Dating > 30 Dating Tips for Online Dating

30 Dating Tips for Online Dating

By BARBARA LANE
Published: April 2, 2009

1. HAVE FUNHowever seriously you may take the subject of finding a match, remember what dating really is: meeting singles, socializing and spending time with people who may or may not light the flame in you.

You’re there to discover. The process of discovery can and will be fun in itself, if you let it be.

You’ll certainly appear more attractive if you’re not taking yourself TOO seriously, so don’t allow your “quest” to interfere with your enjoyment of the communication and interaction on offer.

Dating, looking, or chatting online are pleasurable and exciting activities, so ENJOY!

2. BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANTBe very clear with yourself about your specific requirements in online dating to avoid misunderstandings, mixed messages and wasted time. Are you interested in finding your soul-mate, your one true love for a lifetime commitment, or do you simply want an erotic encounter? If the latter, are you willing to be honest about that with those you meet? Is dating to be creative leisure, a playful pastime, or do you envisage being married within two years? If you know precisely what you want, you can be concise in passing that information on. Think carefully about whether you are prepared to be involved with someone who already has children; someone who is currently married; someone who lives a distance from you. If the answer is “No” to any of these questions, make that clear in your profile.

3. BE PREPARED FOR DATINGRaise your confidence and deepen your relaxation levels. Avoid negative friends. Go shopping and treat yourself to new clothes or even a new image – but make sure it’s one you can live with. Remember, people do appreciate appearances. Get fit and healthy so you’ll feel and look your best. Pay attention to personal hygiene. Laugh a lot. Most importantly of all, do anything and everything that makes you feel good about yourself.

4. INCLUDE PHOTOSProfiles that include photos invariably receive up to ten times more attention than those without. Including a photo does appear to be critical to successful online dating. Part of the reason for this may be the “honesty factor”: those browsing the site can see that it’s a real person who is prepared to show their real face.

Ensure that your first photo is a head shot, and that it shows you smiling.

Be prepared for the photos that you are intending to add to your profile, taking care with lighting (indirect light is best for portrait shots), and with clothes and hair.

Make sure the photos are recent; don’t include old or out-of-date photos!

Do include a few candid shots showing you doing things you like to do. These shots can help to make you appear more accessible, and are a great way of giving extra, graphic information to potential partners about your hobbies, your likes and dislikes or extracurricular activities!

Update your photos often! Doing this can help to move your profile to the top in searches so that more singles will see you. It also shows other singles that you are active on the site, which in turn portrays you as confident, relaxed and enthusiastic about your online dating experience.

5. WRITE AN INTERESTING PROFILEThink carefully about what you are going to write in your profile, and if you need help then don’t be afraid to get it. Try to ensure there are no spelling mistakes in what you have written about yourself.

Many people use only an online name, but revealing your first name (first name ONLY) in your profile will make you appear more open and honest.

Keep your description of yourself short, but honest. No-one wants your life story at this stage.

Keep it upbeat and positive.

Never reveal information about previous relationships in your profile.

It’s usually best not to include anything overly personal here, and a little humour certainly doesn’t go astray. Keep it light.

You might want to include your profession, but not where you work.

You may name the city you live in, but not, of course, give your address.

If you are looking for relationship dating and have children, you may wish to mention them.

It is very important to explain in your profile just what you are looking for, whether it is a life partner, a soul-mate, intimate encounters on a short-term basis, friendships, or dating as creative leisure, but do it briefly, without going into details.

Your profile also provides a perfect opportunity to deflect those things you know you are not looking for. For example, you may be definite that you will not want contact from married men, or from people living more than a hundred kilometres from you. Be Clear and concise.

Likes and dislikes can be touched upon, as can religious or political affiliations.

Whatever you do, don’t brag. Modesty and honesty are the keys to successful profiles.

6. BE HONESTIf you are looking for relationship dating, the importance of honesty cannot be overstated. Lies lose relationships.

But even if your plan is only a little illicit chat online, dishonesty can be easily discovered and is listed as one of the top turn-offs.

Above all, do not misrepresent your appearance.

There have been endless cases of ruined relationships or spoiled potential trysts because one party misrepresented him or herself. By the time you know you really want this person, it may be too late unless you have been reasonably honest from the start.

Be honest with yourself (and others, even if it’s very private) about your goals and desires in the dating game so that you can get what you really want.

