How To Keep Things Going Over The Holidays With Someone You Swiped On & Haven't Met With Yet

All right, it's mid-December. You've spent all of cuffing season furiously swiping through dating apps, chatting with duds, and nodding-and-smiling your way through sub-par date nights. And then, you matched with the person you're pretty sure is your soulmate. They're gorgeous, charming, and haven't propositioned you for nudes at all. The only problem? You're heading out of town in a few days, and have no idea how to keep a conversation going over the holidays with someone you haven't met yet.

Same, girl. Same.

Though, I think we tend to forget that we're all in the same boat here (both you and bae). Holidays are earmarked for family dinners and gift exchanges with friends — so, if you're both heading back to your hometowns, the odds that your match will forget your existence or meet someone new are slim-to-none. (Unless they reconnect with their high school sweetheart. In which case, you don't want to stand in the way of their Jess-and-Rory romance, do you?)

Then again, it can be difficult to keep that banter going and the spark alive if you've never actually met someone IRL. Really, how do you keep your new flame burning from afar and ensure you guys actually get a chance to meet up when you're back in town?

It was a mystery to me, too. So I chatted with a couple of dating experts to find out exactly how to maintain your match's interest while staying cool, calm, and collected in a chat.

Here are their top three tips.

Set a date in advance.

If you definitely want to make sure you can meet up with your match once you're back from the break, set a date ahead of time.

"I'm definitely a firm believer in meeting over messaging — you're not looking for a pen pal!" says dating expert Meredith Golden. "However, if the holidays are forcing you to put off an in-person meeting, try at least putting a date on the calendar now for when you're both back in the same city. People usually honor a commitment once it's made. You can say, 'I'm traveling and swamped for the next two weeks but I’d love to meet when I get back. What’s your schedule the week of [whenever you return]?'"

Easy as pie.

Be responsive, but not super chatty.

OK, let's say you've got the date set. Now, how do you keep the conversation a alive without seeming overbearing?

Treat texting like you would any other conversation — if someone doesn't seem like chatting, lay low and give them space. But if they've been asking questions or sending you messages, obviously don't ignore them, either!

"If your match is initiating communication and you’re responding, it’s clear there’s some level of interest on your part," says Golden. "There’s no need to do anything other than be responsive, and enjoy the process of being courted."

You know what they say: everyone loves the chase.

At the same time, don't panic if you're not getting lightning-fast responses from your match. "We are all so busy on our phones, opening up tons of apps at once and getting easily distracted with other notifications," says Laurie Davis, founder of eFlirt. "If you don't hear back in one day on an app... go ahead and send a follow up. Keep it casual, more like a check-in, and don't call them out for not replying."

We've all got a ton on our plates during the holidays, both literally and figuratively (stuffing, anyone?), so feel free to let that person know you're thinking of them, but don't try to maintain 24/7 communication. Oh, and be careful not to accidentally send them the 17 pictures of your nephew you'd meant to send to your girlfriends in a group chat (speaking from personal experience on that one).

Don't fall in love just yet.

Now that you've got a date in the books and a convo going, remember, you don't really know this person yet, so don't start Photoshopping them into your family Christmas card. I've made the mistake of falling hard for guys via text, but it's impossible to tell how much chemistry you've really got until you meet a person IRL.

"Since you haven't met yet, the pull to you isn't as strong as it will be after because you have only had verbal communication," says Davis. "Nonverbal [communication] (like flirting, body language, touch, etc.) is what really connects us romantically."

Keep things casual, have a great holiday, and just trust that this dating app cutie will be waiting under the mistletoe when you're back in town. Why wouldn't they? You're a catch.

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