Nine Rules for Online Dating

It turns out this whole Internet thing isn’t going away anytime soon. And with young professionals (YPs) finding themselves increasingly busy, Internet dating has become more than just a viable option – it’s become the norm*. Technology is speeding the whole world up and it’s best you don’t get left behind. But because we care about you we wanted to give you a few simple tips before we send you out into the cyberspace version of Press Your Luck (big bucks, big bucks, no whammies, stop!)

Everyone’s on the Same Page
Or at least they should be. Online dates aren’t like classic dates – they’re more like interviews. The strategy has changed. More often than not, people aren’t looking to buy you dinner and take you dancing. They’re looking for a drink, possibly even a daytime coffee, just to see if you hit it off in person. You can put all you want into an email but physical chemistry – the ‘it’ factor – is what people want to find out the first time they meet you.

Know Your Sites
There are about a bajillion out there now so make sure you know what you’re looking for and sign up appropriately. For instance, it’s probably best to avoid Tinder if you’re looking for a life partner. That’s a generalization of course, but you get the point. Don’t blame us when your doesn’t call you back. You’ve been warned.

Date Safe
Tell your friends where you’re going and what you’re doing. Meet in a crowded place. Think of all the things they’d tell you to do on an after-school special and then actually do them. We’re not trying to scare you, we’re just not confident that every person out there is living in the same world we are.

Your Picture Really Matters
Sorry, but it’s true. We all want to pretend that personality is what matters most, but when you’re staring at a screen (at 11pm on a Wednesday when you really should just go to bed but Letterman doesn’t start for a half hour and how the hell are you supposed to sleep when the love of your life could be just one click away!) it’s hard to really engage with someone who loves ‘puppies and sunshine’ or ‘football and beer’. Post your real face. Leave your tits and abs to be discovered.

The Internet is Real
We’re not sure why some people don’t understand this but the Internet is in fact a real thing with a real history. Don’t write things to people you wouldn’t say to them face to face. The Internet will keep those things and hold onto them – forever.

Don’t Drunk Message
This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

Don’t Overwrite
There’s just no point in writing a novel to someone you’ve never met. It’s time consuming, unnecessary, and a tad self-indulgent. Also, as a recipient, it can be terrifying to receive someone’s entire life story instead of a simple introduction. We suggest you enjoy some witty banter and then meet face-to-face as soon as possible. A lot can be written in an email but a lot can be left out too. 

Don’t Make Them Work
This is the opposite of the last rule. It’s important not to make the person you’re writing have to work too hard. Be engaging, ask questions, mention a few of your favourite things. Leave them wanting to respond and chances are they probably will.  Please note that mind-blowing inquiries such as ‘what’s up’ and ‘how’s it going’ are not the kind of questions we’re talking about.

No Baby
We promise that no one in the world wants to be your baby before they meet you. We’re sorry, we know you’re special but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to earn the right to use the term.

*The author of this post is currently in a relationship that started thanks to a plunge into the online dating world.

Cover image courtesy of Well and Good NYC