The fifth stage of the online dating process involves talking to potential partners.
(That said, once connection is established, someone who specifies rigid time slots outside of which they are unobtainable may have something to hide.) For the first call in particular, prepare by looking over your potential partner’s profile and your email exchanges and preparing a few starter questions to get the conversation going. One thing to remember with phone calls is that, unlike emails, there is no record of what was said.
Strike a balance between what you’re going to talk about and what you’re going to ask about – there needs to be an equal flow of question and answer, of speaking and listening. If your memory is not good, or you are talking with more than one ‘front-runner’, it can be helpful to jot down some notes.
If there is a serious imbalance, it may mean a potential partner is simply nervous, or it may be a foretaste of how a relationship with them might be. As always, notice not only what the two of you are talking about, but how you relate to each other. Did one person seem uninterested or bored, self-centred or reticent? This helps to avoid the embarrassment of getting different people muddled up. If the answer is yes, then you will probably want to talk with them again.
Some people also find it a useful aide-memoir, after each conversation, to rate their interest in the other person on a 10-point scale. Helpful hint: if the phone call doesn’t go well, then however good the emails have been, it’s unlikely there’s a future in your relationship.
After emailing for a while, the next stage is to talk.