Online Dating Do's and Don'ts

by Jason Tudor

Online dating might be a pretty new way to meet fellow single ladies and gents, but it has been around long enough for some pretty fundamental rules to develop. Admittedly most of you are following these rules, but maybe you’re freshly-single or finally a member of the PC-owners club (formerly known as nerds). So what are these oh-so-important rules of online dating? Read on and learn, grasshopper:

  1. DO give a picture.

    This is the most important rule, and should be obvious. And yet, the far majority of people on dating sites have a shadow with "your picture here" in place of that great photo of themselves. Don’t have a picture? Get a friend to take one.

  2. DON’T write long emails the first time.

    Getting an epic length introductory note from someone signals "way too much time on their hands". It should be like a first date: say just enough to separate yourself from the masses, then get the heck out.

  3. DO sign up to multiple sites.

    This just makes sense, as the more places you have a profile, the more people there will be reading it. You don’t have to necessarily be paying for them, though. Just get your info on there, and if you get a hit, it’s datin’ gravy.

  4. DON’T move too fast.

    If you’ve found someone interesting through email, don’t meet up with them in person before you’re comfortable. Part of this is for safety reasons, part of it is just because the limited ability of the internet to convey intimacy makes a slow pace more natural.

  5. DO try a site before paying.

    There are a zillion dating sites out there. Some stink, some are great. Even the good ones have their differences. So what makes you think the first one you found is the right one? Sign up for a few and poke around for a bit before committing your hard-earned cash.

  6. DON’T give out too much information.

    This is a safety thing. Just like real life, there the net has its own weirdo’s. So keep your real email, phone number, and street address to yourself. Start with personal emails, than after a while you can phone. But never give that address until after you’ve met in the flesh and you’re pretty assured he or she isn’t something really scary, like a stamp collector.

  7. DO be aggressive.

    Sitting there and waiting for someone else to find your profile and work up the courage to contact you is no fun. Send an email, or if you’re not sure and are only a little curious, use those little quick-communicators (winks/smiles/nods, etc.) to show interest.

  8. DON’T be afraid of rejection.

    This is a tough one, but everyone has to deal with it at some point. If someone rejects you, don’t take it personally. There could be a million reasons for that guy or girl not responding or letting you know he or she isn’t interested. Since you’ve been being aggressive (see above!), there should be many more.

Of course, these are just the basics, but if you follow them you’ll have a productive and safe experience in online dating.

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