Online dating is a bit of a new twist on an old idea: the blind date. The blind date can end horribly or it can end very well, unlike blind dates though, you willingly sign yourself up for online dating. While doing so though- you should go in prepared that something weird will probably happen and you should have limits set up ahead of time. I am going to suggest some limits that you may need and I am also going to talk a little bit about setting up realistic expectations. I think one of the biggest downfalls of online dating is that people expect it to work automatically and that’s not exactly the truth, while there is some success- the commercials are often times misleading. The following is the best advice that I can give, from my own experiences.
Know your limits.
This seems simple, it seems like every woman out there would know that they are really only interested in men that have dark hair or in men that are between the ages of 20-30. While these are generalizations- it is important to know what your limits are in online dating. Are you alright with going out on a date with someone that is 15 or more years older than you? Are you alright with going out on a date with someone of a different race? Are you alright with going out with someone that is heavier or skinnier than your ideal? Go into this process with a specific idea in your head about the things that are the most important to you. Know what your answers are going to be if someone who is not your type shows interest and know what you plan on doing before this happens.
I know I just finished saying that you should know your limits, but there is also a side of being a bit too picky. Limit yourself to your top three (maybe five) things that are absolute deal breakers. If you just have to have a guy that has blue eyes- that’s fine, but don’t make your ‘wish list’ so specific that all you can see are physical characteristics. While you are going to need some attraction on the physical level- it is going to be just as important that there is some kind of emotional attraction as well. You need to go into this experience with an open mind about the things that are not deal breakers, because having an open mind is the only thing that will truly allow you to enjoy this experience.
Know that it may not work out.
The idea of going into online dating is that things will work out well- and this is true for many people. The problem is that you will not necessarily have immediate gratification from this process. You actually may never get any gratification from it. I know that is hard to hear, but like all relationships, you need to accept that things just might not work out. The good thing about online dating is that there is always another website and there is always another chance. You just have to be willing to take it and just like a relationship that starts in a more conventional manner, you have to be willing to get back up, dust yourself off and go at it again.
There is no worse way to shoot yourself in the foot than to not be honest about the woman (or man…although I don’t know why a man would be reading this, but if you are…) that you are. If you do not like hiking- don’t pretend that you do. If you are a horrible cook- do not pretend that you are Martha Stewart. A person is only going to be reading a short snippet that you wrote about yourself and this snippet had better portray who you really are. If you are just looking for a good time- say it. If you are looking to find the love of your life and settle down, say that too. The last thing you want is to go on a date with someone and find out that they do not meet up to their profile. I’m sure that some of you have done this in the past, but can you only imagine what the person would think if it was you that had presented this false being.
This may seem a bit out of line for online dating, but I am a firm believer that what goes around will eventually come back around. While it would most definitely be easy to just ignore someone or to shoot them down with a plethora of unneeded words- don’t do this. If they express interest, let them know if you are or are not interested. Don’t be a cruel prick and drag them along or not respond back. My personal feelings are that you should be flattered that they like you and if you are not interested, a simple ‘no thanks’ will suffice. You don’t want to put yourself out there and be crushed and neither do they. If someone does not get the hint, then yes,you may have to move on to further measures- but try being nice at first. You would probably be surprised at how well people take to this simple concept.
So- does anyone else have tips for online dating? What do you think about these basic ideas? Feel free to discuss- it’s the only way we can really learn.