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Online Dating 101: Guided Communication

Step 3: Guided Communication

Guided Communication is the process of getting to know your eHarmony matches better. From reading and assessing a match’s profile to sending and answering the questions that are important to you, each step along the way in the Guided Communication process is designed to help you evaluate whether you would like to continue getting to know your match in a safe and anonymous environment.

Here are the four steps that have proven to be helpful and effective in helping our members find the best person for them from among the group of already deeply compatible people they are matched with:

Step 1: Read Your Match’s "About Me" Information

When you first receive a match from eHarmony, the first step is to assess whether you have any interest in finding out more about your match by reading through their "About Me" page. Consider each match seriously—we all know the Internet is all about skimming through pages quickly, but when it comes to finding someone truly great to spend your time with, it’s important to give each person the careful consideration that you hope your matches will bring to you. Each one of your matches has been selected for you for many reasons—29, in fact (see 29 Dimensions of Compatibility)—so each match is already a deeply compatible combination.

There may be a few bits of information that you like about a match’s About Me& profile and lots that you’re not sure about, and that’s okay. No matter how expressive a person might be, it’s impossible to know everything about someone from their profile. And sometimes really great people have a more challenging time describing who they are. And over time, perhaps some of your match profiles begin to look the same, which is simply not the case—each person is special and unique; the only thing they share in common is their compatibility with you! For all of these reasons, the next step of Guided Communication, Sending 1st Questions, is important.

Feeling a little apprehensive about initiating communication?

Get Dr. Warren’s advice on Who Makes the First Move.

Step 2: Send 1st Questions

Sending a round of five easy-to-answer, but informative questions to ask your match is a great way to get to know your matches. Select the questions whose answers might give you insight on what your match thinks or how they would act in a certain situation to help you better gauge how this match might interact with you. Once your match replies to you, you will see their answers and will then be able to answer five questions that they have selected for you to help them get a better sense of who you are.

Need help choosing your Top 10?
Get it here.

Step 3: Exchange 10 "Must Haves" and 10 "Can’t Stands"

The next step of Guided Communication is sending your list of "Can’t Stands" and "Must Haves" and reading your match’s. Simply put, Must Haves and Can’t Stands are your deal makers and breakers in a relationship. There are many to choose from; select those that particularly resonate with you. You can always modify any of your selections at any time by visiting your About Me tab once logged in.

Must Haves are qualities in a mate that you absolutely must have in a relationship with someone to be happy. Here are some examples:

  • Chemistry—I must feel deeply in love and attracted to my partner.
  • Communicator—I must have someone who is good at talking and listening.
  • Wit—I must have someone who is sharp and will keep me on my toes.

Can’t Stands are qualities in a mate that drive you absolutely nuts—in a bad way. For example,

  • Rude—I can’t stand someone who is belittling or hateful to people.
  • Grudges—I can’t stand someone who has a chip on their shoulder.
  • Materialistic—I can’t stand someone who sees material items as a measure of success.

Step 4: Send 2nd Questions

The final step of eHarmony’s anonymous, Guided Communication is the exchange of three open-ended questions that allow for more thorough, detailed answers that reveal your and your matches inner thoughts, feelings and values. You can create your own questions or you can select from a list of great insight-provoking questions that we provide—it’s all up to you.

Reader Q&A: Open Communication timing

How long does it take, on average, for matches to respond while in Open Communication?

Open Communication

Once you’ve made it through Step 4 of the Guided Communications process, you’re now in what’s known as "Open Communication," a safe, easy and anonymous way to continue communicating with your matches. Sending messages in Open Communication helps you to decide whether you want to keep pursuing the relationship. If so, Open Communication will prepare you for that important first phone call with your match and/or your first date with them.

Be sure to take note of Dr. Warren’s special message as you begin Open Communication with any of your matches. And if you’d like to read it again, no problem—it’s always available to read once you’ve reached Open Communication by clicking its link on the left navigation bar in the area that shows your communication history with that particular match. In Dr. Warren’s message, you’ll get important safety tips and advice on how to best proceed.

What if I don’t want to go through all of the Guided Communication steps?

A small percentage of our members prefer to skip through the Guided Communication steps directly into Open Communication with a match. Should you wish to, you can request "FastTrack" communication with any match instead of sending a first set of questions.

By clicking on the FastTrack button your match will receive an offer to meet you in Open Communication. This offer and your first Open message are sent immediately. If the match accepts, you are on your way. If your match prefers to stay with the paced, guided communication, you will receive a reply letting you know and you can continue with the guided process.

Remember, though, that not every match will be as eager as you are, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested or wouldn’t be great to get to know and meet in person. People communicate along the timeline that they feel most comfortable with, and many people appreciate having taken the time to explore their matches more thoroughly. There can be a certain comfort in that. But who knows, if you want to FastTrack and your match responds favorably, great! But if not, don’t close your match out immediately on the basis of this decision alone. Get to know them. That’s what the Guided Communications process is for.