I went on no less than 100 Internet dates between January 2004 and February, 2009. I met my first post-divorce boyfriend on Craig’s List, experimented with Jdate, Match.com, Nerve.com, Plentyoffish.com., Elitemeeting.com, and more. I went on coffee dates, dinner dates, drink dates, hiking dates and dates that lasted less than 15 minutes. I even traveled to New York city to meet someone who, for the 10 day prior to our face-to-face meeting, I truly thought was my soul mate.
I did, however, meet some incredible men online with whom I have become friends. What’s more, Internet dating can work. In fact, my dad met his girlfriend on Jdate. It was his first, best, and only online date. There are countless success stories of those who have found love online , which is why, if you become an adept, intentional Internet dater, you can enjoy the process of dating online. Here are five general guidelines to help you find love online.
1. Five Pictures Plus. Ensure that prior to meeting a potential date you have seen more than 5 photos of this person. If they have just two photos, one of which is a professional headshot, ask them via email to send you pictures directly. Don’t feel that because you are requesting more photos you are going to be perceived as “picky,” or “shallow.” In truth, you are taking care of your needs, reducing the possibilities of disappointment and ensuring you don’t waste time. Occasionally, you may receive a reply that reads like this. “Sorry Susie. I don’t have any recent photos, My friends tell me I am much better looking than my pics. Don’t worry. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.” In my experience I have found that those men and women that need to tell you they are attractive should be avoided. In turn, ensure that you have at least five photos to post online, and don’t spend energy reassuring your prospect that you are, in fact, attractive.
2. Zoom-a-zoom: Ensure that of those five pictures, at least 3 of them are close up photos. If you have to zoom into the face, squint, lean into your computer screen, or find yourself asking friends if the prospect is attractive because the zoom effect has pixilated John or Sue’s face into a 1980s version of Tetris, ask for additional photos.
3. Do the Sherlock- Holmes, that is: If you kindly ask when the prospect’s online photos were taken, there is a fifty percent chance he or she may exaggerate. Instead, ask a more open-ended question that can prompt insight into this person’s values about honesty. For example, “I am fascinated by the online dating process. In what ways do you think a person’s online dating profile reflects who they really are?” Not only can you discuss photos and other information they have posted on their profile, but this line of conversation can also provide insights in their belief systems, values and experiences dating online.
4. You so sexy: If you are looking for the possibility of a serious relationship, avoid men who post pictures of themselves sans shirt. Men should also be quick to avoid women who post provocative photos. Posting these kinds of photos tells the online “shopper” that this person feels their self worth is based mostly on their attractiveness or sexuality.
4 ½. No guarantees: If you have done all you can to reduce the risk of picture fraud, be certain there are no guarantees. Whether the pictures the person has posted online are accurate or not, smile when you meet her. Not attracted? No worries. Spend time practicing your dating skills. Ask open-ended questions. Release judgments. Smile again. And be sincere upon ending the date. For example, “I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know more about you Susie. Thanks so much for agreeing to meet me. (Look directly into Susie’s eyes. (Smile) I wish you the best of luck. I hope you have an amazing day.” Do not tell Susie you will “talk to her soon,” “talk to her later,” or send her an email. Say thank you. Say goodbye. If Susie contacts you again, politely tell her how much you enjoyed the time you spent together, and that “it’s not a match.” No more. No less. Remember, like energy attracts like energy. If you desire to surround yourself with compassionate, polite and honest members of the opposite sex, do the same in kind.