- Gender and Relationships
Online Dating Tips: How to Tell if He's for Real
From eharmony to match.com, to gay.com , to singles net, to perfectmatch.... there are a gazillion sites designed to bring people together. There are also chat rooms on many sites, plus message boards and discussion groups where you could also possibly meet someone with similar interests, or similar locale.
So you meet a guy online. You email, you chat. You exchange some photos. You feel like this could be someone special. What do you do?
Please remember these two key truths:
1 - Many people online are not what they represent themselves to be.
2 - If it sounds too good to be true, it's probably not true.
That being said and understood, let me be the first to tell you that you CAN meet a great person online. Some people online are very real and wonderful. And that this can be a safe and smart way to meet potential dates.
When I say many people online are not what they represent themselves to be, I don't mean to imply that they are probably criminals. But you should keep in mind that they *could* be. Don't do something silly, like reveal too much private information about yourself. Do not tell a stranger where you live or work, don't send money, don't send compromising photos of yourself to strangers.
You would think in this day and age these things go without saying. But they don't.
Your match.com beau may not be a serial killer, but he still may not be 100% of what he has represented himself to be.
Sometimes in the anonymity of web, people take the opportunity to make themselves feel just a little bit better about their lives. I'm not saying they are liars, I'm just saying they may have fudged their bios just a bit.
He may say he's the manager of his department at work while he's really just the supervisor. She may say she's 38 when really she's 40. He may leave out of his bio information that he doesn't want to apply to his life now, like a past bankruptcy, marriage, addiction, or arrest. The photo he posts may be more than a year old like he claimed. She may be 185lbs instead of 165 like she said. He may be 5'9, not 5'11 like he claimed. He may be balding much worse than his photo reveals. She may smoke but intends to quit so she claims she already has.
Are any of these things reasons not to meet the person? That's your call. Just be aware that the "too good to be true" guy online is probably not quite that "good." It's better to be prepared for that, than to be taken off-guard.
- The best way to tell if this person is for real is to meet them.
The real fakers will put that off as long as possible in the hopes of really dragging you in with the intense online dialogue and closeness. Don't let that happen. Don't get dragged in to the point where you can't think clearly. Some people like to think it's better to get to know the person online really well first. It's not. Do not delude yourself by saying it's the safer way to go; it's the exact opposite.
It should only take a few emails or chats for you to decide you want to meet this person. Take these steps in a fairly short amount of time.
1 - Set up a meeting.
2 - It should be someplace public.
3 - It should not be someplace you frequent: that way if it doesn't work out you don't have to worry about this person hanging out there all the time in the hopes of running into you.
4 - Tell a few friends. Leave the meeting place and time, plus any info you have about this person with a couple of you friends.
5 - Bring a few friends. I'm serious. Do not be in that place alone. Ask a few friends to go with you. It doesn't have to be a secret unless you want it to be. They can be off quietly in their own booth at the restaurant or casually walking their dog in the park. Or, they could be right there with you.
6 - BOTH of you should have some kind of flag. If you have exchanged photos online this isn't necessary. But if you haven't, do not make it so that one of you gets to decide not to identify themselves and run. Agree that both of you will be wearing Yankee baseball caps, or red shirts, or something. And by the way, when he shows up if he didn't do what you agreed, that's your sign that you can't trust him. Go.
My advice for the first meeting is to keep it light. Don't do a movie or some activity where you can't talk. A cafe or bookstore, a restaurant or park, a fleamarket or mall might all be good places for a first meeting. If you decide to each bring a friend to the first meeting, then something like a bookstore is perfect since it's not uncomfortable if you and your match would like to talk just the two of you.
The important thing is to get that first meeting before you get dragged in online. That's the best way to get started deciphering if your match is for real, close to real, or not even in the ballpark.
All text is original content by Veronica.
All photos are used with permission. All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.
If you have a dating question, email me!