Survive Online Dating
Thanks to Web 2.0, finding dates online no longer carries any stigma. In fact, surfing for potential mates makes good sense, considering how much time we spend on the ‘net, and how much work we put into fine-tuning our online presence. Here’s how to maximize the experience.
Survey the scene: There are a lot of different dating sites, so consider which will best serve your needs. Certain sites cater specifically to particular ethnic groups, ages, or sexual orientations, while others focus largely on short-term hookups or matching single parents. Spend a while searching out the site that suits you best.
Face time: We’ve all been burned by bad relationships, but getting strict and school-marmish on your profile is a turnoff. Don’t mention the income level or past relationship history of your ideal mate—that’s a sure way to terrify people. Be playful, modest but honest, and let your real personality shine through. Use a picture taken in the last year, okay?
Size up the candidates: If you’re using dating sites just to find a little nookie, we’re not going to judge you, but that’s the only reason to ever message a guy who’s shirtless in his picture. Try not to get too distracted by photos or bad grammar, and home in on personalities. It’s fine to spend a few days—or a few weeks—just checking out the scene and fine-tuning your own profile. You can’t hurry love, remember?
Back and forth: After enough time cruising, you’ll want to actually interact with other dating site denizens. The usual way to start is via instant message on the actual dating site, then by email, or on a social networking site. Don’t make them a Facebook friend immediately, but sending messages should let you see their profile and how they interact with others in real life. This is a time to decide whether or not you like the sound of this person enough to have a drink or dinner. Try not to make declarations of love, or even sexual interest, without meeting up in person. Oh, and Google them, of course.
Thanks, but no thanks: If the online chat isn’t going well, do not arrange an in-person date out of guilt. That will only make things more complicated. Try and send a kind message saying you’re just not into it, but even fading away is better than meeting up with someone you already don’t like. That’s a bit unkind, and it will only get messy.
Face to face: Start off with a coffee date which is short, and in a public place. Although you know what movies and music this person likes, you don’t actually know them. Use the first date as a chance to see if you vibe, and don’t jump too fast into planning your baby names. At this point, it’s not online dating anymore, it’s real dating—it’s totally fair to ask questions about their family, friends and job. Don’t be hawkish, but if something seems fishy, don’t let it drop. If things go well, we’re happy for you, but please, still take it slow. Online dating might be a newfangled invention, but a broken heart still hurts.
Written by: Denise Balkissoon
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