Following proper etiquette of online dating
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:02
Oh the woes of online dating! I am a serial online dater. The majority of men I’ve met and dated have been through some channel of the Internet. I’ve met great guys, I’ve met absolutely terrible men, but I’ve yet to meet the love of my life.
I started talking to boys online before I was 18, but I didn’t formally join a dating site until I did finally turn 18. My site of choice is Plenty of Fish. This is a free dating service with a multitude of communication options and fun, interesting ways to approach and meet new and different men.
Like I said, I’ve been on some great dates, and some not so great dates. I met my ex Mike when I was 19. I thought he was the hottest guy I’d ever seen, a chubby bad boy with dark hair and the cutest face. But it didn’t take long for that relationship to go bad. What Mike had failed to inform me of was his extensive substance abuse problem. It even got to the point where if Mike couldn’t get actual drugs from anywhere else, he’d steal my Ritalin pills while I was asleep, crush and snort them. I did fall stupidly in love with Mike, but it was more on a physical level than a deep emotional level. He was verbally and twice physically abusive.
I’ve had many first dates, but almost none of them has evolved into anything substantial, although I have made some friends from my experiences. But I’ve also learned some rules and etiquette of online dating. Let’s start with the photos department. Of course you need a picture that flatters you, but on the same hand it shouldn’t be so flattering that it is completely misleading of how you actually look. Be realistic about obvious flaws and don’t get too creative with those camera angles. Old pictures typically aren’t very good because people do tend to change physically over the years, even in the smallest, barely visible of ways. It’s also not a good idea to have random, attractive members of the opposite sex in the picture with you. If you’re trying to pick up a date, the person looking at your profile likely won’t be too keen on you having eight pictures with various men or women hanging off your arm.
Now for your profile. I know typically men have the hardest time creating a dating profile. And when they do manage to write one, there’s either a massive amount of red flags or general turn-offs throughout the entire thing. You want to sound like you have above a fifth-grade education, preferably even above a high school education, so bear in mind that spell check is very helpful and you should not be ashamed to use your spell check options. Also try and bring up basic conversational topics so that you can get those basics out of the way and you and your date can attempt to connect on a level above the very beginning. But on the same hand, don’t give every piece of your life story to the point that a conversation is no longer needed. Remember that a little mystery is sexy.
I recently ended a relationship that began through online dating. It went well for about a month, but in the end I realized that I wasn’t happy because I had not fully gotten to know the man before we jumped straight into a relationship. Be sure that you know what all is going on in this person’s life before you start making commitments that will hurt the person when you learn that their life isn’t what you thought it to be. Through no fault of his own, he had too much drama in his life that I preferred to not be a part of.
Finally, and most obviously, always be you. I know the idea of “catfishing” is becoming popular these days, and my thoughts are quite clear on the subject. It does neither party any good if one or both of you isn’t being perfectly honest about who you really are. Once feelings develop, they’re being based on who you’ve created yourself to be and not who you really are, and in the end one or both parties suffer from the lack of honesty. No matter what you feel is “wrong” with you, once you get to a good place in your friendship or relationship, open up about the less than flattering things about yourself that still need to be said. Keep an honest, flowing line of communication and it will get you much further than any lies and deceit ever could. And always be safe when meeting someone in person that you’ve met online. Agree to meet in a very public place, like a crowded restaurant and get to know the person before you meet in more private and potentially dangerous, places.
Joshlynn Wallace is a senior journalism major and a contributing writer for The Pine Log.