As if dating and mating wasn’t hard enough, technology has added a variety of new challenges to the art of hooking up. Not only do you have to master the computer crud, you have to figure out how to actually connect with another human being amidst the volume and the anonymity.
Being a successful online dater is much more than knowing what to click on a website. It’s about choosing the right site among thousands, mastering the variety of search tools, understanding the difference between winks and nudges, knowing the tips and tricks to get you noticed and keep you safe, spotting the fakes and scammers, and so much more. In the days before online dating, as a single looking to date, your choices were limited to people in your immediate circle or those of your friends. The internet has made your choices seem virtually limitless. That abundance is the good and bad news. Being able to choose among so many means you have a better chance of meeting someone you like. On the flip side, the feeling of having a plethora of choices tends to lead to all kinds of bad behavior. The old “there’s a better one just around the corner” mentality is now “there’s 5 better ones waiting in my inbox.” This can result in some rather quick and harsh judgment. After all, if that one doesn’t seem just right for you, there are thousands more to pick from! Or so it seems.
To make things just a little more challenging, throw in the anonymity of it all. Aside from making it easier for frauds and liars (which, I know from personal experience, most people are NOT), when we’re communicating from behind a computer screen, some rather unattractive tendencies can come out. It’s so much easier to ignore, brush aside, be snippy, or simply write some silly stuff.
I met my husband online and I encourage my clients to hop on. It’s a great way to meet people, but it’s good to do your homework first. Here are a few tips to make the experience easier and more positive.
1. When choosing an online dating site, start by deciding how you want to meet people. Do you want to be matched based on your answers to tons of questions like they do on www.eHarmony.com or www.chemistry.com? Or would you rather have the freedom to present yourself your way, and then pick and be picked like on www.match.com Once you make that decision, google “online dating site reviews” or “online dating site comparisons.” You’ll find dozens of ways to get expert opinions and learn about other daters’ experiences, pricing, and the available features on each site.
2. Younger men and older women have especially heavy competition online. Learn how to stand out among the crowd. Make your handle and profile unique and interesting. Use as few words as possible, but give enough to let your personality come through, and leave them wanting to learn more. Get your pictures taken professionally…don’t argue…this is a must!
3. Give the proper attention to each person who comes your way. While there are thousands of people to pick from, the truth is that it’s still a challenge to find someone you connect with, enjoy, are attracted to and trust. When you’re considering people in your inbox, take time to consider all the information they provide. Not everyone takes a good picture or writes like Longfellow. Give these folks a break and I promise you’ll increase your chances of meeting a great person. When responding to potential suitors, do so with kindness. I know, it may seem unthinkable that you would not be kind. But the truth is that, like any dating, at times you can feel disappointed or frustrated. With anonymity, you can feel that you have permission to be curt or not give proper respect. Just think of it like you would if you were standing face to face, and remember that there is real person behind that email. And have fun!