Tara Richter, certified dating coach, author & radio show host provides online dating advice in this edition of our Expert Guidance series:
A boy sends a friend request to a pretty girl on Facebook. The girl adds him and they start chatting over instant message. After a week of flirtatious winky faces and LOL chatting, he asks her for her phone number. She obliges and they exchange smart phone pictures. After a few late night phone conversations, he gets the courage to ask her out. They finally meet for coffee and both recognize each other from across the espresso bar. They gaze into each other’s eyes for the very first time, yet it feels like they’ve known the other person a lifetime.
The dating game has definitely changed. The days of a man approaching a women in a bar and her giving him her phone number, the only number he could get ahold of her at not a long list of; emails, work phone, iPhone, Skype, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, is long gone. The technology dating scene is now here. You can meet people online, playing video games or through friends of friends on Facebook. So how has this digital age changed things? What are the new rules?
I go over all the Internet dating rules more thoroughly in my book, “10 Rules to Survive the Internet Dating Jungle” yet I will briefly touch base on the more important rules here. First of all when you are meeting people from the Internet you definitely want to utilize my Rule # 6 Be Safe Research Your Date.
Unfortunately, people lie and hide behind the computer screen. Practice defensive dating. Do your research it’s free and easy. Once you have some information on a person just Google them. Typing someone’s name in Google can bring up a plethora of stuff. Just make sure it’s the right person.
Check their other accounts like LinkedIn. Do they really work where they say they work? Go to your local county sheriff’s website. Most counties will have their inmate database online. You can search sometimes up to 20 years ago if someone has been arrested.
Go to your clerk of courts. That’s where marriage certificates and divorce decrees are recorded.
Go to the property appraiser’s website. All that information is public.
Do they really own they house they say they do? Be your own private detective.
When you’re choosing a dating site for the first time, after all my research in writing my second book, I discovered that the same people are on all the websites. If they have a profile on one dating site, they probably have them on multiple other sites, Rule #2.
So the best thing is to test out the free sites first. Websites that are 100% free are pof.com and OKcupid.com. Other sites claim to be free like Zoosk.com but are not. You can create an account, yet can’t contact anyone until you pay. Test out the free dating sites first and see your experience. Both of these sites also have mobile dating apps that you can utilize from your smart phone. That’s a helpful feature that many of the paid sites do not have.
Once you have started chatting with someone, you’ve done your research and think this guy/girl may have potential, make sure to meet them in the flesh within two weeks, Rule #5.
Technology dating is a great tool to meet people you normally wouldn’t run into on a daily basis, yet the whole point is to meet! Through all the text messages, Skyping and tweeting the one thing the computer cannot mimic is chemistry. That is something that can only be determined in person. Don’t drag out your Internet romance for too long before seeing them. You want to make sure they look like their photos and you two connect.
I don’t even call these dates. When meeting for the first time I call them “meet n’ greets” because that’s what it is. It’s not a date, it’s a short 20-30 minute meet n’ greet to make sure they are not 10 years older and 30 pounds heavier than their photos. If you keep it short and sweet, somewhere for say a cup of coffee, it’s easy to break away. If for someone reason it’s not totally clicking between the two of you, it’s easy to say you have errands to run and make a quick exit. It only cost a couple of bucks and a few minutes of each other’s time. No one should be too heartbroken over it.
If it didn’t work out, be honest with the other person as to why. It stinks when you go out with someone and you think it was wonderful, yet they never return your phone call. You have no idea what happened and eventually just chalk it up to them being vanished to the island of lost men. Honesty is always the best policy. That’s the only way we learn, grow and develop. If it hasn’t worked out for you yet, just remember there’s a billion some people on the planet, eventually you’ll find your perfect mate in the dating jungle.
Certified Dating Coach, Author & Radio Show Host