Online dating is a much more normal these days, with new research showing that within the next 20 years more than half of all couples will meet online!
But if your new to online dating, regardless of how common it has become, you may still have a few questions or worries about putting yourself out there in the online world. Putting yourself out there is hard full-stop, but with a few helpful tips and words of advise, you’ll have the info. you need to approach online dating with excitement, feeling totally clued-up!
What you need to know:
1. First Dates Are Different
Regardless of how much you’ve talked to someone online before meeting them for a date, the fact of the matter is that you are doing exactly that: meeting them. For the first time! This means that it’s a good idea to keep the first date short and sweet, unless you instantly decide that you want them to be your life partner (unlikely!!). Use the first date to gauge whether or not you want to see this person again and don’t have expectations that are too high. Think of the online-dating-first-date as more of a dating prequel. Once you know you like them, THEN commit to spending more time together at a later date.
Continuing from number 1; you will need to be prepared to meet-and-greet a lot of brand new faces. This is a positive, but it does take some getting used to and can of course be uncomfortable at first. But you will grow accustomed to it, and chances are your date is feeling similar! So it gives you something to bond over. Talking about your nerves or how new you are to online dating can sometimes work to break the ice, as your often in the same boat.
3. There are MANY Fish in the Sea
When you meet someone the ‘old-fashioned’ way, chances are you already like them enough to agree to go out with them; even if that’s just from their general manner of being, conversations with the friends they are with, or a shared interest you discover as you start up conversation – you gather enough info. to want to see them again! However, with online dating you have to do the weeding-out (or keeping in) process more consciously, reading profiles, sending messages, looking at photos and then deciding to meet face to face to essentially confirm everything you think you gathered was correct! The beauty of online dating is really in giving you the opportunity to encounter a large mix of different people in an instant, but this does mean that there will be a lot of people who you might talk to that are not right for you. And you you may meet these ‘wronguns’ in a more concentrated amount of time, given the sheer number of people you are now interacting with – you might find yourself overwhelmned. But don’t give up – with every meeting you find out more about what you want and what you don’t. They are always new people to meet! Don’t give up. The right person will be worth the effort. And when you find those good guys, the not-so-good connections seem to fade away!
4. Profile vs. Person
The person you’re faced with over coffee may well not be much like how you imagine them based upon their profile information. It’s important not to invest too much hope or expectation in a date before it’s happened – whether intentionally or not, the information someone chooses to share about themselves online might not always be in line with how they present themselves in real life! But don’t worry – a date is just a date. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere if they are not what you expected or wanted!
Some people will get loads of messages from matches they simply are not interested in, while others might get replies that are few and far between. Both of these online dating experiences are normal and completely ok. Obviously if you’re getting NO replies there might be something key missing from your profile, but it’s certainly ok if you don’t get a response from everyone you think you might click with. So once again, it’s really important to remain reserved until you actually have a rapport going with somebody. And on the other side of things, do NOT feel that you have to reply to every message you receive! You’re entirely in charge of your experience, and if you don’t like the vibe of someone that’s more than enough reason for you to decide not to get involved. If you have any reservations, don’t follow up.
6. Stay Safe Online
It’s exciting when those great conversations online turn into something a bit more significant. But remember, when you take the plunge and head out on your first date with someone new, its always important to stay safe. Following a few simple rules can help to make sure you have a fun and safe dating experience that you will both remember for the right reasons! Meet in a public place where you know lots of other people we be around. Choose an area you know well, that is easy to get to and get back from safely. Always tell someone when and where you’re going arrange to call them at a set time to confirm everything is going well. Pre-plan your route home, and make sure you give yourself enough time to get that last train home! Even if the date is going really well, there can always be a next time! Make sure your mobile phone has plenty of battery so that you can call someone if you need to. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, go home…Make your excuses and don’t feel bad about it. If your date is worth their salt, they’ll completely understand your causation and will hopefully be taking similar steps themselves.
7. Always be yourself