Dating is complicated enough on its own; when you add in the confusion of online dating sites, it can be just plain intimidating. But it’s easier––and more fun!––than you think. So, how do you go from logging on to finding your perfect match? There is a technique to navigating the virtual playing field. “I equate online dating to looking for a job,” says Julie Spira, cyber-dating expert. “You’d want a rock star résumé for your perfect dream job, and you should feel the same way about your online dating profile.” And the profile is just where it starts—we have plenty of expert tips, from sending the perfect first e-mail to picking your first date location.
Online dating is like one huge virtual social scene. When you physically go into a nightclub, you have the advantage of visually weeding out what is and what isn’t attractive to you. You meet people from the “outside in”, and if you have the opportunity to connect, you may get to know more about them.
In the virtual world, you meet people from the “inside out.” Communications are in the form of email and instant messaging, and you may choose to exchange phone numbers, at which time you’re able to assimilate a voice with the words you’ve exchanged. If there’s a connection, then you pick a place to meet.
The tricky part of online dating is getting to the meet-in-person stage. Seriously, if you wanted a pen pal, you would have joined a writer’s site, right? Here’s a little clue: if you’re only communicating via email and instant messaging, chances are pretty good that the person you’re communicating with isn’t really emotionally available (and possibly not even physically available).
Here are ten tips on how to make online dating work for you:
- Many people write out profiles of what they want to be, rather than who they actually are. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably false.
- If someone is reluctant to give you a phone number or ask for yours, move on to the next person. Now, it’s true that in an age of stalkers and whackos, that some won’t give out a phone number. Use your discretion. However, if you’re going to get off the computer and into a coffee shop, someone has to make a move.
Realize that you are not the only one with whom your potential date is communicating. Don’t get all squirrelly and run away if an email isn’t immediately returned.
If you notice that the person appears to be logged in most of the time because the “online” feature shows up, understand that most people don’t bother logging out, so it just looks like they are online 24/7. Don’t assume that they are constantly trolling the profiles.
Keep your expectations to a minimum. In other words, don’t expect to meet the love of your life, but do expect to expand your social circle and meet new friends.
Do not judge a person in the first two minutes of a face-to-face meeting. The computer provides a nice shield for those that are social illiterates. Without the buffer of a computer, many feel very vulnerable and exposed when they meet someone in “real life.” Understand that the initial meeting may be awkward for you both.
If someone continually makes plans to meet, then breaks it off at the last minute, don’t put any more effort into getting together. Face it – if a potential date can’t even commit to having a cup of coffee, how can this person commit to a relationship with you?
If communication is inconsistent after a few dates, your dating interest’s profile is still up and this person is active, realize that you aren’t “The One.” Don’t get mad and fire off a nasty-gram or feel rejected. It’s all part of dating. Graciously move on to the next one.
You may have to kiss a ton of toads to find one prince. It can get frustrating, but don’t let your frustrations make you cynical or lose hope.
Don’t feel that you need to reveal every detail of your life. Leave some mystery. Yes, you want to be honest and not play games, but it’s called a “dating game” for a reason and the reality is that there are certain rules that you need to apply.
There are probably a hundred other things that can be added to this list. The basics are simple – it’s a dating game whether it is online or otherwise. Have fun with it, and you’ll be amazed at what blossoms from within you.