Do's and Don'ts of Online Dating

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How to date online effectively

Online dating has become a social norm with the rise of so many different websites to choose from. From eHarmony, which employs matching tactics based on interests to Tindr which is solely based on first impressions, chances are, you know at least a few people who have tried them and have perhaps met girlfriends or boyfriends this way. A decade ago, there was a sort of stigma related to meeting a potential romantic interest off the internet. This has changed dramatically with the rise of social networking and smartphones. The following guidelines might seem general but they are in fact important in order to happily explore the arena of online dating.

Pick a website.

1. There are multiple dating websites at your disposal available online. A quick Google search will give you a list of the most popular and effective sites used locally.

2. Opt to pick a website that charges its customers as opposed to a free website.

The reason being is that it is far too easy for basically anyone (including people who are not serious) to join a free website. You do not want to waste your time with people who have no intention of getting to know you.

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Tips on Creating a Profile

1. A picture is necessary.

Many people balk at this part, claiming that they want their potential mate to like them for "who they are". While this is a novel concept, nothing quite beats the effect of a first impression. By not putting up a photo, you risk being in a situation where you exchange emails with someone but then find yourselves not attracted to one another upon first sight when you meet.

2. But don't use a headshot either.

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It is tempting to use the picture in which you think you look other-wordly gorgeous. But these pictures do not truly reflect how you look on an everyday basis. The picture you should use for your profile should be a regular picture where you look like yourself. Don't worry about being eye-catching because that picture will catch the eye of someone who thinks your natural self is perfect.

3. Do use a catchy headline that isn't a cliché.

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Think of your profile as a newspaper article. You want to make it attractive and read-worthy. If your headline says something like "Looking to meet someone special", you will not stand out because it will resemble every other profile out there. You need the headline to reflect at least one specific thing about you and find a way to make it sound breezy and fun. It is difficult not to sound cheesy in this situation, but the important thing is to avoid the ordinary. Say for example you are an accountant, and one of your hobbies include salsa dancing. Your headline could be something along the lines of "Accountant by day, music-lover by night". Don't say dancer by night, because it may give people that you moonlight as an exotic dancer.

4. Be honest in the practical details. Don't exaggerate.

Don't lie about your height, your body type, ethnicity, etc. This goes back to my earlier point: there are people who are going to find you wonderful, exactly as you are.

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5. Keep you description paragraph short and sweet.

Think of it as a job résumé. While this may sound cold or clinical, it's the best way to look at it. Keep it informative yet short and sweet. No one wants to read a novel or someone's emotional outpourings. Talk about yourself and remember to emanate confidence, not cockiness. Also avoid any hint of desperation. If you were looking for a job and blurted out "I really need this job!", the potential employer might actually give you the job but would know how badly you need it. He or she might take advantage of this fact by not treating you well enough.

Note: Many people would say that this comparison to a job or even shopping takes away from the cutesy aspect of dating, but the thing is, you aren't dating yet when you are building a profile. The profile is meant to weed out the bad apples and to avoid wastage of time. Therefore approaching it pragmatically is probably the best way to go about it. Presenting yourself in honest terms while still retaining the air of fun and independence will attract people who will treat you as you deserve.

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Browse other profiles!

  1. Look for all the elements you included in your own profile.

A good profile has a profile picture, a headline and a short but sweet description of the person, just like yours! No picture indicates a lack of confidence (or someone who should really be on, a lack of headline, or personal details indicate a person who is perhaps not all that serious about himself or others.

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2. Trust your instincts and move on.

If you find something is a little off and can't shake the feeling, move on. You are not here to psycho-analyse anyone. Even if the site is matching the two of you based on interests and backgrounds, it all comes down to how you feel. Our gut-instincts seldom lie. If the picture puts you off, or the description is full of spelling mistakes which happens to be your pet peeve, move on.

Finally, and most importantly, be safe!

Don't tell someone you don't know where you live, where you work, or give that person any means of tracking you down. When you do meet this person for the first time, do so in a public arena, preferably a place that you are comfortable with. Make sure your friends know where you're going and check in with them at least once during the date. You can even bring a friend along if you are not comfortable. Do not ever agree to anything that makes you uncomfortable.

If you follow these guidelines, they could lead to a safe and fun experience while on the road to finding love in the modern era. No method is foolproof, of course, but it is far better than not having one at all!

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1 Comment

Great visuals that work well with the topic. As someone who briefly tried o/l dating years ago, I could've used these tips then :)

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