For the memory of our first wedding anniversary, I crafted a list of some lessons I learned from online dating. At the very end of a six month run on Match.com in 2009, I met Nick.
Online dating was actually less scary than it first sounded. I found it an ideal way to meet people since I did not work with single young people or enjoy going to bars. I visited many coffee shops, over-analyzed a lot of emails, and learned more about myself than I wanted to know. Here are some things I learned the hard way.
Photo by Pat Carney
1. Safety , of Course: Don't say too much about your location or employer in your profile or initial communications and always meet in a public location. The most important, follow your gut reactions. If something feels odd, it probably is. During my six months, I communicated with some strange people and received even stranger emails, but most everyone respected my space and nobody made me feel unsafe.
2. Rules Are Helpful, but Leave Room for an Exception: After lot of dates, I came to some conclusions based on initial judgments of peoples' profiles and communications. I didn't date individuals whose profile pictures featured them taking a photo of themselves in the mirror and learned that a common taste in music does not make up for larger lifestyle differences. So you find that a persistent emailer also shares an appreciation for the same hipster Icelandic band, but everything else about him or her turns you off. It might feel tempting to toss caution to the wind, but don't. Just don't.
3.internet Dating Communication Norms Are Rude. Know When to Move on and When to Use Them to Your Advantage: In the real world, people generally don't leave you hanging. Internet dating is different. At some point, you'll begin exchanging emails with someone and then, all of a sudden, you'll never hear from them again. Unfortunately, this is typical. The other person will often cease to reply instead of informing you he or she is no longer interested. You can pester them for a response, but it's safe to assume their behavior communicates a lack of interest.