Online Dating: Best Practices

Recently I've been meeting more and more couples who've found true love on online dating websites. Years ago, even the thought of online dating conjured up doubt and wariness. Don't get me wrong, people still have to be very careful about the individuals they meet online, weather they're potential spouses or just friends. My point is that the taboo that once accompanied online dating has now been lost. It's been replaced with acceptance and a measure of curiosity. More people are now inclined to date in this way, but nervousness has taken over because they haven't got the first idea of how to show themselves in the best light. Here are some pointers to help!

So, have you tried online dating? Are you inclined to? What are some of the ways you've used to show yourself in the best possible light on Internet dating websites? How do you play it safe to make sure you get what you're looking for? 

Online dating: best practices

Accepted behaviour for online dating
1. Nothing is exclusive until both parties agree it is, so it's okay to talk to several people at the same time.  However, you should make this clear to everyone.
2. Stay safe. Don't give out any addresses (work or home, or extended family).
3. If you agree to meet, make it a public place where you're sure there are lots of other people around.
4. Daytime meeting is preferable to night time for the first face to face meeting. This way you could arrange to meet up with a friend afterwards for somewhere to shoot off to (in case things go badly).
5. With online dating, it's okay to drop someone if you don't like what they say. Chances are you won't like them if you met them either. Don't waste your time. It's completely acceptable to be very picky on online dating websites.
6. If you like, you can send a short message saying you won't be chatting to them again, and that you've moved on (or moving in different circles). If you don't wish to, it's okay to just ignore them. They'll move on soon enough.
7. Unlike a personal first date, it's okay to say you're looking for marriage and long term commitment if you are.

How to weed out the time wasters on online dating websites
Inevitably, there'll be time wasters when it comes to online dating. Married people join them and others who've got no intention of forming real relationships (they've got issues). You have to be able to spot these bad eggs to save yourself a lot of time and energy.
1. If they sound 'suspect' they probably are. As soon as you spot any suspicious behaviour report this to the site administrator.
2. Don't laugh off any rude or undesirable comments on online dating. Report them or block that person. If they can be obnoxious on a website there's a high chance they're like this in real life. You haven't got that time to waste on insecure, tasteless people.
3. If the profile picture looks too good to be true, it probably is.
4. Block people who seem to copy and paste the same messages to everyone. You can usually tell if their messages don't sound personal to you.
5. If you're looking for marriage and commitment, don't form bonds with people who aren't. You'll never change their minds, no matter how nice you think they are.

What to include on your online dating profile page
1. Don't talk about exes or negative things in your life. You have time to reveal these later on. No one wants to read a sad story straight off the bat.
2. Don't be rude and exclude people before you've met them. For example, you'll show yourself in a bad light if you say in your profile: I want someone who earns loads of money (for example).
3. Be forthright about your intentions. If you're looking for marriage - say so. Don't be afraid. This way, only people who're interested in committing will contact you.
4. You don't have to go with what everyone else is writing in their profiles. Be yourself and  be original. There isn't a set way to write your online dating profile.
5. Say something about your hobby or your craze. This will give potential suitors something to break the ice with when talking to you.
6. Always, always include a photo. It can be the best photo you have, but it MUST be current.
7. Play down your faults and play up your strengths. Do you play or enjoy sport? So do a lot of men. Include this in your online dating website profile.

Some recommended online dating websites
Of course, you will have your own preferences, but here are some links and articles (on this blog) which list online dating sites. I've also included some posts that reference online dating like Parship Ireland and others that offer help to singles looking to date.
Best online dating sites: Global
Find me love
Love relationship quotes
How to get your dream mate to notice you
Relationship help for singles



Icy BC March 19, 2012 at 8:45 PM  

Great advice, Anne! My first experience with online dating sites kept me from coming back..Arrg...

Anne Lyken-Garner March 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM  

I think you just have to find the right one for you. There are so many which are targeted to specific people with specific needs - Christians, uniforms, Muslim, single parents etc. :-)

Harleena Singh March 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM  

Great advice Anne!

Although I have never really tried online dating, but all that you have mentioned truly is wonderful!

And yes, all I would say is to be your real self, without trying to portray who you are not. This would always help in a relationship as the other person behind the scenes, who doesn't know you would trust you based on what you share. So, the stepping stone of such relationships is always based on truth, honesty, and transparency in a relationship.

Thanks for sharing :)

Anne Lyken-Garner March 20, 2012 at 1:26 PM  

Definitely! People waste so much time in face to face dates, pretending they're something they're not.
It's senseless doing it online (even though it can be easy to do) because you have a chance to be more upfront with the protection of a computer screen between you.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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