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Rules for Online Dating Print
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 22:49

Rules for Online DatingNow that we’ve gotten all the technical stuff out of the way (from a quasi-technical standpoint, mind you) let’s talk about the nuts and bolts. Online dating has rules. And these aren’t necessarily the rules you’ll read in the user “tips” section of whatever site you choose. For research purposes (okay, and just for fun), I’ve created mini-biographies on a few of the most popular sites. So these rules are the ones I’ve learned along the way.

 1  If you feel creepy at first, don’t sweat it. As my mama always said, “This too shall pass.” It’s perfectly natural at first to feel like a mail-order bride seeking passage to the new world. But as I said before (referencing the first blog) when you carefully weigh out your options for meeting a potentially significant other, online dating sites offer a large pool of available decent men seeking the same; companionship, friendship, long-term relationship. So forgive yourself for hiding your profile a dozen times and deleting memberships the day after subscribing. Just log on again, surf away, and allow yourself to have fun.

 2  Be perfectly honest in the profile. Be yourself. If past relationships (and we all have those) have somewhat marked you in regard to how someone responds to the real you, get over it. There is someone who will “love” you just the way you are. And that’s essentially what we all seek and deserve.

 3  It’s okay to have someone edit your profile. The “best you” wouldn’t embark in something potentially life altering without consulting with a professional or at least a good friend. Hey… what can I say? This is how women process. So go ahead and allow a couple of your closest friends to proofread your “about me” and “about what I want” without altering the basic content. It will help you shape the what-I-meant-to-say part.

 4  Post profile pics that look most like you. Update them as often as you need. This is not the place for glamour shots or photos from your high school yearbook. Trust me, the best compliment you can receive from someone you meet is “Wow, you look so much better in person.” And, really, the converse would be somewhat embarrassing. And I believe emphatically that we must model the behaviors we expect from others. My mama would have said that do-unto-others thing. And I hope the guys are reading this one as well.

 5  Beware of men who want to email on end. If he doesn’t ask to meet you in the first, oh say seven or so email correspondences, he probably won’t. This would be one circumstance where intent can certainly be determined with fewer words than more. From my experience, if he belabors the initial meeting, he’s an unresolved separation, a bitter divorcee, or worse, unhappily involved with someone and just testing the waters. Beware.

 6  Beware of men who want to know what you’re wearing.
They may have just misplaced their 900 number.

 7  If he does ask to meet you, let him provide you with a phone number first. Now, I know, in my old-fashioned girl brain, girls don’t call guys first. This was a tough one for me to overcome and maybe you don’t even have that issue. But hearing someone engage in conversation via the somewhat live version is very telling. If he can maintain a high level of conversation without once taking a breather to ask about you, he probably won’t ask in person either. (Disclaimer: To retain your anonymity, you will have to do whatever that feature is on your phone that prohibits the caller ID feature from engaging on the other end.)

 8  If you make it past the emails and phone call, and you still want to meet, choose a neutral locale with no alcohol involved. Yeah, yeah, I know, meeting “for drinks” is socially acceptable, but you don’t want anyone wearing their beer-goggles on the first encounter. Trust me. My personal favorite is Starbucks or Barnes & Noble for Starbucks coffee mid-morning or mid-afternoon. You can do a fruit beverage if you don’t do caffeine.

 9  Don’t totally eliminate men that don’t post profile pictures. Some of the reasons for that, based on the men I eventually met, were justifiable.  Some were in fact “hiding” because of the nature of their work or the people … you can ask for a picture before engaging in extensive correspondence. Most men comply.

10 Don’t get discouraged. The ratio of men to women in cyber-space is about 1 to 3 by most counts. There may be lulls in the emails or even “winks” (remember, I’m still somewhat fond of Match) but eventually you will be contacted again. Every day, someone’s life takes a turn in the road… yours did once, right?

11 Don’t settle. Based on the men I’ve met so far, there are a lot of genuinely nice, nice guys looking for someone. And I personally know (in my small realm of friends) three ladies who met their mates online. And although I have not yet found the proverbial One, I’ve met some really interesting people, made a few friends, and have refined to no small extent what I seek. Don’t be afraid to wait for the magic.

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