Online dating can be intimidating -- especially for those of you who have been out of the dating game for a while. You may wonder if it's safe, how comfortable you feel competing in such an open forum, how you will handle potential rejection, or how you will feel perhaps not getting any attention at all. All these concerns are valid -- you no doubt feel more vulnerable than you did at 16. Here are my best practices for successful online dating.
1) Do Keep it light
Focus on meeting new people, expanding your social network and generally having fun rather than taking your online experience too seriously. You may meet the "one" and then again you may not. However, The more fun you have dating the more your vibration will increase and the more likely you will be to attract other fun experiences and people into your field.
2) Do establish an online protocol
You want to establish how you will interact with potential suitors on the site. Will you approach them or will you wait to be approached? Generally speaking men like to chase and women prefer to be chased. Ancient wisdom teaches that we are each governed by feminine receiving energies and masculine giving energies that need to be balanced within each of us. This pattern plays out in mythology and fairytale as the archetypal hero and goddess and has been hardwired into our collective unconscious.
3) Do Stay focused
Here it's important to be clear on why you joined the site. Is it to chat back and forth with various suitors, or is it to actually get out and date? If you are looking for a relationship, dating is an important step. Do not waste your time with suitors who just want to chat back and forth. Once the initial energetic exchange happens on the site you want to get out there and meet them face to face. Question those who feel unsure, or drag their feet. Perhaps they are not ready for a relationship.
4) Do Stay open-minded
Make a list of what is important and non negotiable to you and what is less important and perhaps negotiable. Keep in mind that what you think is important really may not be after all. Finding someone who will really love you for who you are and treat you with the respect you yearn for may be more important than a superficial age or income bracket you set for yourself.
5) Do Keep your profile authentic
Here it's important to not overthink your profile. Ensure its consistent with who you are and with what you are looking for in a potential partner. If you are looking for a nature loving down to earth mate, choose a picture of you looking as natural as possible. Conversely, if you are looking to have an exciting social life with a partner, choose a more glamorous picture. Like many interesting people, you no doubt have many dimensions. Feel free to add other pictures to reflect the various facets of your personality, whilst making sure your main profile picture reflects your most authentic self- the one you wish your future beloved to fall in love with.
6) Don't feel desperate
To feel desperate is to feel fear and to forget the perfection that you are. A certain level of desperation no doubt has pushed you to seek alternatives to dating and meeting people. This is healthy as this impulse will push you to take action. However you don't want to stay in that place of fear. Once you sign up, be true to who you are and what you are looking for. Don't settle for something that will not bring you happiness. If you have a bad feeling about someone, even though you may like what you see on their profile, listen to your hunch. Conversely, if you have a good feeling about someone and you don't like an aspect of their profile, do take a second look. You may be surprised.
7) Don't overthink your profile
When completing your profile, choose the message you wish to convey and then go with it. Though you do want to put your best foot forward, don't lie or overstretch the truth as you will simply risk disappointment. This applies to photos as well. Ideally you want your photo to look like you and for your suitor to be pleasantly surprised when he/she meets you. By the same token, don't feel you need to reveal all in your profile. It's nice to have some stuff to share on your date.
8) Don't take any unnecessary risks
Dating sites offer a safe opportunity to exchange before revealing personal data. Share first names and phone numbers once a date has been established, if that feels appropriate. Always have the first date in a public place such as a coffee shop. You may wish to have a phone conversation before your meeting -- if successful, move to another type of date such as a drink, or a dinner. At that time, you may decide to reveal more of yourself, such as your full name and your email. Only share your address if that feels right. You may wish to meet your date at the agreed upon destination rather than be picked up. Don't hesitate to ask a friend, or double check a reference if a concern pops up.
9) Don't take rejection personally
It's easy to feel rejected if your date does not ask you out again, especially if you were interested. Remember, in that instance that it's really your ego that is bruised, and not your heart. A bruised ego is usually easier to heal than a wounded heart. Your date has actually done you a favor, and saved you from future heartache. Conversely, if you do not feel the chemistry, it is unfair to continue with the dating process -- better to be brutally honest. Chemistry is a mysterious thing, and certainly beyond the scope of human understanding.
10) Don't get discouraged
Do not put all your eggs in one basket. View on line dating as one of the many ways you are getting yourself out there. Find other opportunities to meet people that could include joining a health club, taking up a new sport or hobby, getting involved with your church, school or professional association, going out with friends, hosting a get together, other...Appreciate this time as an opportunity for expansion- well poised to enjoy certain activities that you may no longer have time for when in a committed relationship.
While online dating offers a safe and efficient way to meet new people, it is also a useful exercise that will help you learn more about who you are and what you want. Focusing on the learning piece will keep you on track to bringing in the love you want. This will ensure that your online experience is successful, regardless of the actual results achieved.
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