s so friggin cheap it does not matter, it will get you both warmed up and chatty, and it’s a great way to see him in person and test the waters.

perspicacious's avatar

Yes, it’s possible. However, if your telephone conversation was turnoff, I would not expect much in person.

Bellatrix's avatar

He might just be shy though. That’s why I said he might find it easier to communicate online. That doesn’t mean as he gets to know you he won’t be fun and fascinating. He probably wanted to make a good impression and the pressure got to him? My husband never shuts up and is lots of fun to be with and very extrovert, but when he was younger he felt very awkward and shy.

Smashley's avatar

Different people communicate better in different ways. If there was something you liked about him in text-only chats, chances are that those qualities remain, though they may be harder for him to express on the phone. You like something about him, but if a real relationship were ever to unfold, you’d be in a relationship with a person, not an avatar. Give him the benefit of the doubt, accept that he might have just been nervous, and take it day by day. Clearly he has qualities you like, and you should meet up with him in person in a very casual setting and see if there is any chemistry. I met my partner online, though we didn’t wait long before we met in person to see if we were really as compatible as it seemed. Thankfully we were, but I wouldn’t think that that means everyone who gets along in type will get along face to face.

Humans are interesting creatures and we act differently in different situations. The only way you can know how real this is is by meeting with him and beginning the normal dating process from scratch. Start over. Don’t expect the person you imagined you were talking to online, though. Expect a real person with strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. Hope it works out for you!

(And yes, everyone is different online)

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