7. TIPS ON SENDING YOUR FIRST EMAILMake sure your initial email is simple and brief (a couple of paragraphs maximum).

Ensure you are conveying a positive and interesting image.

Don’t give too much away in this first contact; leave a bit of mystery.

Never give out personal information like your full name, address, telephone number or email address in first contact emails.

Use a little humour if you can. Keep it light and upbeat.

Never boast. It’s a big turn-off. Be modest, but positive.

Don’t focus on looks; rather refer to the profile, to common interests or activities, likes or dislikes (but don’t expound on the dislikes too much).

Include a request of “Tell me more”.

Remember: keep it short; keep it simple.

8. UNDERSTAND SAFETY PROTOCOLS IN INTERNET DATINGOnline dating is safe, fun and enjoyable, so let’s make sure it stays that way. All we need to do is to follow a few basic precautions.

Understanding internet safety protocols is not just a matter for women and girls. Men also need to protect their privacy, and can gain great advantage from understanding safety advice given to women, in order to avoid misreading situations and mistaking normal safety precautions for rejection.

Mostly, online dating safety just requires common sense, but here are a few ideas.

And guys, this is what women are being advised to do, so if you know this you might not feel rejected when she doesn’t reply immediately to your email or accept your offer of a lift home.

Keep personal information private. It is essential that we take basic precautions to protect our privacy on the internet. Do not give your home phone number, address or private email address to anyone you don’t know and trust very well. Use the internal emails, voice messaging, and video messaging on the site, which are safe and private.

Create a free email account specifically for online dating contacts. This way, if you want to take things a step further and you’re asked for your email address you’ll be able to give one, yet still keep your home email address private.

Use mobile, not home phone when you do have phone contact.

Take your time. Never let anyone pressure you in any way. Don’t take anything at face value. Ask lots of questions. Some dating guides will have “timing suggestions” like: Don’t answer an email for three days and never on weekends; never sleep together on the first date; keep the first date to less than two hours etc. Personally, I think adhering to strict timing rules is really unnecessary as long as you are not going to be pressured into anything; however it certainly can be useful to be aware of them. Have a list of questions you are going to ask yourself before attempting a meeting. For example:

  • Do I feel I know this person well?
  • Do I trust this persn?
  • Have they answered all my questions?
  • Have we spoken on the phone enough?
  • Have I seen photos and video footage?
  • Do I have back-up plans with a friend in place?
  • Have I been pressured in any way?
  • See a photo before meeting. See lots of photos, if possible. With the best of modern technology you can enjoy video dating and get to know them even better before arranging a meeting.

    Use public places for first dates. Lunch hour dates on workdays are great because they come with an automatic time limit, and meeting for coffee is a cool way to start, too. Carry your mobile.

    Arrange your own transport to and from the date. If possible, get a friend to drop you off and pick you up. If it’s a long distance away: arrange, confirm and pay for your own accommodation beforehand.

    Tell a friend your arrangements. Show them photos and the profile. If possible, arrange to ring them during the date to let them know everything is okay.

    Trust your instincts and your intuition. If you don’t feel trusting, don’t go ahead with it. If you don’t trust your own judgement, get a second opinion. Don’t give too much away if the contact tells you little about him or her self. Remember, you don’t owe them anything.

    Don’t get drunk.

    Have fun. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it. Only be with people who make you feel good about yourself.

    9. UNDERSTAND ONLINE DATING ETIQUETTEDo a little research to understand the basics of online dating etiquette.

    Mainly it’s a matter of keeping it fun. You don’t have to worry about being polite or formal. It’s okay to tease a little. Try to avoid innuendos. It’s okay for girls to initiate contact. Get to know the person really well before meeting them, and speak on the phone a few times first. Avoid overt sexuality at first exchange. If you don’t like them, block them. And, if rejected, don’t ask for explanations!

    10. SHOW YOUR SENSE OF HUMOURYour sense of humour can be a major attracting force. People are always looking out for others who find the same sorts of things funny. It’s not just a matter of having a sense of humour; the style of appreciated humour varies from one person to another, and people are attracted to those with similar appreciation. So, let your fancy be tickled, and your funny-bone hang free!

