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Some Basic Tips for Online Dating

Updated on July 18, 2012
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

My Mission: Successful Online Dating

It has come to my attention the last couple of months that many folks out there are just not happy with their online dating experiences. This is mostly because I am currently using a few websites and I have experienced some extreme creepiness from potential matches. Furthermore, I've had guys tell me there are some chicks online hitting on them that totally weird them out, too. So basically, anyone can be a bad online dater. Since many people are online trying to find dates, I believe it is crucial to help some of you out. Obviously, there is a need to give some basic online dating tips.

Online dating has become an extremely popular way for new couples to meet. I remember a time when you could not be so bold and discuss online dating with others. There was a time when you would pretend you met someone at a bar before you'd admit to meeting them online. Those times have changed. I know several married couples that met online. I am actually stunned when I meet a new couple and they didn't meet online. I always think, "Wow, who meets at the grocery store or the library now? That's crazy!"

Since online dating is so popular, there are many sites out there devoted to just that. Some of the most popular websites are OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, Chemistry, and eHarmony. Some sites require a payment and others do not require anything more than a bit of information and some hope. Personally, I use the free sites because I am poor and I am OK with dating a guy who is poor. For that matter, if you are a guy reading this right now, and you are broke and living in Maryland and looking for a date... oh wait, sorry. I forgot what I was doing for a moment. At any rate, I am here to give you some basic online dating advice that should help you on any site.

Stop Taking It So Seriously!

This is my number one rule to online dating. I will repeat this rule throughout everything I am writing. Online dating is not that serious! It would be nice to meet your soulmate or whatever it is you think you are going to achieve, but don't start the online dating scene with that mentality. You are just setting yourself up for disappointment.

When you write your profile, try to have fun with it. Post some fun photos. If every photo you post looks like you just lost your puppy, you are going to bring people down. The other fun people are not going to approach you. The goth kids and depressed folks that were just dumped are going to hit on you. Is that what you want? Also, be honest in your profile and include some fun facts about yourself. Make yourself sound interesting!

When talking to others on the dating website, don't get too serious about it. Sometimes you are going to message someone that never messages you back. It is OK! Don't be a grump about it. Don't send a new message everyday. You will be blocked in no time. Instead, be a good sport and message a few different people you find interesting. Have several conversations at once. It is totally acceptable to do that!

If you are communicating with someone and that person suddenly stops talking to you, don't consider that a personal attack on you. Once again, sending random stalker-like messages is not going to get you anywhere. You will be blocked or perhaps even kicked off the site. If someone stops talking to you, it could be for a bunch of different reasons. Maybe he got tired of the site or maybe he started dating his ex again or maybe he did lose interest, but didn't want to say anything to hurt your feelings. Whatever! There's plenty of fish in the sea.

Keep in mind, there are those of us that try to be polite with everyone. However, after you've had a few guys get really rude with you and demand you give them a chance no matter what you say, or you've even had some random guy tell you about how you are too high maintenance anyway, you are more likely to stop sending polite "sorry this isn't working out" emails. No one wants to be insulted online. Eventually, I stopped being polite and many others do, too. So just don't take it so seriously!

Don't Be Too Aggressive

This is along the same lines as being too serious about online dating. When you are too aggressive, it scares off potential dates. What I mean about being too aggressive is when you approach someone with a message or two, send the phone number immediately, and insist on a phone call and a date at that time. Whoa! Slow down there, buddy! I don't even know your name yet!

I've literally had guys send a few messages on the instant messenger provided on the date site and ask to meet up right that moment. Ummm... no. If you are too aggressive, you are going to scare off most people. If you don't scare that person off, you are either some master online flirter or it is more likely you are dealing with a psycho that is all about hooking up instantly. I doubt that is what you are looking for, so make sure you do not scare off your potential date.

Another classic overly aggressive mistake is when someone bursts out with, "You are what I've been looking for my entire life!" or "I can so see myself with you forever!" yet you've never even been out on one date. Dude, you've got to calm down! You can't tell much just from talking to someone online. Sometimes you can't even tell much just by talking on the phone. What if you are telling me how much you love me, yet when you finally meet me, I have some really funky body odor going on? Then what? Now, I would like to think I smell just lovely... I use a number of wonderful Bath & Body Works products, but hypothetically speaking, I could be a real stinker. You don't know me, so don't talk about our future until we actually meet each other in the present time.

Eventually, You Do Need to Meet

The exact opposite of the overly aggressive online dater is the too timid online dater. This is the person you've been talking to online for weeks and you still haven't met. What is going on? What is he waiting for? When is he giving that number? When is he asking about meeting up at Applebee's for lunch? Come on, dude!

There are a number of reasons why a person might be shy. Fear of rejection is one of the main reasons. Sometimes a few hints need to be dropped. If you are being overly timid, but some hints have been coming your way, you need to strike while the iron is hot. After all, that person is not going to wait forever. New people approach online daters everyday. Of course, maybe some online conversations is really all that person is ever going to do. Perhaps there is even a spouse and this is one way to safely flirt without getting caught. You never know what is going on at the other end of that online conversation you are having. This is why I am still saying - don't get too serious!

Not Everyone is Playing Games

One of the biggest cliches I see written in profiles is: Looking for a girl who is not into playing games. Wow, a lot of online daters must be playing some games or else this wouldn't be listed. Oh wait! No, maybe you are being a little sensitive or just simply scaring off some folks.

Just because a girl does not respond to your message does not mean she is playing games. Just because a guy does not answer his phone when you try to call him the first time does not mean he is playing games. People have lives. They do not always respond to your messages or pick up every call. Some people are just getting way to sensitive out there! Calm down and give people the opportunity to respond to you.

Don't get grumpy and take out your anger on the people who are looking to have a fun dating experience. Just because some chick dumped you last month because she was "playing games" does not mean the girl you are talking to tonight is going to do the same thing. If you have a poor attitude though, you will be rejected again. Then you can just say, "Oh, she was playing games." It is an old, tired excuse. Sometimes people are just a bad match. Don't get angry about it because then your bitterness will scare off some good daters.

Read Every Profile Before Approaching Someone

Save yourself a lot of time and embarrassment, and make sure to read a person's profile entirely. Don't just approach someone with no information about that person. Furthermore, don't ask an embarrassing question like, "Do you have any pets?" if the girl you approach rambles on for 4 paragraphs in her profile about her cat. Clearly, you are not going to win her over now.

Also, you don't want to just talk to someone because that person is attractive. If you wanted to talk to attractive people, yet not bother getting to know them, you could do that at the bar. The purpose of online dating is to really get to know someone. If you don't read the profile, you might not realize you are talking to someone who goes to church every Sunday when you are a total atheist. Perhaps you are a conservative, yet you are hitting on a total feminist who supports gay rights and is still crying over Hillary Clinton losing the election (yes, I am talking about me - stopping hit on me, conservative guys).

If you really read someone's profile, it can prevent you from making a foolish mistake. Also, it makes it seem like you really care when you can discuss some things she may be interested in. Online dating is about getting to know another person. It is not about just hitting on anyone that you see is online.

Making an actual connection with someone and not scaring the hell out of them is the way online dating should be. You don't have to pay to use an online dating site to make it work for you. There are plenty of people out there that are awesome and waiting to talk to you. You just need to not take the adventure so seriously. Be patient with potential dates. Don't overshare with them. Ask your potential date out after you've talked online for a while. I'll bet when you do those things, great opportunities will come your way. If not, at least you should get some funny dating stories out of the deal.


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