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Scared of online dating?

Updated on April 2, 2011

Online dating revealed

You are a wealthy businessman or business woman with no time to hang out at bars, no time for extensive hours of socializing, and your work only allows for professional fraternizing. You want to date, but you just do not want to go down the path of finding out whether someone is single, whether they are interested in dating, or furthermore, whether they would be interested in dating YOU. Sigh!

You are an office clerk who is way too shy to ask anyone out, as a matter of fact your peers find you to be very antisocial. You are lonely; you long to have someone to hold, someone to look into your eyes and give you compliments, or maybe just someone to have conversations with. You are getting older and you are seeing the physical signs of it. Sharing a family with someone you love is a dream come through. The uncertainty of your future is daunting.

You are a teacher who keeps having very short lived relationships; you usually have few or no interests in common with the people you start relationships with. You wish there was a way to pre- screen people before you date them- perhaps your relationships may last longer than a month or two if you knew a little about your dates beforehand. You are becoming despaired by the series of failed relationships. You need a relationship of substance.

Are you one of these people? Are you considering online dating? Are you scared to sign up for a profile on one of these “wacky” websites? I don’t blame you. The world is full of many dangerous people and there are many encounters spawned from online relationships that result in very gloomy endings. However, the good news is that for every dark online dating story that exists, there are about 100 good stories. As a matter of fact, online dating is one of the most popular ways to meet people today.

Online dating is really just a microcosm of offline dating- an encounter with someone you meet at a bar for the first time can have the same ending as an online encounter, be it good or bad. Online dating sites offer you the ability to read other people’s profiles, to view their pictures and to have live interactions with them on the actual dating site. Online dating can be the solution to your dating problems, but it is important that you embark on your online dating adventure with some level of caution as you can never predict someone's true motivations. Here are a few steps to consider when dating online.

Step 1

Select a site out there that has a good online dating reputation. Many of the success stories that I have witnessed started out on sites like Match and EHarmony.

Step 2

Set up an email address specifically for all of your interaction with this site. Once you begin offsite communication with other members, you do not want to give up your personal email addresses before you begin a serious relationship with someone.

Step 3

Set up a profile on the site before you make a decision to pay a monthly fee for the full site service. Browse through other people’s profiles and get an idea of if what is out there.

Step 4

If you see a few profiles that you may be interested in, sign up for the full service monthly package. Take some time to tweak your profile, and ensure that you represent yourself well. Do not be afraid to state your preferences- the point of being on the site is to find a match that is suitable for you!

Step 5

Spend time on the site. Being online increases your chances of being seen by others. Also, when you are online, you increase your chances of having a live conversation with other site members.

Step 6

Interact with people on the site. Ask questions, join chat groups, and respond to your incoming mail. Do not give up too much personal information about yourself. Initially, you may give your first name, your age and your interests etc, but refrain from telling people where your work, where you live, and from giving out your home or work phone numbers.

Step 7

If you find someone of interest to you and you find their conversations coherent, you may want to consider meeting for a first date. Ensure that you meet at a public place that is usually busy with lots of people around. Don’t be afraid to be yourself on your date. Remember these online dating websites are full of people looking to meet their perfect match, and it is important that you meet someone who likes you for who you are, and not for who you are pretending to be.

Step 8

Do not be afraid to date more than one person at a time. You need to get to know a few people before you can make a decision to start a relationship with someone. Many people make the mistake of focusing on one person from the onset without realizing that that very person may be dating many people at the same time.

If you find someone you really like, do not hesitate to ask them if they are interested in other people, and what type of relationship they are looking for.

Step 9

Before dating in a private setting, it is advisable that you find out your date’s full name and you do a background check on that person if possible. It will be a good idea to meet at that person’s job one evening before deciding to go on a date in a private setting.

This step seems a bit too "pre-thought" and may remove the spontaneity of a good moment; but it is actually advised that people who meet in offline dating scenarios also take this precautionary step before meeting in very private settings.

Step 10

If you are satisfied that you know enough personal information about that person to meet in a private setting, you may go ahead and do so.

Step 11

Once you have started a serious relationship with someone, you should close your online dating account. Very often, you may be honest enough with yourself to know that you will not revisit the site, but your boyfriend or girlfriend may not know this. If he or she finds out that your account is still open (many sites allow you to search for a member’s ID without being a member yourself), it may be assumed that you are still keeping your options open, and you may not quite be ready for a serious relationship.

These steps may make your dating process seem very mechanical. Many people enjoy moving with the flow and enjoy losing themselves in delightful moments. There are many successful online dating stories out there; as a matter of fact one in about every three couples that I know has met online. The key is to be smart about your online dating. Do not give up too much about yourself without getting the same in return. Remember that online dating is not much different from offline dating. Unless you meet through a mutual friend or family member, you still have to exercise caution when going on a date with someone you do not really know.


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