The prospect of joining an online dating site can be daunting, especially when online dating or dating in general is new to you. Don’t be intimidated by finding love online; be prepared! Below are five things everyone should know about online dating BEFORE you begin your search for love online. I call them online dating rules, but just like the days of the wild west, there really are no rules. Maybe they should be called ‘online dating truisms’? Either way, live and learn.
Online Dating Rule #1: The Site DOES Matter
The site(s) you choose to join does matter! Each site will potentially have different types of people possessing different relationship goals and it’s important to know this before you sign up for the site. Chapter six of my book, Memoirs of a Dating Dad will go into detail about the different types of sites, including specialty and “fringe” online dating sites and what to expect from each.
Online Dating Rule #2: People DO Misrepresent Themselves
I know it’s difficult to fathom that some people lie but it’s true. These lies can range in severity from over-exaggerations and twenty year old photographs to flat-out lies about their relationship status (you’d be surprised how many singles really aren’t). You should approach online dating no differently than you would if a stranger walked up to you in a bar and offered to buy you a drink. Don’t rush into anything. A healthy dose of skepticism combined with a balance of expectation and reality will not only help to ensure your safety but will also increase your chance of success!
Online Dating Rule #3: Different Places, Different Paces
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone has different lives outside of dating. Be patient and understanding that some people don’t check their online dating email every day and you may not receive a reply right away. I always recommend taking the high road when it comes to communicating online. If you aren’t receiving responses in the amount of time that you’d expect don’t “call them out” on it. You may be completely in the right, but calling them out only makes you look like an impatient jerk. Take it as a sign that they may not be that interested, they simply have a slower pace or that the timing just isn’t right and move on. You just never know who may come back around when the timing is better, but you’ll never know if you burn those bridges.
Online Dating Rule #4: Perfect on Paper Isn’t Always Perfect
I personally have met many (many) women that I’d like to call “Perfect on Paper” – they were intelligent and educated, had an established career, they had drive and personality and success…but they were missing the “it” factor for me. It’s important to understand that it’s ok to not be into someone for reasons that you can’t define. Chemistry can be something that’s there right away and it can also be something that takes some time to develop. In either case, if you’re not feeling the spark when you feel you should don’t drag things out. You deserve a match that deserves you! As always, a healthy dose of balance between expectation and reality is also key.
Online Dating Rule #5: Some People Won’t Respond
As previously mentioned, online dating is much more anonymous than meeting people in the real world. If you were approached by someone in public and they said “hi”, how would it look if you ignored them? It would not look very well! In fact, it’s pretty jerky. This standard does not apply to online dating. You should prepare yourself to not hear from potential matches that you reach out to. Try not to take this personally; it doesn’t mean that you’re undesirable it simply means they are not interested. I would also advise against calling people out in this area. Calling people out makes you look like a schmuck 100% of the time and will only provide you with temporary vindication. Besides, you never know how busy someone is, or if your paths will cross in some other way and burning bridges is rarely a good idea.
Photo: by Big Al via Flickr.