How to Date Online
Just like regular dating, dating online has its own rules and ways to protect yourself from getting into a bad situation. As long as there has been online dating, there have been stories of things going bad. But like everything in life, if you take the right precautions, look for the red flags, you can avoid the bad and find the good.
After doing some research and deciding which site to sign up with I have to confess, I was a little scared. With my plan and safe guards in place I went on two dates before finding my soulmate and future husband.
Writing an Online Dating Profile
The first thing you do when you sign up on a dating site is you write your profile and answer some questions. Never lie on the questionnaires. Good relationships are based on trust, start any relationship off with the truth, even if you aren't certain that it will go anywhere.
When you are writing your profile, make sure that you inject your personality as best you can. Tell all who may see it what you are looking for in the other person. Which qualities do you value the most? What qualities or quirks do you have that the other person will need to respect? When I was writing mine, I spoke of how I loved to create things, enjoyed helping people and admired those who were different and unique. The main thing here is to be brief, but give a little and take a little. This sets the tone for the other person and lets them see more than just your picture.
Getting Matched and Reading Profiles
When dating online, you will be given suggestions, winks or nudges. Whenever this happens you are given a picture of the person and their profile. Read the profile first if you can, if you like what you read and it makes you smile, then look at the picture. Looks aren't everything people, but they do play a part. If you love the profile, but cannot see yourself growing to like that face, keep them in mind, but concentrate elsewhere. The picture I saw of my future husband was not the best. In fact it was more a picture of a bald head, a red wall and two eyes cut off at the bottom. I was ready to walk away because I thought he was hiding something, or didn't care enough to take a good picture. But the profile was calling to me, so I didn't disregard him.
Another thing to remember is that photos are fickle creatures. People sometimes look worse in pictures, also sometimes they look better. If you like the profile enough to be intrigued, go out on a date and see, if it doesn't work out, you at least have another bad online date story to tell people.
If a profile and picture seem too good to be true, that may be the case. The only way to find out is to talk to the other person. I suggest chatting using the dating site's services before giving out your phone number. Also don't ask for the other persons phone number too soon, this will make you seem pushy, desperate or both. Even if you are eager to meet the person, intensity is not the answer.
Don't be afraid to find your own people. The online dating sites send you suggestions, these aren't always a good fit. My future husband went searching on his own and found me, at first I was a little apprehensive, his picture was bad and he was older than I had wanted. But after I got talking with him, I realized that he was a better match than any of the guys they were sending me.
Once you initiate communication through the dating site's chat service, make sure that you ask questions. Find out more about them, and have the questions reflect who you are. When I first messaged my future husband, I asked him this question:
"Would you rather be bitten by a vampire, or scratched by a werewolf?"
This question served two purposes.
1. I know that I can be a little bizarre and silly at times, if a guy was going to let a strange question drive him away, then he and I would never work out.
2. Also if he did decide to answer it, how he did would say a lot about him. Would he give me a one word answer and then move on, which meant that he indulged me but didn't really want to. Or would be play along in my strange little scenario and have fun with it.
My husband answered," neither", they both sounded unpleasant to him. And then commented on how I was a strange creature, and I loved it.
After you send each other a few messages and you like what they are saying, talk to them on the phone. You know enough about them that you can find something to say, but talking over the phone can give you another layer of vetting before the date.
Sending messages can be easy for people, but if they can hold a conversation over the phone with you, that's a plus. Some things to look out for:
The smooth talkers: the ones who have an answer for everything, can talk themselves out of anything, and those who can convince you to do things you wouldn't normally do. Take for instance bowling, If you let them know that you hate bowling, that you cringe at the thought of bowling, and they are able to sweet talk you into going with flattery, watch out. They are the type who don't respect your feelings and opinions and will manipulate and sway you into doing what they want at all times.
The Yes Men: If you are having a conversation and you are talking about your likes and dislikes, and they agree on everything, this could be a bad sign. No two people are alike, so chances are they are just making it sound like you are a match made in heaven, when they are just trying to get you to feel comfortable with them. Food is a good topic to talk about to find out if they are a yes man. No two people have the exact same tastes, this doesn't mean asking "do you like Italian?" because this is a blanket question, ask about dishes and ingredients. Cilantro, nuts, coconut, raisins, and beets are all things that people seem to have strong opinions on.
The kidder: these are the ones who say rude or obscene things and then say "just kidding" just to see if they can get a rise out of you. Or they will recant their words because they saw or can feel how much you didn't like it. So either they like to stir up trouble, or are wish washy and will go along with whatever pleases the other person, neither is good.
When talking to a potential date, always be honest with what you think and how you feel. This way there is no confusion or illusion and you won't be wasting either persons time with a date. If someone you have been talking to doesn't want to go out on a date, take comfort in the fact that if they don't want you, then it wasn't the right fit.
