Prior to meeting the boy (because who really thinks that while on exchange in Scotland (aka the other side of the world) on a bus tour of the local attractions is the time you will meet the love of your life?), I made the (slightly daunting) venture into the world of internet dating. And while I can’t say that it was successful in my case, it taught me a lot about myself and about dating in general (at least a portion of which is what allowed me to see what I had, and have, in the boy).
Luckily at the time, I had a friend who passed on some excellent advice, and it is that advice I would like to pass along to you. Now, I am no internet dating expert (not that I’m sure there is such thing as an internet dating expert, but either way I’m not one), but I found it helpful to get some advice other than that which the sites themselves offer, and maybe you will too.
So here goes:
1. Allow yourself a maximum of 5 must-haves and 5 deal-breakers
I’m sure we have all been guilty of constructing the perfect partner in our minds, from looks to profession, the list can be endless; but such a list is not going to see you get very far in the quest for love. Here’s the thing: you’re not perfect (there I said it), because no one is perfect, and expecting the person you’re dating to be is not just unfair, it’s guaranteed to end badly.
That said, having some (reasonable) expectations is a good thing, particularly in a dating environment where you will be sorting through two-dimensional descriptions of people before you get to meet them face-to-face.
This is where the 5 and 5 comes in – they allow you the comfort of system while leaving you open to possibility (a critical aspect of successful dating, full stop).
2. Never chat online for more than a week before meeting in person
This one is probably a little bit controversial, but hear me out. In my mind, the aim of internet dating to introduce you to people you would not other wise have met, who you then quickly meet (and if things go well) then start dating in the three-dimensional real world.
No matter how detailed a site’s matching system may be (and thus how many hours you spent completing your profile) nothing can replace the instant YES or NO you get from meeting someone in person. Hence, the one week rule.
If chatting has been going well, you need to make sure that your idea of the potential for the relationship meets the reality, and that means meeting in person.
3. I highly recommend coffee dates as first dates
Given the new one week rule, you may need to go on a few first dates before you find someone you gel with. So, do yourself a favour and keep things simple.
Arrange a coffee for mid-morning at a nice public coffee shop (safety is still important here people so make sure there are other people around), and put yourself in the perfect position. See, an 11am coffee leaves you with plenty of options – if the date goes well, you can stretch it into lunch, and an afternoon activity, or frankly as long as you like; if it doesn’t go well, you can always have ‘arranged lunch plans’ at 1pm, allowing for a smooth get away.
Bonus tip: Some may disagree with me here, but I haven’t seen it work any other way. If the first date isn’t good, chances are the second date won’t be better. If you not feeling it the first time you meet, it’s likely not meant to be. So, thank them for their time, wish them luck in their search for Mr/Mrs Right, and move on to the next profile. Love definitely evolves and changes over time, but if on date one the sparks aren’t there, love is very unlikely to follow.
Stay tuned for Part 2: What it taught me?
Let me know your thoughts