Just before I met my beau of the past 10 years – I made a brief, yet bold foray into the online dating world. That universe was still relatively new at that point and not very many people I knew were doing it. In fact, so few that I felt pretty sheepish about telling anyone that I was.
The reason I even considered it in the first place was based solely on one particular single guys ad. He wrote with such wit and charm that I was immediately taken with him. His photo was intriguing too, albeit a bit hard to get a full sense of him from it. But it really didn’t matter – as we began to converse online, I could tell that he was a great possible match for me. He was curious, sweet, funny-as-hell and had a great phone voice. Eventually, we finally decided to meet.
I was unbelievably nervous as I approached the pub we had decided was to be the location of our first meeting. As I walked in, he immediately got up from where he was seated and came towards me. We hugged like old friends and proceeded to have a delightfully fun evening. But as for the sparks – it seemed to me like they somehow got trapped in the virtual world.
Although I certainly wouldn’t consider this a ‘fail’ of the online scene, and I now know lots of people who’ve have had grand success using this method – I did discover it probably wasn’t for me. I was curious if part of this was the fact that the online world hadn’t quite evolved yet when I was doing it – so I asked my 20 something intern Kadie about her experiences with it. Here’s what she said:
“As a part of a generation that deals with most of their social lives online, of course I’ve been affected by the world of online dating. I tend to be a busy person, and with the convenience and passivity of online dating, I’ve dabbled in it.
One instance comes to mind where it led to an actual relationship. As we connected online, we could go on forever about the goriest horror movie or the best guitar player, even our political views. This strong sense of connection led us to jump quickly into a relationship after meeting in person only twice. This proved to be a bad decision. We somehow forgot the next logical step prior to establishing something exclusive, which would be hanging out (in the flesh) and dating more.
What I now know is that there is a difference between sharing the same interests with someone and sharing the same lifestyle. Even though we got along outstandingly when it was just the two of us, when it came to going out and doing things, we always had problems. He was a stay inside, be with a couple of close friends type of person, while I happen to be the night-on-the-town, be with a lot of new people type. Our social lives seemed to clash more and more and, despite trying to work it out several times, in the end we had to break it off.”
Kadie and I both agree that online dating can be a really easy and entertaining way to meet people, but it’s only the first step. Until you try dating them –in the flesh, in person, and more than once– you can’t be 100% sure that person is right for you.
With that in mind here are some tips for The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating:
Do be honest
- don’t lie about your age, weight, looks to what you do for a living and what your interests are… they come back, you’ll have to explain yourself or lie more to get out of it
Don’t believe everything you see or read
- common to use outdated photos as profile pictures
- some people will lie to impress
Do think about your profile picture
- avoid photos that are too artsy, photo-shopped or too “pose-y”. And for the love of God, don’t take a photo of yourself in your bathroom.
Don’t send naughty photos!
- digital copies could very well end up anywhere
- the wrong person can and will see it
Don’t rely solely on e-mail or instant messaging to connect
- people can think about and revise what they write, can come off as a smooth talker
- the sooner you can get on the phone and take things offline, the sooner you can get a clear sense of the real person – not just their online persona.
Do pace yourself
- monitoring how fast you jump into a relationship can be a smart safety precaution
Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts
- online dating is a great way to get to know someone’s personality to see if sparks fly
- no need to be shy, easier to get comfortable with being yourself online
Do be careful of the information you share
- until you’re 100% sure this person is the real deal
Outspoken, hip, irreverent – yet enlightening, Cynthia Loyst is a TV host, advice columnist & relationship coach who likes to ask uncomfortable questions. She’s also a certified life/relationship coach and guest expert on a variety of shows including The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV Newsnet and Etalk. Follow Cynthia on Twitter.