There are many ways to meet people in the world nowadays, but online dating is certainly becoming the most popular way to do so. The practice of searching for either a romantic relationship or casual sexual partner on the internet can be exciting, nerve-racking, fun, annoying, confusing, or more than likely all the above depending on your mindset and preparation. But either way online dating is simply a tool or system that help individuals introduce themselves to others over the internet, typically with a goal of developing a personal connection.
With online dating it’s important to know what you are looking for, what exactly your intent is going to be and how you will go about it. I have met many people who are currently using online dating and others who are still at this point, completely against it. I believe that in order to be successful with finding a match for yourself when it comes to online dating you have to first do a self-assessment and make a love list, that way you can comprehend exactly what you are looking for when you start to read through all the profiles. The whole process can be quite overwhelming but not as much so if you start off prepared. Being prepared will enable you to weed through the garden of people more efficiently.
Nobody can really gauge how dangerous online dating can be. Staying mindful through each conversation and connection is important. I have heard horror stories of people being cat fished, coming across or interacting with completely fake profiles, or showing up to dates and the person doesn’t even look like the person on the profile they were expecting. Sexual predators also frequent these sites to lure vulnerable individuals especially woman into meeting alone or into sharing personal information with bad intent. When in doubt trust your instincts, never have a first-time date pick you up at your home or work, and never give out personal information including racy photos that could put you at risk of becoming a victim.
Aim high! Use the love list you have created and don’t settle for less, or it will only create problems down the road.
Keep things brief, choosing to respond in short messages and save the longer conversations for when you meet in person. No one needs to read your whole life story through texts. Another reason to keep the texting or initial messaging to a minimum is because emotions get lost in the process. Its hard to pick up on subtle sense of humor and tone just by reading something.
Be patient, you’re going to have to get used to a lot of small talk, and a lot of repeating yourself. However, by asking the right amount of questions on your end, it should help move everything along smoother. In other words, know what you want and what you don’t want.
Statistics show that online dating has five different stages.
1. Hopefulness- with each new conversation and “like” you will feel a sense of excitement and hope that this person could become someone important to you. Everyone loves sparks flying, and butterflies in the stomach type of feelings.
2. Disgust- after a few daunting days of being online you may begin to question yourself. “What’s the point”? You’re swiping left and right and reading all these tiny bios and looking at photos until they start to blend together. Not to mention the dreaded group photo for a profile picture…Like how in the world are you supposed to know which one is the actual person? Then come the generic messages, “hey, you’re absolutely gorgeous”, “how’s your day beautiful?”, etc. These comments typically last until one party gets bored and they move on. All this interaction can feel exhausting and you might be tempted to throw in the towel and delete your whole account all together. This is when you should take a step back and refer to your love list, so you can have a better gauge of what your tolerance is.
3. New ways of the world- like I mentioned in the beginning, online dating is becoming “the way” to meeting new people. Eventually you will give in to the fact that realistically, you might find your person online rather than at the grocery store or bar. Once you realize this, start doing some self-reflecting, stay positive, and jump back into it. I mean, how will you ever meet someone if you quit?
4. Redemption- as it turns out, one day you will have a worthwhile refreshing conversation with someone that sparks your interest, that along with your shiny new attitude you will change your outlook and decide that you are ready to move the conversations from offline to an actual date. First dates especially are an opportunity to feel each other out and see if that physical chemistry is there. Remember that not every single person you encounter will be the one for you, so take your time and most importantly be yourself, always.
5. Deactivation- there are a lot of great relationships that start via online dating. The day you get to happily delete your account; you will know that you have achieved something that many strive to do. Although the process may be lack luster along the way, everyone’s story is different, your happily ever after just might stem from an online dating fairy tale.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Make sure you bio does you justice! One of the most absolute musts: be your own agent when you write your bio! Yes, who knows you and what you want better that yourself? Sometimes we tend to be light on details that might really separate you from the rest of the fish out there. So as weird as it sounds, be your own agent when you are writing your bio. Toot your own horn just a little bit. Half written or incomplete bio’s will get you back half written and incomplete responses.
- Make sure your profile pics are accurate! They are going to find out one way or another, so put up accurate pics. Putting up old, yet flattering pictures, just gets things started off poorly. Also, I don’t recommend putting up pics with your kids. Yes, of course you should state you have kids, but anyone can grab a pic off the internet. Also, yes you might like food, a lot. However, don’t have just pictures with you and food, shake it up a bit. Finally, unless you’re looking for straight hook ups, then no bikini pics or revealing pics. Save it for someone who’s worth it.
- Let it simmer! Yes, you may be super excited because you think Mr. or Ms. Right just landed in your inbox. But let it simmer. If they respond to you, don’t respond right away, give it a little time. You certainly don’t want to come off as desperate.
- More talky talky, no stalky stalky! In today’s times, you can find out essentially everything you need or want to know about a person in a matter of minutes. Don’t do it though. Resist the urge to google them, or put them through a social media strainer for now. If you want to know about them, ask, don’t stalk. Nothing could be more creepy than when a person says, “By the way I love dogs,” and your response is, “Oh, I saw you have two and they are so cute.” Um, little creepy there.
- Meet at a place you choose. I can’t stress this one enough. For the first outing, don’t try something new or a place you haven’t gone before. You pick the place where you feel comfortable. Remember, you haven’t even met the person yet.
- Don’t talk about past relationships for a bit. Most of the time when people talk about their ex’s, it ends up being a downer. You want to get to know this person, but save the deeper conversations for later, when you know this he/she is worth you sharing extra personal details about yourself with.
- Pay your own way. Yes, it’s nice for a man, or woman, to offer to pay, but on the first date, always insist on paying your own way. By paying your own way, you set aside feeling obligated or even expectations at the end of the date.
- Be picky and patient. There are millions of people just like you, looking online for someone just like you. So hang back, be patient and picky. It might very well be that your future husband, wife or hookup isn’t online, but, there are a lot of people that are. So take your time. Don’t feel pressure to go out with someone because they are the only person that hit you up. Just wait it out.
- Be careful, be smart. We all have heard of a horror story or two (or three) about online dating. I personally know of a few couples that are together through online dating services. Unfortunately, I know of way more drama stories. So be careful what you share and whom you share it with.
- Remember it’s all about you! At the end of the day, this is all about you. If you get a lot of attention, that’s great, but don’t lose yourself over it. If you don’t get much attention at all, that’s fine also, maybe online dating isn’t for you. It’s not for everyone. So you do what you feel comfortable with, and always stay in your comfort zone.
Things to remember – Everything will be ok.
This is just online dating. Online dating can be a great and efficient way to connect with people, especially as an introduction but at the end of the day, nothing beats good ole fashion personal contact. There is someone for everyone, so stay confident and be loyal to your true authentic self. Take your safety seriously but not much else until someone really, really deserves it. Developing a connection takes time, it surely doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, because, if it is real and it’s right, everything will be ok.
We hope this helped. If you have additional questions or other ideas on how to tackle this subject, please leave your feedback below.