How Long Does It Take To Get To Know Someone When You First Start Dating?

Updated April 3, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

As human beings, we often like to know the timing of things. We want to know what age we'll be when we find our person, how long it will take to find a job, and at what age we'll finally feel like we've grown up. The truth is that timing can be very subjective, especially when it comes to relationships. Getting to know someone usually depends on how much time you spend with them, along with how truthful they are when they talk with you. It's possible to feel like you know someone only for them to do the one thing that makes you realize you don't know them at all. It's also possible to feel like you haven't spent a lot of time with someone, and yet you feel like you've known them for years. In many cases, it can be more important to focus on how you will get to know someone rather than question how long it will take to know them fully. For those who feel that relationships are not time-bound, the subject of how many dates before a relationship is declared formal may be irrelevant, since when you are passionate about something, time in dating might not matter.

Dating and getting to know someone new can be a challenge

How long it takes: When meeting online

When meeting someone online, you start the process by communicating through messages, so it might feel easier to ask some bigger questions while hiding behind a screen. Additionally, depending on which site or app you are using, their profile might have important information that you need to know about them before you start dating. For instance, you might come across a profile of an attractive and interesting person, but they are vegan. You very much like to eat meat, and you know that going out to dinner would be hard for you both. So, you decide to swipe left on that profile.

Getting to know someone online first might help you to get to know them a little quicker. People who get into online dating because they want to get married, for instance, usually aren't going to beat around the bush when it comes to finding a relevant match. This type of couple can often display more openness and honesty and want to spend a lot of time together to determine if they are the right match. If you use a site where you have to pay for matches, you might be more intentional about meeting someone who is an ideal match, and not just looking for something casual or short-term.

How long it takes: When meeting in person

Organic and chance meetings leave a little more up to fate. But that doesn't mean that it's automatically going to be a slow process to get to know someone. It can also depend on how busy you are, how often you want to see them, and how interested and attracted you are to them. If you want to spend a lot of time with this person, you will often do everything you can to get together. However, if you are super busy and can only get together once a week, it may be difficult to develop an understanding of who this person is. Spending more time with an individual can one of the surest ways to get to know them more deeply.

You ultimately have the power to decide how well you want to get to know a person. Going on one date doesn't automatically guarantee a second. If you think you know enough about a person that you don't want to get to know them further, you can leave things on the first date. If you decide you are interested in this person, though, and want to get to know them better, do what you can to make more dates happen. The more time you spend together, the more you can get to know each other. Remember that it's also important for your date to get to know you as well. While you are learning about your date, let them learn more about who you are and what makes you special and interesting.

Pay close attention

When you are getting to know someone, it can be easy to miss the red flags and other signs if you are already smitten. Rose-tinted glasses can keep you from seeing bad habits, poor treatment, and other deal-breakers that could make you want out of a relationship. Try to get to know someone for long enough that the rose-tinted glasses come off. 

Introduce this person to your family and friends. Allow them to see how you interact so that they can get a sense of who your date is. They may be able to see something that you can't, and this goes both ways. They might see that your date isn't good enough for you, or they might see how crazy your date is about you. Your family and friends typically want what is best for you. Keep in mind that they may be biased and tell you when they think something is up, even if they misinterpret the situation. Even if your family or friends are wrong about what they see, continue to go into any relationship with eyes wide open – it can be important to determine if this is the type of person you want in your life, even in the relatively short term.

Getty/MoMo Productions

Ask a lot of questions

One of the most effective ways to get to know someone is by asking them a lot of questions. There are many lists available online with suggestions on the kinds of questions you can and should ask your date. These are questions like “what is your dream job?” A lot of these lists have silly questions that can seem innocuous or unnecessary, but even the most surface level questions can tell you a lot about a person, and they can be just one way to progress beyond small talk; while you might want to jump to the deep questions right away, it can be just as valuable to talk about something relatively banal, like where their favorite place to vacation is, what their best piece of advice is, or what their ideal date looks like.

Additionally, try to be willing to ask follow-up questions according to what your date says. Not only can it make you seem friendly and present in the conversation, but it can also help you to learn more about your date beyond shallow anecdotes. The more open you are in conversation, the more you can get to know them.

Questions can be an efficient way to figure out compatibility, as well. If your date answers a question in a way similar to how you would, it could be a sign that you two could get along well. However, if the answer to a question sends up a red flag, you might want to evaluate how important the issue is. Sometimes successful relationships are born because two people push each other to be better with their differences. If your beliefs, your values, and your lifestyle don't match well, though, it can be hard to maintain a relationship.

Give it time

There is a difference between dating and being in a relationship. If you've been going on dates for some time and you feel like you're ready to take your relationship to the next level, it could be an appropriate time to start a conversation about it. Defining the relationship can be important to avoid hurt feelings or unmet needs and expectations. Every relationship can run on a different timeline. Three months might mean a lot of dating time, but it also could mean that you've only been on a couple of dates, depending on interest and availability. Since there's no specific timeline, use your judgment and follow where your head and heart lead.

Dating and getting to know someone new can be a challenge

Figure out what you want

As you are getting to know someone, it can be important to know what you want out of a relationship. Think about what kinds of things are relationship deal breakers, and what your must-haves are. If you are religious or spiritual, do you need to be with someone of the same faith? If you are a runner or love exercise, is it important that your partner loves to exercise too? These are questions that only you can answer for yourself, and often the answer comes from trial and error. You might think you can handle some differences with a partner, only for the relationship not to work out. Or you could think something is a deal-breaker only to fall in love with someone who has the deal-breaker and find it’s not as big of a deal you as you once thought. Spend some time looking inward and thinking about what you want out of a relationship; and not just what you want right now, but what you want for the long term. What kind of partner could you see yourself going the distance with? Of course, not everyone wants a long-term relationship, and that’s acceptable and natural as well. 

Dating can feel like a full-time job at times. When you're looking for a partner, you must open up your schedule to searching for people online or going out to places where you might meet someone. You must go on dates, open up about yourself, and evaluate if you want to spend more time with them. Sometimes dates go well, and sometimes they don’t. This is all part of the process of finding what you want in a partner and out of life. 

Online counseling with Regain

The dating process can look different for everyone and bring various stressors depending on the individuals involved. Coping with new and difficult emotions can be challenging, and sometimes it can be helpful to have someone to confide in about how you’re feeling. Regain allows you to get connected with an online therapist who specializes in the area you’re needing help with. Whether it’s dating, a toxic relationship, or infidelity, you can get support and mental health care during your most dire moments and from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. 

The efficacy of online counseling 

Online counseling has been shown to be an effective treatment option for those experiencing a variety of mental health concerns. Entering the dating scene may mean experiencing emotions like anxiety as well as sensations like racing thoughts, tension, and sweaty palms. This can be especially true for those with social anxiety disorder. In one study, researchers found that internet-delivered cognitive therapy improved symptoms of social anxiety in those participating in the intervention. These results were on par with face-to-face interventions for the same concerns. 

Counselor reviews

“Sarah has been comforting to me through a very difficult transition. She has helped me to regain confidence and listen to my intuition. She is a great listener and has encouraged me to rediscover and use my voice.”

“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”


Everyone enters into the dating scene for different reasons. For many people, the dating process is a way to assess one’s compatibility with different types of people for a longer-term relationship. Every relationship moves at different speeds, and it can take more or less time than it might take others to get to know someone new. The important part can be being on the same page with the other person you’re dating. Navigating dating and relationships can be challenging, but online counseling can provide advice and support through the process of finding someone you connect with.

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