Setting things up...
Before you begin, I suggest you create a new email address – one that protects your anonymity and gives you control. This is a safeguard to keep your regular email address safe from creepies that you may not want contacting you.
Rule number one – do NOT give out any personal information right away.
Chances are you will have to pick a nickname or ‘login name’ for your dating site – take a moment when considering this – (as stated before, do not give out your name yet) what will your nickname SAY about you?? After all don’t pick ‘busty Betsy’ if you aren’t so busty – if you falsely represent yourself you only set yourself up for failure... Not to mention if you care about who you are to attract and what characteristics they will decipher from your portfolio. Don’t pick “lonely heart” if you don’t want to come across as desperate. Try to keep it light – maybe consider what your hobbies are – like “Hockey girl” for example.. that can also make for a great starting conversation maker when you are contacted by someone.
Clarify what you are looking for up front – if you want something with long term potential say so, if you are looking to casually start dating again – again – be upfront.. State some of your basic likes and dislikes when it comes to dating & relationships. You may value loyalty, you may prefer a non-smoker..
List your hobbies... things you enjoy doing on a date maybe... your idea of fun!!
Most dating sites will tell you that posting a picture will generate a lot more responses. I say, go for no photo at first and see how that goes. Maybe once you have comfortably established some chat with another person you can specifically send them your photo without having it out for public display.
If you are comfortable going the photo displayed route then ensure you are using an accurate depiction that is CURRENT. Thing is, you should expect the same in return as well. I once heard a suggestion where you have the person hold up today’s paper when sending you a photo of themselves lol!! That’s not that bad of an idea!
Now, before you go on chatting with just anyone through email or messenger or the dating site’s chat function – take a look into THEIR profile. Make sure this is someone you want to strike up a conversation with – don’t waste anyone’s time and expect the same in return.
Now, what I believe is the KEY to online dating success – is being able to ‘chat/type’ the same way you would actually ‘speak’ if the person was in front of you. It always amazes me how often people who I know are very social and fun can come across as daft during a messenger conversation lol!! Try not to only give one word answers – have some questions that you’d like to ask. Toss the nerves aside, the benefit of online dating/chatting initially is that you remain somewhat anonymous... you don’t even have to worry about what you look like unless you venture into video chat ;o) (if you are on webcam chat.. make sure you’re presentable)...
Chatting through online dating can give you a lot of information in a short amount of time. This is a bonus as it saves people from wasting time if they discover something they aren’t keen on about the other person. It also can make you feel less inhibited to talk about things. On a real date there are always distractions – online the focus is the conversation and whether or not you feel the ‘click’.
When you feel comfortable meeting in person, do so in a public place during daytime hours if at all possible. Provide your own transportation initially as well.. have a friend check in on you at some point during the meet (maybe they can send you a text) in case you require an ‘out’. These are standard concepts when meeting a new person anyway... hopefully the person you were chatting with online turns out to be an honest representation of themselves. There are always people out there who have used photos from their ‘better days’ or who haven’t been completely honest with their relationship status, etc, etc... just be aware before you dive right in.
So keep that initial meeting short – coffee or a drink – not dinner. If all goes well, dinner can be next time. If what you are looking for is something casual and you wish to take things to another level – just be safe – going anywhere alone with a stranger poses threats – keep yourself protected at all times and in all ways ;o) Even if you use a reputable dating service you never truly know the person you are meeting initially so be smart.
Online dating can be a great way to branch out and it no longer holds the stigmas it once did. There are likely more couples meeting online as there are in bars now-a-days. Plus, you’ll likely know a lot more about the person you are meeting face to face then you ever could find out from someone you meet in a bar.
Sharpen up those typing skills – and open the door to the online possibilities!!!
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