    11. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONSNobody wants to be given the third degree or feel like they are being interviewed for a position, but without going to that extreme, ask questions freely, especially if you are thinking of taking things a step further. You’d want to know a fair bit about the contact before giving them your mobile number, for example. Talk a lot with them, making sure it’s a fair exchange of information. Don’t let them ask all the questions, or in the end they’ll know all about you while you know little about them.

    12. ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONSQuestions about imaginary or hypothetical situations can be really useful and can tell you a great deal about a person, as can practical open-ended questions like, “Where do you see yourself in two years time?”

    A few examples that will tell you a lot about how he or she thinks are:

    • If you could teach a class of children anything at all, what would you teach them, and why?
    • What would you put in a time capsule to be opened in one hundred years?
    • How would you design your ideal home?
    • Who, living or dead, would you most like a conversation with where you could ask whatever you wanted?
    • What would you do if you didn’t have to worry at all about expenses for a year?
    • What would you do if you won lotto?
    • 13. DON’T PARADE YOUR BAGGAGEDon’t complain about unfaithful ex-partners, failed relationships, child maintenance payments etc. It’s a huge turn-off. Don’t discuss previous affairs. If you are going to talk about your online dating experiences, be positive, without arousing jealousy.

      14. PRACTISE LISTENINGPractise listening, and remember. Deep listening is difficult to do online, but can be practised when you actually meet the contact. However you can still listen online with deeper awareness; read between the lines, and remember what you’ve learned about a person. People really appreciate a good listener and if you ask questions later that show you have remembered details they have told you, you will be sure to make an impression.

      15. LOOK YOUR BESTDon’t wait for the first date to start paying attention to your appearance. Some aspects of appearance (particularly teeth, hair and nails) take constant attention over a period of time to show real improvement. Start now. Looking good gives you confidence that shows in your voice, your posture and your attitude.

      16. DON’T MAKE YOURSELF TOO AVAILABLEPeople generally enjoy the mystery and the thrill of the chase in the dating game, so don’t be too quick to pass that stage. Don’t rush to answer emails or make decisions. You should never appear desperate. Don’t make yourself available every night of the week, or available without notice. Take your time with the development of each stage, but when you have made arrangements, be punctual.

      17. IF A CONTACT DOESN’T SUIT YOU, DUMP THEM QUICKLY BUT POLITELYOnline dating is designed to be safe in that you can easily block an offensive contact. If you have taken it further, and are in phone or personal contact before you have realised there is a problem, you will need to be strightforward and direct with them that you want no further contact.

      Be polite, but don’t be pressured into feeling you owe them anything (you don’t), or try to “save their feelings”.

      18. REMEMBER TO ENJOY NOWDon’t let your desires, plans or hopes for the future spoil what is happening NOW. You cannot do another person’s thinking for them, and it’s vital that you do not get too caught up in the possibilities of the outcome, at the expense of the present. Relax, and take pleasure in what is happening.

      19. BE CLOTHES-CONSCIOUS, AND USE A FULL-LENGTH MIRRORWomen tend to be more clothes-conscious than men, so guys: spruce up! You do want to make a good impression and be successful. Both men’s and women’s shapes change over time, and what worked well for us ten years ago may not now. Use a full-length mirror, and don’t be afraid to try a few outfits to see what really suits best. Don’t guess or presume, start looking and seeing what others see, so that you can make the most of it

      20. PRACTISE GOOD PERSONAL HYGIENE HABITSDon’t laugh, and don’t presume it’s self-evident. A lot of people (especially those who have lived alone for a period of time) don’t place nearly enough emphasis on personal hygiene, and it always tops the lists of reasons dates did not work out. Wash your hands after every bathroom visit, whether anyone is watching or not! Keep your nails clean and well-manicured; your hair clean and styled; your body and clothing clean and good-smelling. The nose often detects what the eye doesn’t, and a date can easily turn sour where the pheromones don’t get a chance, even if the reason isn’t apparent.

      21. LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT BODY LANGUAGE, FLIRTING CUES AND THEIR MEANINGSMost people read body language automatically, without even being aware of it. If you are aware of basic body language signals and flirting cues, you have two advantages: (a) You will be aware if you are sending the wrong signal via your own body language, and (b) you will be able to read another’s body signals when your mind is uncertain.

