How Does Online Dating Work?

Admittedly online dating is its own scene, like conventional dating there are as many creeps and losers out there but the overwhelming majority realizes that in today’s society, it’s a necessary evil.  Gone are the days of match makers and friends who have “just the person for you”:  Only those crazy enough to put their job in jeopardy shit where they eat (date people from work), so unless you want to be perceived as a “lounge lizard” you realize that meeting a quality person at a bar is just not reality.  This couldn’t be truer for homosexuals than any other group of people.  As it is our playing field of potentials is narrowed by 90%, so unless you want to be alone perpetually, the logistics of online dating is a reality you’re faced with. So how does online dating actually work?

So you realize that we all end up on an online dating site because we are looking for long term happiness.  At least that’s the hope.  But keep in mind that no one is everything they seem, and it pays to use a little caution and common sense when perusing profiles.  Too good to be true is just that, not necessarily true, and it’s best to wait to meet someone in person before you get too mentally or emotionally invested.

Become Actively Involved

While you can’t win if you don’t play, and it pays to be honest, remember that what you write in your profile says a lot about how you see yourself, and if you post a list of what you don’t want, you are just telegraphing that you are bitter and were screwed over in your last failed relationship.  With the average age of online daters today being at least 35, it’s safe to bet whoever you meet has had both good and bad experiences, but if they feel the need to go on and on in their profile about turn offs, they aren’t even too clear as to what they have to offer as they are in avoiding their ex in a new form.  Either way they aren’t ready for something new as clearly they haven’t let go of the past.

Equally true are those that craft a romantic and poetic profile about how they want to find the one person who they can keep and treasure for always.  They will go on and on with enticing prose about how they want to treat that one person so special and how they just want to be able to curl up with you and hold you tight.  Be leery of anyone who is writing exactly what they think you want to hear as a potential mate.  No one is perfect and if they go on and on about how they want to spoil you with affection they are more than likely a player or sweet talker who are looking for those desperate enough to fall for any common line. Clearly we all are somewhat empty without that special someone we all long to have, that’s why we are on the site in the first place. But someone who sounds just too good to be true is just that, and just because it’s online doesn’t make it true, so keep your head about you. Online dating is easy to learn and users can quickly get accustomed to their audience.

Avoid Certain Areas

If you’re just getting on the online dating scene give yourself some time to get acclimated to the culture of the site. Each dating site is different, and each its own subculture.  Keep in mind it’s very much a singles scene, and like any singles scene there are players and perpetual daters out there who use and abuse.  Avoid being a victim by giving yourself time to see what the social norms are.  Avoid the IM instant message scene. This is a haven for players.  If you find someone that’s interested and mentions that they want to IM you, suggest you speak on the phone first (without offering your number right off the bat).  If they truly are interested in you, they will make the effort. Explore using Skype, a free online telephone application.  This way they don’t have your direct number and you have the option of answering or not.  As with any new meeting time will tell. Give yourself a chance to get to know someone a little before jumping in.  Many of the sites offer a free telephone number or inexpensive telephone number that you can forward to your phone.  This way you don’t have to keep taking calls from a nutcase stalker.

If you’ve emailed each other a few times and things seem compatible you’ve nothing to risk by meeting someone in a public place.  Whether for drinks or for coffee, it’s a good idea to limit the first meeting to 90 minutes.  Remember better to leave them wanting more, than to stay too long.  Not to mention more than two drinks can leave you in a more vulnerable state, and that’s precisely what players are hoping for, so protect yourself physically and emotionally by planning ahead, there’s always next time.

Try not to limit yourself to “just your type”.  Online dating is a great place to practice communicating. Remember that there is a real person on the end of that email and that you’re under no obligation to meet with them, but you are obligated to at least be humane in your communication.  If you’re contacted by an absolute beast that you know you’d never have an interest in, be kind.  It costs you nothing to reply back and thank them for their interest, but that you’re just not ready and only looking to establish friendships as of now, or lie and say you’ve met someone, either way, its likely there will come a time when you’ll wish someone else was as kind to you.

Speak to Your Audience

Many people are uncomfortable with coming up with their profiles. This is normal.  It’s a good idea to find out what a particular site is like by putting in the opposite of what you are looking for. So if you’re a male seeking a male, don’t be afraid to do a search as if you were straight.  You’ll at least get an idea of what other males are listing about themselves, and with a little research you might find that while you thought you were being honest by checking the “curvy” or “ a few extra pounds” boxes, you’ll discover that curvy is code for 30 lbs. overweight, and a few extra pounds really means “hefty”.

The main thing is to keep an open mind.  Everyone is not on the site for the same reasons, and like any other subculture online dating sites have their own unique rules and nuances, so give yourself time to learn the lay of the land and just how people communicate.  With time you’ll get the hang of things, and be better prepared to finding just what you are looking for.  Now knowing how online dating works, figuring out who you want to meet should be even easier!