Should You Try Online Dating?
The short answer is … it depends. In last week’s post, I gave you some food for thought and some questions to ask yourself about online dating. Here are more things to ponder. If you do decide to give it a try, there are some things you can do to make it a better and safer experience.
Some Things to Consider
Meeting people online is a lot like any other way of meeting people, but everything is exaggerated. The pool of possible matches is bigger, but the risks are also much bigger. If you do decide to give it a try, keep a few things in mind.
Understand the App or Service
Before you try an online dating service or app, get an understanding of what type of people use that app or service. Some cater more to people looking for serious relationships, but others are mostly aimed at facilitating the hookup culture. You will not find the love of your life on an app designed to help people hook up.
Do some research. Most services have a testimonial section, an about page, or some sort of mission statement. Some have a blog. Be sure to poke around their site or app for clues to what they are about. Look at online reviews. Ask your friends about services they have tried. Don’t just pick a service and jump in. Know what you are getting into.
Supplement or Substitute?
I believe dating sites are best used as a supplement to your social life, not as a substitute for having a life. Dating sites should not be your only source for dates and social interaction.
Sometimes, that which we are looking for is right under our nose, we just need to open our eyes and take a good look around. Sometimes a little online dating actually helps us see what is around us more clearly.
A Lot Like Real Life
In some ways, online dating is very similar to dating in real life. All the things that apply to finding a date in real life apply to finding a date online. You need to be honest with yourself and in your profile about who you are and what you want. You need to present yourself well, be well-spoken, and be confident. Don’t be desperate.
Just as in real-life, beware. People are not always what they seem to be. That’s true in real life and true online. As I stated in last week’s post, you will be lied to. People will try to deceive you, probably even more so online than in person, because it is easier to do so online.
Have Realistic Expectations
Make sure your expectations are realistic. Don’t expect online dating to be a panacea. It will not solve all of your dating problems. In fact, because of the exaggerated nature of online dating, it may magnify them. So, get your mind right about dating before you attempt online dating.
Expect to find quite a few flakes, nuts, liars, and otherwise bad matches for every legitimate prospect. But, you can expect to find a few really nice people too – maybe even a few with whom you want to have a real date.
Again, as I wrote last week, don’t expect to throw together a profile, push a button, and have the love of your life appear in front of you. Just like in real life, expect to have to work at finding good matches online.
Have Clear Parameters
Before you attempt dating of any kind, but especially with online dating, you should have clear expectations for what attitudes, character traits, and behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable.
If you have followed this blog for a while, you should already have a list of must-haves and deal breakers. For more on that, go back read this post. You should never go out with anyone you meet online or off who does not line up with what you wrote down on your list.
When it comes to online behavior, determine beforehand what is appropriate. Do not deviate from those expectations.
Remember there are real people behind those profiles. Well, in general, there are. There will be a fair number of fake profiles in any given app. But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat people with respect and courtesy. The Golden Rule still applies to people online.
Yes, be firm when necessary, and it will at times be necessary. There will be times you will have to cut off people behaving badly. But, make it a point to be kind and courteous. You don’t want to end up inadvertently crushing someone who already has self-esteem issues. Show people the same kindness and respect you want to be shown.
Whether you agree to a date with someone you meet at a church, a wedding, or online, never meet them for the first time alone at your place, their place, or any secluded place. Always have your own transportation. Always have a friend keep checking up on you. Never leave your drink or your food unattended. And, always have an exit strategy just in case things get weird or dangerous.
I will try to write a post just about dating safety soon. In the meantime, read my post “Dating Danger” and do an internet search. There are some good articles online about dating safety.
So, Should You Try Online Dating?
It is hard to say whether you should try online dating or not. I hope these last two posts give you some help thinking it through. If you do try it, just be sure you do it for the right reasons, with the proper expectations, and in as safe a way as possible.
Let’s Talk About It
Have you gone on a date with someone you met online? Let’s talk about our experiences in the comments section below.
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