How Long Does It Take To Get To Know Someone When You First Start Dating?
As human beings, we like to know the timing of things. We want to know what age we'll be when we get married, how long it will take to find a job, what time we'll finally feel like we've grown up.
But the truth is that timing is so subjective. This is especially true when it comes to relationships. Getting to know someone 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, or feel as though they might be your best friend. One of the easiest ways to actually know your friends more is to ask them getting to know you questions that are intentional and open-ended.
Every person is different. Every relationship is different. It's more important to focus on how you will get to know someone than 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 relationship is declared formal is irrelevant, since when you are passionate about something, time period in dating does not matter.
When Meeting Online
You start 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, aren't going to beat around the bush when it comes to finding a relevant match. This type of couple will be more open and honest and want to spend a lot of time together to determine if they are a good match. And if you use a site where you have to pay for matches, you might be more intentional about meeting someone who is a good match, and not just looking for a good time.
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 will also depend on how busy you are, how often you want to see them, and how interested you are and attracted you are to them. If you want to spend a lot of time with this person, you will do everything you can to get together. But maybe you are super busy and can only get together once a week. Going on four dates in a month isn't a lot. How much can you get to know someone when you don’t often spend time with them?
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, then leave things on the first date. But if you decide you are interested in this person and want to get to know them better, do what you can to make more dates happen. The more time you spend together, the better you will 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.
Make Sure You Really Pay 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 loads of other deal-breakers that would make you want out of a relationship. You should 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 want what is best for you. They probably will be biased and tell you when they think something is up, even if they misinterpret the situation. But even if your family or friends are wrong about what they see, make sure you go into any relationship with eyes wide open -- it’s important to determine if this is the type of person you want in your life, even in the relatively short term.
Ask A Lot Of Questions
The perfect way to get to know someone to ask them a lot of questions. There are so many lists available online with suggestions on the kinds of questions you should ask your date. These are questions like what is your dream job? A lot of those lists will have silly questions that seem innocuous or unnecessary, but even the most surface level questions can tell you a lot about a person, and they can be a good 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, be willing to ask follow up questions to what your date says. Not only does it make you seem friendly and present in the conversation, it can really help you to learn more about your date beyond shallow anecdotes. The more open you are in conversation, the more you will get to know them.
Questions are a good way to figure out compatibility, as well. If your date answers a question in a way similar to how you would, great! But if the answer to a question sends up a red flag, you might want to evaluate how important the issue is. Opposites can attract, and sometimes great relationships are born because two people push each other to be better with their differences.
However, be forewarned -- there is such a thing as too different. If your beliefs, your values, and your lifestyle don't match well, it's 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 about 2-3 months and you feel like you're ready to take your relationship to the next level, that is an appropriate time to start a conversation about it. However, this is just a general rule of thumb. 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. You could have this talk sooner or later in your dating relationship, and it's perfectly okay. Because there's no specific timeline, use your judgment and follow where your heard and head lead.
Figure Out What You Want
As you are getting to know someone, it's important to know what you want out of a relationship. You have to know what kinds of things are relationship deal breakers, and what kinds of things are must-haves. 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 total deal-breaker only to fall in love with someone who has the deal-breaker, and it's not a big deal. Spend some time looking inward and thinking about what you want out of a relationship. And not just want you to want right now, but what you will want for the long term. What kind of partner could you see yourself going the distance with?
Dating can feel like a full-time job at times. When you're looking for a partner, you have to open up your schedule to searching for people online or going out to places where you might meet someone. You have to 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 end in disaster. It's easy to get discouraged, but remember that there is always hope.
If you have questions about relationships and dating and need someone to talk to, consider using ReGain, an online therapy platform that will connect you with a therapist through chat, video, and phone call sessions. To get started, please go to https://www.regain.us/start today.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How do you get to know a person?
While we all have different (and often highly variable) stories of how we met our best friends, significant others, or anyone else that occupies a significant place in our lives, how we actually got to know them remained constant: we spent a significant deal of meaningful time with them.
Most intimate bonds take time to develop. These relationships are not so much about sheer proximity -- after all, you might have friends that you’ve known since you were born who don’t know you as well as, say, your spouse, who you might have only known for a few years -- but also about active and earnest attempts to get to know them. It’s a process that involves gradually earning someone’s trust by showing real interest in their life in addition to proving that you deserve to know that information in some way.
