We’ve put together some tips to help when searching for online relationships, whatever you’re after. But go forward carefully!
Technology has changed the way people meet. Whether we’re looking for a life partner, friendship or something more casual, many relationships now start online. The number of people using social networking sites has steadily increased over the past 10 years. And online dating is now a socially acceptable approach to finding a partner.
Online dating wasn’t always this easy. In the beginning, the practice of marketing oneself online and meeting ‘complete strangers’ through the internet was widely shunned. It was often seen as a desperate alternative for those who struggled to meet people in the ‘real world.’
Admitting you had met your partner online was often, and not so long ago, a little embarrassing.
That’s all changed. Many people have found that an online forum allows them a world of potential new partners, and a freedom to market themselves as they choose.
We’ve put together some tips for safe and successful online relationship hunting. By taking things slowly and using common sense, online dating can be a fun and rewarding process. We hope the following suggestions will help.
Before going online, you might want to prepare yourself
- Be ready to date. If you’re not over a previous relationship, this may not be the time to put yourself on the world wide web. Or if you’re feeling stressed or unmotivated, you may not be emotionally ready to meet new people. Wait until you feel relaxed and confident.
- Think about what you’re looking for. Make a wish list, if that helps. What kind of partner do you really want?
- Don’t construct a fantasy partner. Most people are not fantasies: they are normal people, just like you.
- Research the available dating sites. They are not all the same! Some sites focus more on longer-term relationships while others focus on short-term hook-ups. Find the site that promotes what you’re looking for.
Marketing yourself to the world
- Keep your profile simple. Too much information can be off-putting. You wouldn’t tell a first date in a coffee shop your entire life story so why do that in your profile? Your profile is a potential partner’s first impression of you. Don’t give too much away. Keep things simple.
- Your photo should be welcoming. If possible, choose a photo that hints at your personality. Avoid flat or posed images. Holiday photos are not usually best. Choose a photo that captures the real you.
- Be honest in your profile. Yes, many people market themselves online in a misleading way, but being dishonest in your profile means that whatever relationship you eventually create will be dishonest from the start. And there’s nothing more embarrassing than going on a first date in the real world when your profile photo is 15 years old. You might get caught out. Be yourself.
- Weave your personality into your profile. Don’t tell people who you are, show them. Write carefully and creatively, using your own voice.
- Leave room for curiosity. Let potential partners become interested in learning more about you. Why did you spend a month last year in Vietnam? What is is about John Waters films that you like so much? This will give you both something to talk about on your first date.
Diving into the ocean of online personal profiles
- Though you’ve been completely honest in your profile, allow some room for ‘creativity’ in the profiles that attract you. Accept that 39 probably means 43 and that I like going to parks on weekends! probably means I have kids. You won’t be disappointed later.
- Don’t expect success right away. Finding someone you connect with takes time. Enjoy the process of meeting people online, even the ones you decide not to meet face to face. The right one will come along eventually.
- Be proactive. Make the first move. Take a chance. If you’re going to sit and wait for someone to come over, you may as well be sitting in a bar.
- In potential partners’ profiles, ignore information about personality. Most people aren’t very good at promoting themselves accurately. Stick to the facts — age, location, job, education and personal interests. You’ll learn more about the character of online partners as you begin communicating with them.
- Try to get a sense of the tone of a potential partner’s profile. Sometimes you can learn a lot about someone from how they write.
- Avoid sharing certain personal details online. Never give your address or the place where you work to anyone until you’ve met them. If someone asks for personal information, keep in mind that you don’t have to oblige.
- Get used to rejection and be gentle when you’re doing the rejecting! Let other people down easily. Take the time to explain to disappointed fans that they are simply not what you’re looking for.
- Ignore rude behaviour online. Just as there are people you don’t want to know in the real world, there are people you don’t want to know online. Ignore them.
- For some people, meeting a potential new partner is the fun part. For others, this is the most stressful part of online dating. Either way, choose a place to meet where you will feel most comfortable. If you don’t like bars, choose a coffee shop, museum or park. A restaurant is not usually a good idea for a first date. If you don’t click with this stranger you’ve just met, you may get stuck waiting for the food to arrive and the bill to come. Choose a place that works for both of you.
- Let at least one person know where you’re going and who you intend to meet. Take your mobile phone with you. It’s always best to be safe.
- Don’t accept a lift from a new potential partner. Drive yourself or take public transport.
- Be prepared for three potential outcomes: you both fall in love at first site and you can’t wait to meet again, you both are left feeling pretty cold about the other and it just didn’t work out, or one of you likes the other but the other can’t wait to get back online. Think through how you might like to respond to any of these outcomes.
- Be aware that successful online dating means that a relationship will evolve into ‘real world dating’. Communication with a partner will move from online messaging to real-life face to face interactions. You’ll be learning about your new partner as the relationship unfolds without the medium of the internet. Be patient with a new relationship and go slowly.
- You (and maybe your new partner) will have to think about what to do with those social networking sites that have been part of your life in recent months. Some people find they miss online networking once a real relationship has been achieved.
So now you’re ready! The shame of online dating is gone. Everyday, people are actively looking for partners online. There is a great deal of information on online dating available on the internet. Basic principles include stay safe, go slowly, be yourself and have fun. And don’t let online relationships become the only relationships you have.
Sometimes successful relationships of any kind are difficult for some people. Relationship issues are one the most common reasons people use our services. More about problems with relationships can be found by clicking here.