Dating stinks, no matter what platform you use. It’s awkward, annoying, time consuming, costly, and very rarely turns out anything like you would have expected. Having given up on the “normal” dating avenues, I turned to the internet. I knew people who had found “the one” through online dating, and what did I have to lose? Over the course of the following months, I learned four very valuable lessons that not only pertained to the world of online dating, but also crossed over into “real life.”
Lesson #1: Be Honest
Not just while writing that dreaded profile, but in all matters. Be honest with yourself in regards to your expectations and goals. Don’t be coy with those you start messaging and be up front about who you are, what you like or don’t like and any major “deal breakers” you may have. Keeping it real like this will save you a lot of time and frustration weeding out the ones who would never have made it that far to being with.
Lesson #2: Follow Your Gut
This was one of the biggest lessons I learned, one that led me to my better half, yes through online dating. If you feel an urge to message or wink or what have you, do it. You never know what might come of it. Yes, it’s awkward, really awkward, trying to figure out what to say in that first message, but do it anyway. Following your gut applies to those times of instant no’s. Some part of you is telling you to move on and don’t waste your time, regardless of the pretty words in the bio section.
Lesson #3: Be Safe
This one should go without saying, but it’s still a lesson I had to learn. Being safe goes beyond just meeting in a well lighted and busy public area, it also pertains to your contact information. Before you send off your cell number for a round of flirty texting, think. How well do you know this person? What would happen if something just didn’t click for you, but they fell head over heels? Don’t open yourself to potential threatening behavior right off the bat. Use a prepaid phone for that first contact off the internet or keep it to e-mail until it feels right.
Lesson #4: Don’t Put It All Out There
It may be tempting to just let it all out on the table in those first few emails and exciting texts, but don’t, just don’t. You want to keep things casual at first, even if your end goal is a life long relationship. Don’t go planning the wedding right off the bat and don’t give everything about yourself out too soon. Leave some of it for those face to face dates and let your relationship grow organically.
Dating online sucks, just like any other form of dating. However, it has the advantage of allowing you to feel out the other person before meeting for the first time, saving you a lot of frustration, time, and money. If you keep the above lessons to heart, things will go a lot smoother for you than they did for me until I figured it all out.