The Rules Of Online Dating

The last time we discussed rules, we talked about the rules of dating. (Click here if you missed it). What was missing in that post however, was the aspect of online dating. Now that we practically live our lives on the internet, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that online dating is a thing... a thing gaining more ground with each passing day. I know a friend of a friend of a friend's cousin who got married to a guy she met on Facebook after one month. I kid you not! It's been 6 years and as far as I know, they are still [happily *I hope*] married.

Yes, social media has brought us a lot of things...

...but don't worry, we are not here to judge. On the contrary, we'll be discussing how best to use online dating to your own advantage.

First, a few assumptions

1) Conventional dating options have been explored with no success
2) You're looking for something serious and not just random hook-ups
3) You understand the risks of online dating... yes, that person on the other end may be a serial killer or a scammer aiming to clean out your bank account.

The rules

1) Your profile - Whether you're using social media platforms or actual online dating sites, your profile has to be as engaging as possible. That's where a potential partner goes to find out about you. Put up great pictures that reflect who you really are and show the best side of you. Be honest with the information you provide without giving away too much detail or revealing any private information like where you live or work or hang out regularly. 

Bonus - If using an actual dating site, you're better off with ones where you have to pay to join. The free ones are usually full of people looking for cheap hook-ups. This doesn't mean you wont find such people on the non-free sites though.

2) Explore - Don't be afraid to poke around and initiate contact with other users. A hello or hi followed by a nice conversation never hurt anyone. Plus isn't that why y'all signed up on the platform anyway - to communicate? Just don't come on too strong from the get go. That's just creepy and reeks of desperation. No one is attracted to those! Try to establish a connection and a friendship first. If the person doesn't respond or show any interest in you after one or two tries, move on.
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3) Respond to messages - Try to be polite and reply messages you receive. No one likes to be ignored. If you're not interested in the person sending the message, find a polite but firm way to let them know. Think about how you'd feel if you were the one putting yourself out there and being ignored or shut down rudely.

4) Do not send nude pictures! Let's just say that anything you don't want to be revealed publicly should never be shared with anyone you meet online. What if it doesn't work out? What if the pictures leak? Yikes! Refuse to be blinded by the idea of love. If he or she wants to see what you look like naked... run!

Bonus - If the prospect asks for money, or in anyway suggests or implies that they need your help financially, even if it's so they can make more money and pay you back a million fold... run!

5) Take it slow -  You already know that not everything that glitters is gold, or a gem  for that matter. Something good can come in really bad packaging, same way something terrible can be all cute and shiny on the surface. Take time to really figure out what's on the inside before making any decisions. Do some research, use search engines or talk to mutual friends and find out what you can about the person.

6) Meeting a prospect - Find time and make arrangements to meet and get to know each other in person. Always, always meet in a public place where you run little or no risk of being robbed or abused or worse, killed! Always let someone know where you're going, who you're going to meet and when to expect you back, especially if you have to travel for the meeting. Do not take your safety for granted in the name of love.

Bonus - Give yourself a way out. Have a friend call you periodically and with that you can make an excuse and leave if the meeting is not going well.

7) Be prepared for disappointment- Bear in mind that there's no 100% guarantee that you'll find your future life partner online. That person you have great conversations with might turn out to be a big disappointment in person. They could have all kinds of perverted behaviour, they could smell awful, or have very poor hygiene. They could be racist, abusive, have no life goals or different values as you. They could be kleptomaniacs or habitual liars just like the people you meet conventionally. Just be prepared to meet all sorts of people.

8) Once you find someone, get off the site. This one is if you're using a dating site. Why stay on the site after you've found Mr or Mrs Right? What else are you looking for? Hmmm! All the old and new prospects on the site have to know that you're no longer available and the best way to do that is... not be available on the site. If there were others with whom your communication extended beyond the site, you should inform them that you're off the market. No one likes to learn of the wedding of someone they are interested in from Facebook pictures.

There you go. Have loads of fun and don't forget to drink lots of water!


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