Online Dating 101

8/08/2012 The Closer 10 Comments

Confession: The Closer has tried online dating. 

Confession Part II: The Closer will continue to try online dating. 

Phew, glad we got the hard part out of the way. Yes. I date online.

Not exclusively, not excessively. Simply occasionally, if someone tickles my fancy.

The first time I tried online dating was almost two years ago. I had a friend that was raving about it, and thought to myself, "A site where I can filter by height? I need to try that". So I hopped online for my first go around. The first couple of dates I went on I was not very wise about. I handed out my number like candy and had the guys pick me up, just like a normal date. Thank goodness I didn't end up as a headline story on CNN with the anchors commenting on how such a seemingly bright young lady could have made such a foolish decision. Luckily, Heavenly Father had my back and I am still alive and well.

So you know how everyone thinks that only weirdos date online? Well, this is simply not true, although, I think some of the weirdest people date online. I kid you not, I once had a date with "that guy" who still lives in his mother's basement and is obsessed with science fiction. I have gotten much better at filtering since then.

I have yet to have seriously dated anyone I have met online, but I have met enough quality people to make me believe it's worth my while to keep it as one more avenue to meet people with. For those of you who have considered it, I say give it a try, and if you decide to give it a try, here are my helpful hints:

  1. Meet quickly. Exchange no more than 4-5 short messages, because trust me, your take on these fellows in person will tell you worlds more than 20 long emails ever will. 
  2. Meet at a public location. Don't tell them where you live, this is should be common sense. Food is a good reason to meet up. Protocol for online meet ups is different from a normal date, so I usually plan on paying my own way (although they always win points if they insist on paying). 
  3. If you can avoid exchanging phone numbers pre-date, I recommend this. That way, if you meet up and he's not someone you want to stay in contact with, he doesn't have a means to barrage you with communication. If it's going to messy to avoid giving your number, just be okay with the slight chance of having to block their number or change yours (this has never happened to me). 
  4. Have a commitment within an hour or two after the meetup, a good reason to have to take off. This keeps the meet up short and gives you both a chance to depart and evaluate what you thought of the other person. Not to mention giving you an out if it's completely awkward. 
  5. Once you have met up, try to get away from the online environment as quickly as you can. Hopefully he gets your number, and you get to move forward as if you never even met online, and it's not some odd thing that becomes a constant part of your blossoming courtship. 
  6. Do your best not to act like it's weird or unusual that you met online. I think guys feel more self conscious about it than girls do, so try not to accidentally rub salt in his potential wound. 
  7. Lastly, always tell someone where you are going and what you are doing. That way if anything were to go wrong (yeah, I know, I sound like your mother here), someone at least knows where you went. 

So there you have it. Seven handy hints to make online dating easy-peezy. Like I've said before, it's all a numbers game, so what's one more way to get your numbers up? Heck, I even have three friends that married someone they met online.

What about you? Have any of you tried dating online?

Yours Truly,

The Closer

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Anonymous said...

Both my older brothers met their spouses online.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who is currently trying online dating. So far she has only met creeps. And not the nice kind that you can love despite their faults. Makes me kind of scared to ever try online dating.

Katri Hakes said...

I had a roommate who married the one man she met online! But first she had to wade through all the single dads...

Anonymous said...

These are really good tips. I've only been on a few dates from the online realm- all with very nice but weird guys (one was convinced Donald Trump was the best choice for president in 2012...this was last year when Trump was actually halfway in the running still...This was a dealbreaker for me. Donald Trump is an idiot).

The one rule I want to reiterate is to always meet for the first time (even the first few times) at a public place. You. Cannot. Be. Too. Careful. One of my dates seemed pretty weirded out that I wanted to do this, and not be picked up at home. The fact that he didn't understand why a single young woman living alone in a large city would want to be cautious (he almost seemed offended by it) was also a dealbreaker.

I also second the idea of trying to meet in person as soon as possible after making first online contact. You can get to know a person much better more quickly in person than you can in months of corresponding online. Just get it out of the way.

(Also, to the third commenter- what's wrong with the single dads?! Unless you're 19 and fresh and new to adulthood, it's always better to be open to all options. I only say this because my older brother is an attractive, intelligent, funny, and wonderful single dad- gotta represent :)

flutefairy said...

I really liked online dating and met some amazing guys on there. I loved going on as many dates as I did. :)

Grace Miller said...

I thought online dating was for shmucks... until I tried it.

After a semester of dating and failing, I signed up for Plenty of Fish. I read tons of profiles (oh my gosh, so many), met a wonderful man, and deleted the heck out of my account.

This applies to dating online and off, but I can't say it enough -- relationships are tough, no matter what, and how you meet isn't nearly as important as how you fall in love.

If you try online dating, you won't regret it. You'll either meet a lot of people with whom you're just not compatible and be wiser for it, or you'll meet THE person and live happily ever after.

For those of you interested, POF is a great place and totally free. If you limit your search to Utah Valley, you'll likely find a lot of members.

TL;DR -- Online dating. Try it.

Jingo said...

Gah, leaving a comment here is like trying to cross the Demilitarized Zone blindfolded. Capcha this, blogspot! :D

I might as well chime in with my own experience.

Internet dating is really nice for certain sorts of people in particular. For me, it served as a great way to expand my potential dating pool and to find girls that aren't so much into parties and large group things, which suited me well.

And then there's the subtle advantage of being able to be picky on things initially.

This post has some very solid advice, specifically the part about meeting them soon and establishing real contact with them.

There is no shame in doing it, at all. It's just another way to expand your horizons. The best site, in my opinion (sorry, Grace), is, considering it is free and really easy to find only other good members based on the built-in morality-centered matching service. Don't go a paid site unless you are older.

Then again, I have heard that it is quite different for females, as some of the guys have very... interesting backgrounds. However, there are things you can do to avoid the crazy dudes: Avoid any guy who has a picture of him posing with his shirt off. Find guys that can spell correctly and form coherent sentences. Make sure they have a real job or current education listed. The scary ones always lack in at least one of these categories.

And yes, it's worth it. It only takes one successful experience to make it worth your eternity.

Lisa said...

Two Words

Amnesia. Horny.

I wish I had those helpful hints when I very first tried online dating!

The dude flew a decent distance to meet me. And I was stuck with an extremely odd weekend boyfriend. I suppose it makes for a great story though.. haha! You don't even want to know the details! It was CRAZY.

David said...

No, Lisa, I think I really DO want to know the details! This sounds hilarious and also horrifying.

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