Online dating is getting better.
Fifteen years ago, less than half of online daters ever made it out on an actual date. There were a lot of time-wasters.
These days, 2 in 3 online daters have made it off the computer and onto a real-world date. And 1 in 4 has struck up a long-term relationship with someone they met online.
Not everyone is online, of course, but if you’re between the ages of 24 to 44, you should find plenty of company in your demographic.
Even though online dating is better than before, it’s by no means perfect. Too many users still find it frustrating.
Women under 35, in particular, are likely to report that they’ve been repeatedly contacted by someone after telling them they weren’t interested, or sent unwanted explicit messages or images.
That’s why I believe it never hurts to remind yourself about the basics.
These 3 Commandments of Online Dating help you stay safe, set yourself up to succeed, and enjoy the experience.
Thou shalt keep it brief.
The most successful online daters prioritize efficiency.
They’re not online to pour their heart out to a stranger. They’re online to engage with as many potential dates as possible.
You’ll be more successful if you limit yourself to messages that are no longer than a text. No essays. Just fun banter that keeps your connection moving towards a meet-up.
Short messages free you up to communicate with many men, not just the top few.
Online dating is a numbers game. As long as a man seems nice, genuine, and able to talk about things that you enjoy talking about, give him a chance.
(Often, it’s the guy that you weren’t terribly excited about meeting that turns out to be the most fun in person!)
Thou shalt meet ASAP.
The most common online dating mistake is…
Jumping to conclusions before you’ve even met the person.
His online avatar is not a good representation of who he is in real life.
A friend who’d spent many months searching for Mr. Right joked to me, “All a man’s profile tells you is how good he is at marketing himself.”
Just because he has an amazing profile doesn’t mean he’s Prince Charming.
Similarly, just because his profile picture isn’t flattering doesn’t mean you won’t find him irresistible in the flesh.
A lot of men don’t know how to take a good photo of themselves. A lot of men don’t have any idea what to write.
They give it their best shot and hope you’ll give them the chance to win you over by phone or in person.
So don’t assume that his profile tells you anything about him aside from whether you might have something to talk about.
They call it chemistry for a reason. Chemical attraction is a physical response to being in the presence of someone who looks, smells, and moves in a way that turns you on.
Instead of wasting time and energy dreaming over someone’s profile, save that time and energy to dream over him after sparks fly on that first date.
Thou shalt stay SAFE.
It’s unfortunately all too common for women to experience harassment online.
Nearly half of women find that men continue to contact them after they said they weren’t interested.
Forty-six percent of women have been sent explicit messages or images by men they met online.
A third have been called an offensive name.
So stay safe and protect yourself from the get-go.
“Protecting yourself” used to mean meeting a man in a public space, with friends who know where you are, and a cellphone on you that rings halfway through the date in case you need an excuse to bail.
These days, you don’t just need to protect yourself offline. You need to protect yourself online, too.
The easiest way to do it?
Wait to give out any personal details until after you’ve met this man in person.
Don’t tell him your full name. Don’t show him where to find you on social media.
And don’t give him your mobile number until after you’ve met him in person and decided you want to see him again.
Men have always asked for women’s phone numbers, but phone numbers aren’t necessary on online dating platforms that allow for video calls.
You can talk to each other over the platform without ever exchanging digits.
By keeping all your communication on the online dating platform until you meet, you give yourself an added layer of protection. If he says anything untoward, you can report him.
Once you meet and hit it off, feel free to give him your contact info so you can continue the conversation off the site.
So remember these basics! They’ll give you confidence as you search for love.
What’s your #1 rule in online dating? Share it with us in the comments!