If you want to get to know someone in your life better, such as a coworker or acquaintance, consider making consistent but low-stakes efforts to spend time with them in a casual setting. Ask them questions about their life and their opinions and be interested in what they have to say. Be patient, however, with how your friendship progresses -- some information you can and should only be privy to once you’ve demonstrated that you are a trustworthy, non-judgmental, or like-minded person; you may have to start with small talk to lay a foundation for a real friendship, as barreling ahead without a basic sense of who you’re talking to can be somewhat invasive. Additionally, some people are particularly guarded about their personal lives, and it may take a significant deal of time to develop a level of comfortability and vulnerability that can lead to real intimacy.
What are some good questions to get to know someone?
There are any number of fun, cute little lists online of good icebreaker questions, but here’s a compilation of some of the hits (ranging in level of intimacy, depending on if you want “small talk” or “deep conversations”):
- What’s your favorite color?
- What’s your favorite TV show?
- What’s your favorite musical group or artist?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What are some of your guilty pleasures?
- What’s your biggest irrational fear?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
- What’s your favorite holiday?
- What’s your favorite place in the whole world?
- Who’s your favorite fictional character?
- Do you have any recurring dreams?
- Do you actually have a bucket list, and if so, what’s on your bucket list?
- If you had the opportunity to be immortal, would you take it?
- What’s your favorite type of pet?
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
- What’s the best pizza topping?
- What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
- Would you rather give a gift or receive a gift?
- Is it ever okay to re-give a gift?
- What’s the best piece of art or project you’ve ever created and maintained?
- What was the most embarrassing moment of your life?
How long does it take to get to know someone?
While it may feel like a cop-out answer, the truth is that there is no static timeline for when you will progress from “well acquainted” to “emotionally intimate” -- some people are simply more guarded with who they are, and may take a while to reveal themselves. Even people who are relatively open books will not make everything about themselves readily apparent. Additionally, time spent together in professional or large group settings may breed less intimacy than casual or one-on-one conversations.
However, it’s probably safe to say that you know someone decently well if you have spent a consistent amount of time together for, say, six months or a year.
What should I ask in 20 questions?
If you’re playing 20 questions in an attempt to simply have fun, ask questions that are playfully controversial, or ones that might spark a conversation. It can be fun to learn that the two of you disagree on something like the best genre of movie, or to see if you’ve both been to each others’ favorite National Park. If you’re playing in order to be vulnerable with someone else, assuming the two of each other know each other well, consider asking some deeper questions that make both of you pause to think -- you may even find yourself questioning some of your preconceived notions about the world.
What is a deep question?
Deep questions are the kinds of questions that might force an individual to think about or confront the sorts of things that we don’t have the time or emotional energy to talk about, and can help them or the other person realize where their priorities might lie. Additionally, the vulnerability involved in asking a deep question can require a level of trust and vulnerability that can strengthen bonds between individuals -- or, for people who already know each other well, it can prove the bond that you’ve created and maintained.
Some examples of deep questions might include asking the other person for their thoughts on philosophical quandaries (Do you believe in God? Can society function without laws?), to questions about love (Do you believe in soulmates?), to questions about moving or emotional aesthetic or personal experiences (Have you ever cried over a piece of art?).
What are personal questions?
Personal questions are questions about someone’s life or thoughts that might be somewhat vulnerable or intimate. They’re not the type of questions you should ask someone right off the bat, unless you sense that they are relatively open and that they might be okay with answering them -- otherwise, these sorts of questions can come off as invasive or prying. There are lots of things in many of our lives that aren’t necessarily secrets, but that we also wouldn’t go around telling strangers.
How long does it take for someone to show their true colors?
If someone is trying to put on a front, as they might early on in a relationship in order to impress their new partner or friend, it may start to falter after a few months together -- either because they have grown comfortable enough with the other person to realize that it’s not necessary, or because they have simply grown tired.
For many of us, however, our “truest” character traits may not be revealed unless we are put into situations that test us or make us uncomfortable. While it’s not totally fair to judge someone’s character for a mistake in a bad situation, they can also be significant reveals of character. Many of us operate every day with highly practiced behaviors and familiar thought patterns -- when we don’t have that to fall back on, we may show our real temperaments or personalities.
A good way to identify someone’s “true colors” is by paying close attention to their actions rather than their words. It is easy for someone to tell stories in which they appear as the hero, but it is much harder to live with bravery and empathy. This is why it is a good idea to spend time with a person, because you see him or her in a variety of situations. With time, you will see how this person reacts in stressful situations, moments of grief, moments of financial instability, moments of vulnerability, and moments of loss. This will give you a well-rounded idea of who this person is, not just at their greatest moments.
How do I keep a conversation going?
What do you say when a conversation is dry?
What is a cute question to ask a girl?