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Super-experienced friends advice on dating online Photo credit | Pexels Photo credit | NextC.com
I have to admit: I don't online date. You can't swipe me, wink me or poke me. My inexperience with the Internet set up has left me in an analog world while all of my friends are digital dating connoisseurs. They regale me with tales of missed connections, encounters with handsome nerds and missteps with straight-up weirdoes who somehow catch their attention via the World Wide Web.
I laugh like I understand their adventures, but I'm the inexperienced odd woman out, like the one who has yet to be kissed. I'm sans an Internet dating profile because the whole process makes me nervous. I've blamed my trepidation on the oddity of digital interfacing but since when is reducing your dating pool to strangers in bar on a Friday night not fraught with heaps of concerns?
After careful consideration (and lots of encouragement from my friends), I'm acclimating to the modern world and joining a dating site. While I get familiar with the swipe, the wink and the poke, I thought I'd share some sage advice bestowed upon me by my super-experienced friends.
Here what NOT to do when you Internet date. I've added some of my own foibles and suggestions because this is still dating and we all want to get it right. My best pals are lighting the way for you, so let's you and I get by with a little help from my friends.
1. Don't lie in your profile.
There's no need to falsely represent your height, eye color, wealth, employment, education or sexual preference. All it takes is one date for the truth to come out. Honesty is often the best policy. Besides, this could be your future spouse!
2. Select your expectations.
Don't expect your date to look identical to their pic or be as funny/quirky/brilliant as their profile. We're all embellishing and looking for good lighting here, folks. There is an art to the selfie and dates can be nerve-wracking. Let's cut each other some slack.
3. Reference check your perspective dates via social media.
Search for them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or LinkdIn. Don't forget to Google. Treat this like you're buying a car-do your research.
4. Don't take it personally if they show up in basketball shorts/with their pet/ hungover.
First impressions are everything, Take this as a chance to get a real snapshot of who this person is. Optimistically, they may be an athletic, animal lover who loves to party. Negatively, they may be a lazy drunk who didn't take your date seriously. But that's on them, not you. Let it go.
5. Do expect some awkwardness, especially at the beginning.
How often do you walk up to random strangers, start a conversation and have it flow like those talks with old friends? Almost never? Exactly-remember that on your date.
6. Never agree to dinner on a first date.
Take it in stages. According to my best gal pal, "Have coffee first so you can see if you like them and if they offer to pay. You can tell a lot by that. Then drinks. Then dinner." My guy friend disagrees. "If they drink, skip the coffee and go for the cocktail."
7. Pick the app or site that is right for your dating style and goals.
If random anonymous hookups are your thing, Craig's List may be your jam. For those looking for honest-to-goodness coupling or a long-term partner, dating apps like Mingle2.com are your best bet. Mingle2.com (You can download it for iOS and Android) takes seconds to download and it's easy to search. They have a massive community of singles and it's free. Bonus points: Finding a match in your area takes minutes and they strictly monitor the app, blocking the fakes and weirdoes for you!
8. Keep the first date to two hours tops.
Two hours is enough to decide if this person has romantic potential or if they're landing in the friend zone. If you're feeling tingly after 120 minutes and still have more to discuss, definitely schedule a second date.
9. Never pick an intimate location.
Hello, Stranger Danger! That secluded members only hipster venue in the bowels of Brooklyn isn't an option. Go for the Starbucks on Broadway.
10. Keep the conversation casual. Don't be so forward.
This isn't an interrogation and you aren't marrying this person in one day. A little nudge is fine but let nature take its course.
11. Don't have more than two drinks if you are having alcohol.
You are trying to loosen up, not get wasted.
12. Don't overly converse via text before the date.
You'll have killed the conversation before you actually see each other. Leave something to be discovered.