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Top 3 Ideas to Get a Good Start in Online Dating

I spent two years on several major (and minor) of the online dating services in 2002/3. My motivation changed during this time and I subscribed and unsubscribed from several services. Sometimes I was after a date and I went on about 14 in the early months. 

They were mostly first dates that didn't work out, as well as a few second dates. Sometimes I was after email pals, and there were lots. I ended up finding a girlfriend off line, but I stayed on the services for a few more months experimenting. 

Maybe I was addicted? 

Or just treating it like TV? 

Near the end when I was dating someone, my motivation was cultural anthropology. I changed my profile a lot and watched what happened. My profile that was all poetry was perhaps the one that got the most unsolicited responses from women, although they were all the same type of woman and not good matches for me at all. 

My favorite was a profile that was tailored to what I found to be the most commons desires in women's profiles. Funny, some sort of stable income, and loves to travel. I made a profile that said basically, "I'm a comedian with a trust fund who loves to travel" No one responded.

Along the way I learned a lot and wrote it down. 

Several of my friends who are veterans of online dating, including two who met their spouses online, have also reviewed this article.

Here are the 3 ideas I wished I'd known before I started. 

  1. Online dating services were like arriving at a huge single's party right at the peak of the night. Everybody's used to each other and if they have not, or are not, hooked up, they are looking for new faces. This means you've got to be at your best when you walk in the door and you have to think quickly. Unfortunately, people usually stumble in drunk and only figure things out after they've made a bad impression. For this reason, I found out the hard way that a profile should be read by friends before you make it public for the first time.
  2. Online dating is easy to confuse with reality, because online we each get to make up a reality about ourselves. And since you can only get across a small part of yourself with some words and a few pictures, this reality is usually missing some important facts, to say the least! Sure, there are also scum out there who lie, but they are not the norm. The norm are little innocent lies of omission, like that picture that was taken six years ago before the person went punk, or "I have a serious side too," really meaning that the person will turn into someone who needs an exorcist if you cook their eggs wrong. It's challenging to avoid coming to any conclusions about how a person is, looks, or acts, from their profile. But I found that all you can really deduce from a profile is whether you're interested in finding out more about the reality of who they really are.
  3. Beware of Bookmark-itis. If you find yourself using online dating as nigh time entertainment, you're missing the point. This make take the form of bookmarking people you are interested in, but not emailing them, emailing too many people, just emailing and not calling or going out, or just endlessly surfing and seeing who is new and has changed their profiles. The point of using online dating sites is to meet people in person so you can see if you're interested.

"Dating Online: Getting a Good Start
Caleb John Clark, 2005."
http://noendpress.com/caleb/dating_online/

 



 
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