Once you have found a good online dating service and signed up, how do you go about developing online dating relationships.
Before you even think of searching profiles or clicking that send flirt button try to decide what it is you are looking for. I don’t mean the exact person, as that will be far too limiting.
Simply decide if you are only ready for casual dating or for a more long term relationship.
A tip for successful online dating is to never decide you have joined an online dating site to find your soul mate, for three reasons:
- You will come across as desperate and that is never an attractive quality.
- Disappointment will quickly arrive when your perfect match doesn’t turn up in the first two weeks.
- The more open minded you are about meeting lots of new friends the more active you will be on the dating site in general and the more fun you will have .. by being active when online dating you will be more attractive to others.
Here are some basic rules to follow in developing online dating relationships:
Online or Offline It’s All the Same
You are going to communicate with real people, yes some will be insulting, some spammers and a few just plain old creepy but on the whole the people you talk to are normal people so treat them as you would if you met in a bar or at work offline. Online conversation follows the same rules as offline, just because you are hidden behind a screen doesn’t give you permission to act like an idiot or insult people.
Before you send any messages, even flirty ones ask yourself “would I say this to a stranger offline or will it come back to haunt me if we ever meet in real life?
Read Profiles Carefully
Other daters have also sat there at the registration page thinking “yikes what do I put in here”, they have taken the time to tell you about themselves so have the decency to read it and not just look at the picture and think “that’ll do” and send a flirt. There are few online insults bigger than receiving a message asking about your children or pets when your profile clearly states you don’t have any.
Comment on Their Profile
Your first message should ask a question or comment about something on their profile and tell them a little about you and why you think you would get on.
Do not send messages like “so you’ve got a horse eh. Here’s my number call me and we can hook up”. Learn to know when to give out your phone number or msn address and don’t force it on people in the first message you send.
It would be much more appropriate to say “What sort of horse riding do you most enjoy? I used to ride as a child but tended to spend most of my time laying on the floor looking at their stomach, so I gave it up and took up a safer hobby … car racing.” This gives them something to respond to and a natural conversation will follow.
Reply to Messages
Answer the messages that you receive, even if you send a “thanks but you’re not my type” reply. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, they have taken the time to contact you and may well log in every day to see if you have replied. At the very least you will seem rude and you don’t know who their online friends are but at worst you can actually damage someone’s self image.
Even if you open their profile and think “why on earth is this person contacting me” just remember they have had the guts to contact you so a short polite reply will usually send them merrily on to the next person. The only exception to this rule is insulting, rude or spammy messages .. do not reply, they feed off your outrage or sarcasm so just delete them and they will get bored and go away.
Listen and Speak
Conversations are hard work if they are all one way, with either a bombardment of endless questions to answer or yes/no answers with nothing to reply to. As with building offline relationships make sure conversations are two way and the other person isn’t having to do all the work or is unable to get a word in. Take time to listen to the other person and respond to them.
Once you are in a conversation with someone don’t take it as an opportunity for some free theracpy and tell them all your worldy worries. Women tend to be more guilty of this but men are also prone to the occasional bout of wallowing. Having an anyonymous person to tell your troubles to does have a very therapeutic effect but it would be much better to make some same gender friends online and unload on them, possible partners want the upbeat fun you and not the manic depressive you.
Share Your Interests
This is something we would naturally do offline or even online with our email friends but people often forget this side of relationship building when they join a dating site.
Whether you are building relationships with people you are interesting in possibly dating or just making a group of new friends remember to include them in your interests. Send free ecards or share music clips, send them a link for a news article to discuss or funny animal pictures. The normal things that you would share online with facebook friends or your family.
Don’t be Rude
I have often seen someone in a dating site chatroom that is in the middle of a conversation with a group of people and then suddenly disappears into a private chatroom when someone they are interested in arrives, without saying a word and then you chatroom becomes a flurry of “well that was rude” comments. Imagine you are in a cafe chatting to a group of people and your date arrives .. without a word you just walk away. What are those people going to think of you and how will they react the next time you drop by for coffee?
Same online, simply say “right must be off, catch you all later”. Everyone knows where you are going but at least you have said goodbye and not just left them hanging.
Privacy is Paramount
Respect people’s privacy online, if they send you a photo or share information about their family or work don’t forward it to friends or talk about it in forums or blogs. The online world is a surprisingly small place and imagine how you would feel if you joined a new forum and found everyone has already heard about you or seen the picture of you drunk in a ditch wearing a flowerpot on your head.