Internet Dating 101: A Smart Way to Date Online
Everyone seems to be looking for someone, whether it be for a relationship, friendship or just hooking up. There’s been some debate as to how safe internet dating really is. I say, it’s as safe as you make it, just like meeting strangers at a bar or a club, there’s always a risk.
I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had any tragic encounters when it came to internet dating and I’ve done a fair share of it. I’ve met every single ex and current boyfriend online, except one. The one that I met through friends actually turned out to be the only regret I’ve had in terms of relationships, but that’s a whole other story.
Over the years I’ve developed a way to screen guys that I plan to meet up with. I don’t end up dating or being in a relationship (very few actually) with all of them but most of the time I do end up with a new friend (just friends).
Depending on what type of relationship you’re looking for this might not be the route to go. If you’re looking for a meaningful relationship with sincere people keep reading. If you’re looking for a booty call this isn’t the way to do it and you wouldn’t make it past the first week.
First thing to do is find a site for socializing and networking, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dating site as long as there’s a big pool of people to mingle with. A few places to check out would be www.match.com, www.myspace.com and www.asianavenue.com or adultfriendfinder. Once you’ve signed up with a place, create your profile or page. Now, when you create your profile make sure to have a nice clear photo of yourself, at least one head shot and one full body. If you don’t want to attract perverted people, I’d suggest not putting up any half-naked pictures of yourself.
The rest of the profile should be easy, just be honest about yourself, be up front about what you’re looking for, what you like and don’t like, etc. If you have a blog that’s open to the public, maybe link it to your profile. Blogs are a good way for others to really know what type of person you are before actually conversing with you. Social sites like Myspace and Asianavenue come with blogs, if the site you signed up with doesn’t have a blog I’d suggest signing up for one with www.xanga.com.
Once you start getting messages and e-mails, take time to read them and go to these people’s pages to find out more about them. If you like what you see and like what they have to say keep up the online communication. I would suggest not giving anyone your phone number until you’ve been conversing via e-mail and instant messaging for at least two weeks. A safe way to see and speak to someone without having to give away your number just yet is through instant messaging. Yahoo, MSN, AIM and Skype are instant messaging services that come with voice chatting and web casting. So if you have a microphone or a webcam or both, I’d suggest trying that route out for a few weeks before meeting up with anyone. This way you get to hear what the person really sounds like and see what they look like as well, that way you at least know their true gender.
After you’ve done the e-mails and instant messaging for a few weeks, you can move on to the next step, giving your number (only if you’re comfortable). I’d suggest talking to someone via phone for at least a month before you decide to meet with anyone. It’s okay to talk to several people at a time, you’re just getting to know these people, just be honest about it. It’s also okay to meet up with several people and get to know them as well, it’s just like dating, as long as you’re open and honest about it.
When you’re ready for the meet-up stage always meet up during the day and always pick a busy location with plenty of people around. Make sure at least one person knows what you’re doing and where you’ll be at in case anything happens, if it’s more comfortable for you maybe take a friend along. The best places to meet up are coffee places like Starbucks or a bookstore like Barnes and Noble or the mall. The best time to meet up is probably mid-day, not to early or too late into the day and on a weekend, Fridays and Saturdays are good because it’s usually the days people are out and about the most.
Keep the first meeting fun and simple, you’re meeting someone for the first time don’t rush it. I find that people’s personalities are different in person than it is online, sometimes the first impression is the most accurate and sometimes it’s not. I would keep meeting in public places only, at least until after the third meet-up. If you’re comfortable by the fourth meet-up, it’s okay to meet up elsewhere. I would recommend not letting the person know where you live until at least after a month and half, just to be safe.
By the end of this whole process it should be about two months, where you go from there is up to you now. This isn’t an idiot-proof process to finding your soul mate, it’s just a smart way to go about meeting people online. It may lead to a meaningful relationship, it may not. The important part is that you do it in safe way and are always honest about your intentions. I’ve been internet dating since I was 17 and I’ve made many friends through it, have had mainly long-term relationships that may have ended, but ended on good terms. I’m currently in a relationship with a guy a met online and we’ve been together nearly three years now.
Related: Hot Tips | Body Language | Single Dads | Dating Profile | Courtship | Avoiding Turnoffs | Dating Trends | Shy People | Dating Rules | Senior Tips | Reality Shows | Do’s and Don’ts | Scandalous Shows | Top 5 Sites | Free Online Dating | Christian Dating | Gay