Monday, May 13, 2013
Online Dating 101
I have a love hate relationship with online dating. Here is the thing: It has come a long way. My parents are still down on it and encourage me to meet people the "normal way." Unfortunately, there is no normal way anymore. But in my parents' defense, their idea of online dating is stuff they have seen on 20/20 about chat rooms and 50 year old dudes trying to seduce 15 year old girls. I think the stigma of being online is gone. Really, it is just "online meeting."
I have had several friends who have met and married someone they met on a dating site. I think these sites work because it is the quickest, easiest way to meet other people who are single and looking to date. I love being set up but it doesn't happen all the time. So if you just want to date a lot and meet people quickly--go online.
Here is my advice for the ladies about online dating. You men are on your own--just kidding. You know I can't wait to write my advice post for the menfolk.
1. Accept that there are no rules. Quit thinking that men will be honorable or abide by the societal norms of real life interaction. You can be messaging with a guy for weeks and he can disappear overnight. Poof. You will never hear from him again. Some guys will message and immediately ask you out. Others will want to message for months. (My least favorite thing in the world! Who needs a pen pal?!) Everyone has their own way of online dating.
2. Understand that most guys exaggerate in their profiles. On the LDS sites, people have to say how active in the church they are, etc. If they say they go to church "Always" that means most of the time. If they say "Sometimes" that means they never go. I have learned not to put too much stock in anything people put in their profile. They probably wrote it years ago. A lot can change.
3. If a dude lies anywhere on his profile or is cagey or doesn't answer questions, bail now. I love it when guys put their age as 42 then later in their profile they will admit to being 51 but everyone tells them they look a lot younger. Riiiiight. If they are willing to lie to you about something as insignificant as their age on a dating website, imagine what they will lie to you about down the road.
4. Avoid the guys who write "just ask" instead of answering questions. If they can't sum up what they do for work in single sentence, I don't need to go any further. No long explanation needed.
5. If a guy tells you he is funny, he's not. If he is funny, he will show you he is funny in his profile.
6. Always meet at the restaurant for the first date. Never have the guy pick you up at your house. Two reasons for this. A. You don't want to be murdered. and B. if he is a dud, you can make a quick get-away without an awkward doorstep scene.
7. Don't give out your cell number until you have messaged with someone on the site for a bit. That way, if you can see that the guy isn't funny, or is looking for a hook-up, or admits to having an affair or some other deal breaker--it is easier to unload him without him having access to you in real life via your phone.
8. Never, never, never send a "sexy" or inappropriate photo of yourself to anyone. I am a lawyer so I am very mindful of leaving evidence. This applies to dating in general..not just online dating. If a dude asks for a racy/sexy pic. Drop him quick!
9. A picture is worth a thousand words. Don't even message with someone who doesn't have a picture (there is probably a reason there is no pic and it is never good). If you are a girl, you should include at least one full body shot otherwise (I am told) men assume you are out of shape if all you have are face shots. For men it is the opposite problem. Men are often guilty of posting pics of themselves doing extreme sports or they will have a picture with five other people and you have to squint to see which one they are.
10. Don't try to be something you're not. It will come back to bite you. I get tired of everyone pretending to be so outdoorsy in their profiles. We all love to be outside but 99% of the time we are all just doing normal stuff..going to work, driving kids around, going out to eat and to a movie. In my profile I said "I am not outdoorsy unless shopping at City Creek is outdoorsy." I like hiking and skiing, etc but I am definitely not a nature girl and don't want to have to live up to that if some dude wants to go camping every weekend. I read one guy's profile that was so refreshing. He described himself as the "indoorsy type." He loves air conditioning, good tv and fine dining--so honest!
11. Spend some time on your profile. It will pay off in the end. Try to show your personality and what makes you fun and unique. Try to put some things in there that guys can ask you about or comment on when they message you.
12. Don't put pictures of your kids on your profile, don't say how many kids you have or their ages, and remember that there are some scary Larry's out there looking to prey on single moms.
13. Do your homework. I always always find someone in common who knows the guy and can vouch for him. It is a small dating world out there, especially in Utah. I haven't found a single guy yet who I couldn't get the scoop on .
14. Finally, be proactive. I usually let the guys message me first but I have had my best luck when I found a guy I thought looked promising and sent him a message. Guys love that. But then I let them take it from there. They have to ask me out and be the man from that point on!
That's it! I could talk all night about this. I love asking guys I go out with about their experience with meeting girls online. So funny to hear about it from the other side.