Many people are still hesitant to plunge into the world of online dating, but let’s face it — it’s the wave of the future. Consider me a veteran of online romance. After dozens of real-world dates that started with the tap of a finger on Leolist, I have discovered the four golden rules for turning every date into a success story.
Post accurate pictures, and more than one
One of the biggest complaints of online daters is that many people post dishonest, inaccurate pictures. Put up a flattering picture that adequately represents the real you, and when you go on your date, you can feel comfortable knowing your date is excited to meet you as you are.
- Clearly show your face (i.e. a headshot);
- Accurately convey your full body structure (i.e. standing up with a friend); and
- Give insight into a defining aspect of your personality or life (i.e. riding your bike or eating your favorite food).
Be honest about who you are and what you want
Again, the focus is on honesty. You’re not generic, so don’t pretend to be. Are you socially awkward? Say so. A crazy music fiend? Say so. The same applies to state what you want. Are you looking for lifelong love? New friends? A weekend hookup? Tailor your words to match your desires.
If you really want to find a life partner, don’t appear too casual in order to appeal to a broader audience. At the same time, you don’t have to write, “I want to be engaged within four weeks of meeting someone.” Writing that you’re looking for love should suffice.
Playing by the honesty rule will help you meet people who are actually looking for a person like you, which is the entire point of the enterprise.
Exchange a series of messages
This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are many people who want to skip the lengthy “getting-to-know-you” process and go straight for the coffee gold. Unless you hate typing 100% (and why would you if you have an online profile?), forego this option.
I fell for the line once. He was everything I visually wanted in a man, so with butterflies in my stomach, I accepted a date with hardly any exchange. By the time I arrived at our destination, I realized he didn’t know my name. When I brought this up, he said, “I don’t care what it is, as long as you come when I call you.” I wish I could say he was joking. What ensued were two of the most obnoxious hours of my life.
Learn from my mistake and send the darn messages. If you’re feeling particularly cautious, have a phone conversation.
Lower your first-date expectations
Even though you posted honest pictures, conveyed your desires and hit it off in writing, you may meet in person only to find that it factor is missing. She makes you roll with laughter but reminds you of your guy friends. He’s fascinating but smells like your grandfather’s house. Whatever it may be, small things can turn your dream date into just another night on the town. To have a successful time anyway, lower your expectations and accept the evening for what it is:
- Open yourself to many possibilities. Maybe you’re meeting a lover. Maybe you’re meeting a new best friend. Maybe you’re meeting a neat person with whom to pass the evening.
- See your date for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Almost everyone is fun and interesting if you give them a chance, but not everyone is a soul mate. If your date is truly someone special, you won’t have to convince yourself of that fact. You’ll just know.
- Let yourself relax and have a good time. You don’t have to know by the end of the night if you want to pop the question, and you’ll have much more fun if you can enjoy yourself!
If you lower expectations, looking instead to enjoy the moment, almost every date will be a success. You can make new friends, hone first date skills, and maybe even find true love.
Since knowing these four things, I have enjoyed every date, made a handful of lifelong friends, and developed a delightful long-term relationship that changed my world for the better.