      If you are sitting with your arms crossed and your legs crossed, it may be through nervousness, but may easily be read as being a self-protective gesture. Also, if you are aware of what your posture is saying, you can change how you feel by changing your posture. It works both ways. Try this experiment: Sit with your arms and legs crossed. Now, Lean back with your hands behind you head, and uncross your legs. Notice how you just automatically breathed in and relaxed a bit?

      Did you know that a woman’s playing with her hair is a flirting cue? That a person who mimics your posture likes you?

      Information about flirting cues and body language is easily available in books or on the internet.

      22. MONEYTalking about money equals entering a danger zone. There are so many dating dislikes and general sensitivities surrounding money. Beyond using the term “financially secure” if it applies to you, try to avoid talking about money. You may be perceived as a braggart if you admit to having money or insoluble and whining about it if you don’t. We are sure you don’t want someone who wants to be with you just for what you can provide.

      Remember, date within your budget!

      23. IF REJECTED, DON’T ASK FOR EXPLANATIONS; MOVE ON!Nobody has to explain their reasons for not wanting to be with you or talk to you. If you are rejected, don’t ask why. Online dating should be fun. Just move on.

      24. REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT JUST THERE TO PLEASE THEMHaving put effort into looking our best, and behaving in a pleasing manner, it can be easy to forget that we are searching for something too. Check to see if your needs are being met.

      25. SEEK SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCESWe often look for those things we have in common with others, but shouldn’t underestimate the value of differences. Opposites can be complimentary. For example, if I don’t share your interest in electronics and you don’t share my interest in Japanese cooking, that’s fine. Perhaps I can make a Japanese feast while you fix the DVD player!

      26. AVOID RUSHING INTO REAL FACE TO FACE CONTACT WITH OTHER SINGLESTry the automated match finder. Take your time and put the internal email system to good use. Move on to voice messaging if you like, as a person’s voice can make an enormous difference to the way you feel about them. SMS messaging and video messaging are fantastic, safe ways of taking it a step further. The option of video speed dating will really give you a clearer concept of who you are dealing with. Spend plenty of time getting to know other singles online, asking as much as you feel you want to know, before taking it out in public.

      27. IF IT IS NOT WORKING, DO A LITTLE RESEARCHIf you are having difficulty gaining or maintaining contact with other singles, do a little research, but never at another person’s expense. Don’t ask for explanations of rejections. Most people are not able to hear the real reasons for rejections without reacting badly, so of course nobody wants to explain their reasons. And they should not have to.

      Research online dating etiquette and online dating guides and try following their suggestions.

      Try new approaches for yourself. Try new photos. Toss out those tired old opening lines if they are not helping you to achieve your dating goals. Try a new initial email, or rewrite your profile. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!

      28. IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED, SHIFT YOUR FOCUSOkay, so you’re really interested; you’ve put a lot of effort into how you appear and you are probably nervous and wondering how you are being perceived. NOW is the time to shift your focus, to see their effect on you. This is a great way to overcome nervousness Ask yourself some questions that will help you to shift your focus.
      • Does this person make me feel good about myself?
      • Does my outlook with this person continue to gain in positivity, or is it faltering? If so, why?
      • Do I like this person’s clothes sense, appearance, attitudes?
      • Do I feel as if I am being heard in this situation?
      • 29. ADJUST YOUR BEHAVIOUR TO SUIT YOUR GOALFlirting is great fun and on the internet you can get away with some serious teasing while keeping safe, but be aware of your goals, and how your behaviour is affecting them. If your goal is relationship dating, avoid overt sexuality or sexual innuendo, particularly in early exchanges. If your goal is the most erotic encounter imaginable arranged as soon as possible, don’t waste time engaged with in-depth discussions of the best ways of treating your contact’s mother’s arthritis! Have clarity about your goals.

        30. BE PREPARED TO ALTER YOUR PLAN IF NECESSARYDespite our best-laid plans, sometimes the universe has something even better laid out for us. There are times when we think we know what we want, yet find something else and discover it has made us happier than anything we planned possibly could. If you come to scoff, then stay to play; or come to play but fall in love...well, it’s never too late for a new plan. Whatever you do, ENJOY!

        Comments

        1. Susanne on April 2, 2009

        Wow, this is so comprehensive - thanks for all the amazing advice! But, where's number 30? I only see 29? Maybe number 30 was going to be the key to my success :)

        Any Comments?


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