Remember when placing a personal ad in your local newspaper was considered scraping the barrel? Then, in the early 1990s, it morphed into an acceptable practice. With the growth of the Internet, online dating made the scene a few years later and with that came the onslaught of horror stories about abductions taking place after Jim met Jane online. Don't be scared away by all the hysteria. Internet dating is just as safe as any other dating method as long as you educate yourself on a few important rules.
Here are some great tips to keep in mind as you venture into the world of meeting someone special via the Internet:
- First and foremost, whenever you meet anyone on line, use wisdom. Do NOT reveal your full name or any other identifiable personal information (phone number/address/etc.) in the early stages of any relationship.
- Second, repeat after me: All dating websites are not created equal. Different websites tend to attract different crowds. Are you twenty-something and looking for someone in your own age bracket? Perhaps you're interested in dating someone over six feet tall or someone who is significantly older than you. There is a plethora of dating sites that cater to specific interests: religious sites, political party affiliation sites... there are even Internet dating sites specifically for pet owners! Keep these ideas in mind when choosing where you'll place your profile. It's the 21st century -- your options are virtually endless!
- Speaking of profiles, make sure yours is a good one. A good, strong profile will highlight the best you have to offer so take some time to make sure it is well written and interesting. Another VERY important thing to remember is to post a flattering photo of yourself. This is not the time to post that photo of you and what's-his-name before you broke up. Nor is this the occasion to whip out that sexy, glamour boudoir picture you had taken a couple of years ago. So what will a good guy notice? Sure, men do notice our physiques but nearly as important are an engaging smile, self-confidence, and a great sense of humor. Being honest about who you are and the type of person you're looking for will take you a long way in the world of online dating -- after all, you want your potential mate to be attracted to you, not some fake character you've pretended to be for the purpose of creating a dating profile. Poor spelling and a negative attitude will rarely get a second glance from your potential Prince Charming.
- What about other members' profiles? How often have we heard horror stories about people who finally meet their online Mr. Right in person only to discover that, while he advertised that he had Bruce Willis' rugged good looks, what he should have said is that he is as bald as Wilson in the movie, "Castaway." As you read and respond to personal ads, pretend you're an employer checking out a resumé. In fact, this is a great tip for dating both online and in real life: When you read a profile or meet someone, ask yourself what this person has to offer that makes him worth you investing your time in him. Pay attention to red flags, both large and small. Does anything seem out of the ordinary to you? Are there any unexplainable gaps in this person's life? If something in the back of your mind gives you pause, do not doubt yourself. There could very well be a reason why you've got that funny feeling.
- Develop a thick skin: Not everyone you write to is going to respond to you. Most likely, this will also work in reverse. I know of several women who place "I will respond to every ad" in their personal profiles. Not me, sister! Once I started getting responses to my ads, I realized why I did not include that little blurb in my own profile. There was just no way I was interested in the tow truck driver who emailed me at 4:00 am (interests: mysticism, tattoos, and grunge). Nothing against him -- I know that there is a lovely girl out there just for him but I am not the one.
The bottom line is this: Keep your sense of humor and stay genuine when meeting people on the Internet. You'll have more fun and a better chance for success if you do. So what are you waiting for? The right guy is out there -- get that profile posted and have a great time finding him!