THE UNWRITTEN RULES OF ONLINE DATING:
What you're expected to know but nobody will tell you...
A recent survey indicated that over 40 million singles have used or are currently using online dating services. It’s a huge business that has ushered in a whole new era of dating with its own unique set of rules.
Of course you know about online dating safety and how to protect yourself from unwanted attention. But do you know the unwritten rules, the tips and tricks that will make your online dating experience much better?
Keep Your Expectations Low
It has been estimated that 96% of the people who use online dating services fail to find a compatible person with whom to have a dating relationship. Part of the reason for this, though, is that most people approach online matchmaking with unrealistic expectations. When they don’t find a perfect match after one or two dates they give up and try something else.
Despite what the advertising wants you to believe, your perfect match isn’t going to just fall out of the sky one day. It takes diligent searching, careful screening, and lots of dates to increase your chances of success. Keep your expectations low key; don’t set yourself up for failure by getting too excited when you see an interesting profile or meet an interesting person.
Don’t Respond Too Quickly
Most online dating services won’t tell you this because they make money from email messages between members, but don’t be too quick to answer when a message comes in. Many online dating experts suggest waiting 24 to 48 hours to respond, and also say never to respond on a weekend or holiday. Their reasoning is that when you respond too quickly it makes you appear desperate and also doesn’t allow you to pause and carefully compose an appropriate response.
Yes, it’s exciting when someone notices your profile and makes contact, but don’t let the excitement run away with you. Relax, take a deep breath, and if necessary refer back to the previous section on maintaining realistic expectations.
Keep It Light
When you answer an email, keep the tone light and friendly. Online messages are NOT an appropriate avenue for providing your entire life history or unloading about your past hurts and current emotional state. Don’t be shallow and flip, of course, but do be conservative with what you write. And, as always, don’t reveal personally identifiable information via online messages.
Don’t Drag Things Along
Once you have exchanged a few messages, it’s time to either meet in person or move on. As a general rule of thumb, if more than three to five messages have been exchanged and you haven’t set up a date yet, then it’s time to say goodbye. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into email communications that drag on for weeks or months at a time. Email is not a substitute for meeting and getting acquainted in person.
Tell The Truth
One of the great temptations of online personal ads is to embellish the truth about you. Whether it’s shaving a few years off your age, overstating your career achievements, or understating your body weight, remember that the truth will be revealed once you meet someone in person. It’s pointless to lie about such things and it undermines trust right from the start. As Mark Twain once said – “When in doubt, tell the truth.”