Online dating sure isn’t what it used to be. The past stigmas attached to online dating are gone, and today it’s the new ‘normal’ way to meet people. I’ve had a lot of friends meet significant others and even their current spouses online. Heck – I even met my current boyfriend online after many months of searching. I did the online dating thing for awhile, and it can certainly be intimidating at first. After awhile, I found it helpful to keep the following things in mind:
Don’t take it too seriously. One of my all-time favorite movie quotes is, “Desperation is a stinky cologne”. It’s definitely easy to get caught up in the excitement surrounding the possibility of meeting someone new, especially if you’ve been single for awhile and feel destined for a life of loneliness. Getting too excited or taking the process too seriously, however, will usually work against you. People are attracted to confidence and independence, and can smell desperation a mile away. Take your time getting to know someone and keep your options open until you get to know them better. Don’t be too available. Don’t feel upset or rejected if a potential date can’t or doesn’t want to meet with you right away. Keep it cool and good things will happen!
Have a friend proofread your profile. It’s difficult to be impartial when reading your own story, so have a friend look it over. I read a friend’s profile after she had been online dating for awhile and had hardly received any messages. She is an attractive, successful divorcee so I couldn’t imagine her having trouble getting dates – until I saw her profile. She talked a LOT about her divorce and some of the negatives that went along with it. Most people assume that a potential date may come with a certain amount of baggage, especially the older you get. By explaining her baggage in great detail on her profile, men got to know that side of her before they knew about all of her other awesome qualities – and they stayed away. Keep your profile upbeat and light, while still honestly giving the details about yourself. Nobody wants to date a Debbie Downer.
Don’t give it all away at first. It can be tempting to share your entire life story when you start talking to someone you click with online, but keep in mind: you haven’t even met this person yet! There are two reasons to hold back on the information sharing a bit. First, it always helps to leave things to discuss on future dates. The first few in-person dates should be the getting-to-know-you phase. Second, if things don’t work out, you decide you’re not interested, or this person gives you the creeps – they now know an awful lot about you! And I shouldn’t have to say this, but the same goes for the physical side of things. I’ve had friends jump into bed with a guy they met online on their first date. Fine if you’re looking for a one-night stand, but most of the time this won’t bode well for a long-term relationship.
Be safe. If someone’s questions or personality makes you uncomfortable, don’t worry about being rude. I had a couple guys who wanted to meet in person after just looking at my profile and not even talking to me. One gentleman even got angry and argumentative when I told him I wasn’t quite ready to meet him in person. Big red flags! When you do agree to meet someone, make sure you know the basics of safety: meet them in a public place and don’t let them know where you live. Which brings me to our next point…
Do your research. My half-joking motto when I was online dating was to initially treat everyone as if they could be a serial killer. Put more lightly, make sure you get to know and trust someone before giving out our personal information. I usually did a thorough Google search on most men I went on dates with to see if there was anything unsavory in their background that was public knowledge (such as arrests). I even did a background search on one gentleman I dated longer-term. Crazy? Maybe. But it gave me a lot of peace of mind that I knew more about who I was trusting my time and personal details to. I’m not saying that everyone should do a background check, but I would always suggest searching the web and any social media for info, good or bad. Did you want to date a guy who has pictures with a million different girls on his Facebook? Didn’t think so.
Trust your gut. Although someone may look great on paper, if something seems fishy, it probably is. One thing to keep in mind is that many people do embellish a bit on their profiles, whether it’s their salary, the amount they work out, or their hobbies. Everyone wants to stand out, sound interesting, and be worthy of someone’s attention. If you meet someone who is sweet and generous but he just doesn’t seem to like Coldplay as much as he said in his profile, don’t sweat it. If someone’s story seems too good to be true, or the facts really aren’t adding up, cut them loose.