How do couples move from online dating to that all-important first date?
Sharabi and Caughlin (2017) set out to investigate the question of what predicts first date success in their recent work.
They surveyed 186 participants who were using online dating, and had at least one person they were thinking of meeting in person.
Likewise, there was no point at which having less uncertainty about the other person became a negative.
The more someone knew—the better and the more they had asked about the other person ("information seeking")—the more likely the first date was to be successful, presumably because doing so reduced uncertainty.
For this study, the researchers measured 1) "anticipated future interaction", 2) "change in attraction" (from online dating to after the first date), 3) "perceived similarity" (a well-known predictor of attraction), and 4) "uncertainty" (about the other person, e.g. Furthermore, first date success was predicted by perceived similarity, expressed similarity, lower uncertainty, and greater information seeking.
Importantly, all other factors being equal, greater communication overall, and greater disclosure, predicted first date success.
There was no point at which there was too much similarity, at least right after the first date.
Further research is required to see if and when this more-is-better finding carries out over the long run.
Many times, that first meeting is a letdown, and it doesn't go further than that.
Having greater communication prior to meeting, asking for more information, having the other person honestly provide it, and finding there is solid similarity before that first date make it more likely to be successful, at least in the short run.
Of that first group, 94 participants had a first date, and completed the full survey, which included measures drawn from the literature on relationships and online dating. In addition, they collected the emails study participants sent prior to meeting and carefully coded the content into thematic units.