Hold some imformation back. Just because you are being honest, doesn't mean that you need to tell them you whole life story and include your hopes and dreams. Go where the conversation flows, and if they ask something that seems too personal for you let them know that maybe you will tell them later on.
Dating Online for Real?
The First Date
When you both decide to go on your first date, have the man meet you somewhere. Not all men are creeps who shouldn't know where you live, but just in case they are. Also there are those guys online who are intense and believe that the two of you are destined to be together after the first date, even if you don't agree.
Meet him at a restaurant, coffee shop, or wherever sounds fun for both of you. Take things lightly, both of you are nervous so things might be awkward for a bit. Try and find a way to laugh at yourself and have fun. Don't take things too seriously and be relaxed. When I met my future husband at a restaurant I was running late. I felt horrible, but when I walked in he was waiting and he stood up, gave me a hug and then laughed.
When I asked him why he was laughing, he said "You have two arms". After we laughed a bit, I asked him why he was so surprised that I had two arms. He explained that a picture I had sent him, made it look like I only had one arm. He drove from another state to go out with a girl that he thought only had one arm. This broke the ice and started the date with laughter.
Don't Play Games
If you are dating online to find a serious relationship, be honest about that. Watch out for the signs that suggest all they want is to get you into bed, and don't be afraid to walk away if you see those signs. If you like them, show them. When they call you, you call back. If they text you, text back etc. Although playing games while dating is really popular, it can be manipulative and get old really quickly. Tell them upfront that you don't play games.
Don't talk about the other people you are dating. While dating online it's common that you have a few people you are talking to and possibly going out on dates with at the same time. Bringing that up is a recipe for disaster, because they will feel obligated to tell you about the girls that they are dating. Also you will start to think about the other girls and if he likes you more, or them more. This brings the possibility of jealousy, something that doesn't look good for anyone.
Make Sure You Have Time
If you are always busy with work and obligations and can only go out on a date maybe once a month, this can be a problem. If you find someone who you get along with, they may not stick around if they can never see you. Maybe hold off with the online dating since you will need to spend a lot of time reading profiles, sending messages and going on dates with guys.
Keep your guys straight. Usually you are talking with a few guys at a time, all with different jobs and likes. Some guys will be easy to keep straight. You will find that there will be one or two guys who you can see and remember their job, what they said they were up to. This is a sign that you like them. When two people have a connection, you hear them with ease and find yourself wondering what they are up to. Give your attention to these people.
When you set dates with guys, don't reschedule unless you absolutely have to. Do everything in your power to keep dates, this shows them that you are not flighty and unreliable. Be on time as much as you can and apologize when you are late. Let them know that you didn't want to be late but it was unavoidable, and make sure that it's true. Don't lie and give them a heads up if you can.
No matter how many dates you go through, wait for the one who you are comfortable with. If you keep seeing someone where your dates are work for you to get through, even if they are the hottest guy you have ever seen and they seem to like you, you are wasting both yours and his time. This is not a nice thing to do. Wait for the one who you can be more yourself around than most. When you are with a guy who you can show all your baggage, tell all your secrets and let your freak flag fly and not feel self conscious, it is refreshing. If they can feel the same when they are with you, watch out because you may have found the one.
Don't confuse passion with love. If there is a huge attraction between the two of you, sparks that fly and you just want to make out with each other, talking is overrated, this is passion. When you want to kiss him, talk with him and just cuddle with him. When he is the one you want to be there when you are sick, take care of when they are sick. If he is the first person you want to call when something happens, no matter how big or small, and he does the same, this could be love.
- Write a profile that reflects who you are and what you want.
- Read profiles first, then look at the picture.
- When sending messages, be honest and don't rush things.
- Be relaxed and laugh during the date, have fun and be honest.
- Don't play games - be honest.
- Give them your time - they may not stick around if you don't.
- Find someone you are comfortable with.
The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. People can only pretend for so long, and being who you are from the start can be refreshing for all involved. Be sure of yourself, if there is something about you that will turn them off, it will happen eventually so why not find out from the beginning?
Slartybartfast on July 11, 2019:
Hmm, reading the poll but no option for.
Paid for access and all the premium stuff to improve my chances, dieted and worked out every day to improve myself.
Spent hours creating a profile, sent many well thought out messages to women, got no response, lowered my already low standards and tried again until it destroyed what little self esteem I had left and I realized I was messaging women I wouldn't want to be with at all so I deleted the account and gave up on women altogether.
Larry Slawson from North Carolina on December 17, 2016:
Nice article! I actually met my wife online as well. It can definitely be a great way to meet people.