Friday, 28 October 2011

Dating: The How To... Online

I received a comment from dating, how to, and I realized that this needed a full blog.  I really love feedback and your comments.  It keeps my writing current and hopefully you the reader coming back to this site or maybe even bookmarking it as a favorite?  So onwards for the topic of internet dating and meeting people from the cyber land in person for the first time.  I have dated, met friends, and my current boyfriend all via the online world of internet dating.  I fully endorse this system of getting out there as an amazing tool if used correctly and I will elaborate on that shortly.  For this blog I have also sourced out some questions to a man who almost made a full time job of the online dating scene to ensure that the information provided will work for both sexes.

So first and foremost, breath, and relax.  I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but when I found myself single and very alone, it was my mom who suggested the online world.  I took her advice, poured myself a glass of wine and began to create my online profile.  I'm not sure if it was to booze or the nerves of putting myself into the online world of dating but suffice to say I learned a lot about myself.  I followed the structure that the dating site provided, answered all questions and uploaded a couple of photos.  Within a week I deleted the profile!  The main reason being is that the stuff I wrote about myself, based on the responses from the guys online, just wasn't who I really was.  Which brings me to a really critical point about the online world, it is so easy to write a profile depicting the person you think you are or want to be.  And this is exactly what I had inadvertently done.

In the back of my mind I knew I couldn't be objective about who I was, and I needed to figure out a few things.  I began to write a bit and really figure out what makes me me.  Two and a half weeks later I re wrote a profile and gave it another shot.  When I was able to write objectively and keep in mind that these are men I potentially want to meet I was more honest and upfront.  I know I stretched the truth in my first profile, so I am sympathetic with those who want to write about themselves in the best light possible.  But I would really recommend writing about the good and truthful attributes that make you so special and sexy to a possible mate, and just keep the rest to yourself.  No use lying as it's a dead end when you meet in person.

Next step is to have fun.  Possibly a harder one to do as the temptation to keep it really serious and find that soulmate can be very strong. But here's the reality, you will not and I quote here, "hit a home run the first time you get out there".  Online dating is a very specific skill set and it takes a bit of practice.  If you take it too seriously you will sink, you will get frustrated and you will not want to ever tell anyone that you met your partner online.  It's fun going through photos and checking out profiles, so don't kid yourself.  It's a great invention this online dating pool, as you get a photo and a few written words or a predefined survey that the anonymous person has filled out.  Are they a smoker? do they have kids? a car? and the list goes on.  These questions are things that you don't get to ask on a first date or in a bar, so there is an element that makes it easier to weed out people.  There are many tools built into this online system that if used correctly and in a fun way can give you some great experiences.

I'm going to give a few tips that helped me out and I hope will be valuable to someone out there too.  I firmly believe that an online dating site is like a great sorting hat.  That being said it's remarkably easy to sway and get swayed buy the written word.  One of the systems I implemented for myself was not to write back and forth more than a few times before setting up a meeting in person.  It is very easy to idealize an only person that you seem to click with over the net.  The studies have shown that there is a very specific chemistry that either occurs or just doesn't in a first time meeting.  It sucks when you have invested a month chatting with someone, you really feel that everything clicks, and then you meet, and bleh!  There is just nothing there.  And believe me this happened so freaking often to me that it prompted this meeting rule.

This goes hand in hand with a point that my "expert" mentioned which is that you can use this opportunity to meet new people.  Keep the online sweet and simple, use it as a filtering tool.  As well it was recommended to meet all sorts of people. especially those that you may not normally seek out.  I have met a few people online, that when we got together there was no chemistry, but still there was something awesome about them that made us continue a great friendship.  If you are having fun, you open the doors to new experiences and get to experience new people.  Plus if you are having fun with it, making mistakes is not so costly.  And guess what?  There are a tonne of mistakes to be made when meeting a person for the first time under these circumstances. 

Because of this some safeguards should be in place, especially for the female variety.  I always told a friend the time and location of each person I was meeting.  I even went so far as to have them on the phone while I waited for the guy to show up.  This ensured that if it was a total creep or I felt uncomfortable I had an very easy out.  Of course public places are a must.  This next tip is good to keep in mind both with the first meeting and the first date, and that is that for all Internets and purposes this is a total stranger.  Do not be afraid to walk away if they have outright lied about their appearance.  Who knows what else they could be lying about.  This warning is a bit dire, however safety is something to always consider and there is truth to online predators.

The last point as brought up by the comment that sparked this blog is about facebook and social media.  Learn from past mistakes and don't give out your facebook information.  This is a total stranger and these sites are for friends or family.  You open yourself up to a whole heap of uncomfortable outcomes by letting this person have access to your life in this way.  A few examples of why I don't encourage this sharing of information are as follows.  You are granting the person access to your information, even as simple as the way your friends interact with you online, this person is not a friend at this point.  Also you are giving the person permission to perceive you in a way that may not be the way you really are or as people who have known you for years do.  This goes hand in hand with not sending more than a few emails before meeting.  Its very easy to get sucked into reading into pictures or comments of a person you barely know, and projecting your own experiences into their online memories.  Very creepy, and of course this can lead directly into stalking of you or your friends. 

On that note, have fun firstly.  Be safe and enjoy the experience of meeting all these new people.  Of course if you meet a creep or have the worst date ever, write it down, or share it with your friends.  Look back on the adventure with as much fondness as you can, because you made it fun. Your life has new people in it because of this online world of dating.

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