I’ve been considering online dating for a while, but I don’t feel prepared to take the plunge. It’s somewhat frightening new territory and I want to get it right the first time. Do you have any tips for me?
The oft-maligned practice of online dating can be a surprisingly effective way to meet and get to know someone. Online dating can be a little scary at first. You’ll learn to ask the right questions to weed out bad prospects and narrow your selection to people you might genuinely be interested in. It’s important to come across authentically, both interesting and interested. Remember, while you’re evaluating your date, your date is evaluating you. Here are a few things to consider.
Create the Perfect Profile
Your profile serves as the crucial first impression in online dating. Research shows women with the most popular profiles keep their “about me” section short—just 100 optimized words. A great profile will get you more attention, giving you a bigger pool from which you can be selective.
Don’t Lie or Misrepresent Yourself
You might be tempted to attract interest by using an outdated or particularly flattering photo where the angle makes you look 20 years younger. Eventually, you’re going to have to meet your date in real life, and you want someone who is drawn to who you really are, not a false image.
Don’t Spill Your Guts Too Early
While you want to be honest, don’t reveal too many personal details until you’re sure you can trust the person chatting you up. Steer the conversation away from intimate specifics until you have built a level of trust. Be wary of anyone who shares too much too fast. One common tactic of online scammers is offering a barrage of compliments along with a sympathetic story which gets too personal, too fast.
Suggest a Video Chat Before Meeting in Person
No matter how plausible the explanation, when someone consistently refuses to video chat, alarm bells should go off in your mind. It’s difficult to fake an interactive live video. On the other hand, they may not be technically savvy and simply not know how to do it!
Be Honest When it Counts
After you become a bit more familiar, disclose potential relationship-killers. Have you failed to mention your five kids? A serious health issue? Your strong political view which is different from theirs? You’re going to have to come clean eventually. Better to do it after you form a friendship, and before you get too deep into romance.
Meet in a Public Place
Arrange to meet in a restaurant or coffee shop where other people will be around. No matter how long you’ve been chatting online, you are still meeting a stranger.
Arrange Your Own Transportation
Asking your date to pick you up or drop you off requires revealing your address. Did I mention you’re meeting a stranger? Be cautious until you get to know the person better.
Prepare to Be Interesting
Dinner conversation can be awkward, especially after the semi-anonymous intimacy of an online relationship. You probably already know some of your date’s interests, so lead with them. When you don’t know what to talk about, pick a safe subject, like sports, movies, music, art, or what you enjoy doing in your spare time.
Offer to Pay for the Meal, or at Least Split the Bill
Even if your date pulls out their wallet, it is still polite for you to offer to pay your portion. If you initiated the date, the responsibility for paying is on your shoulders. In today’s modern dating landscape, people often opt to split the check amicably, particularly on the first meeting. If your date insists on paying, graciously say “thank you” and offer to pay next time.
Best of luck,
Categories: Ask the Etiquette Expert