Get off your phone and into a relationship!

In the era of Tinder, OkCupid and Grindr, dating sites and apps have become more popular than ever. They’re a great way to meet people for dates, adventures and sex. While it’s great to have even more ways to meet guys, sometimes it’s hard to find what you’re looking for online.

We’ve probably all had this experience. You write to someone you think is cute on the site, and you begin to chat. You go back and forth—maybe even moving to text. But for one reason or another, a date never materializes. He never asks you out, isn’t interested in meeting up with you, or flakes out and never shows up for something you do schedule.

If you’re looking to chat, have casual encounters—that’s absolutely okay. But many people are looking for a relationship, but can never quite get past the screen-to-screen interaction.

There could be a lot of reasons why this is happening. Maybe the other person is too busy to date. Or maybe he prefers the excitement and instant gratification of online interactions more than the complicated situations that can arise when meeting someone face-to-face. In any case, if you’re truly interested in developing meaningful relationships, it might be better to meet people in-person.

How do you make this happen?

When you write to someone online, as soon as you know you could be interested in them, tell them you’d love to meet. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that things fizzle out.

Propose a date. Make it something easy, that can be short if you (or the other person) decide right away that you’re not compatible. Grab coffee or tea. Pick a place ahead of time where you’ll be able to hear each other speak. In other words, a dark bar with loud music might not be the right place to meet if you actually want to try to hold a good conversation.

Let the other person know you’re ready, and prefer, to meet face-to-face. Focus on getting the in-person meet-up to actually happen. If they keep making excuses, this might be an important clue about their level of interest in developing a relationship and how they would act if they were in a relationship.

Be ready to move on. If someone’s being flaky, don’t dwell on it. Focus on finding someone who’s ready to meet and get to know you!

This post was adapted from a video by Brendan Neff-Hall, San Francisco-based relationship and couples counselor.