So you’ve decided to jump into the world of online dating, eh? Hopefully you saw my last post about things to think through before creating your profile.
Today I want to share four tips that will help you as you begin to explore other people’s profiles and even move toward meeting them.
4. What are they really saying?
Just as you thought through your pictures and wording, think through the wording and pictures in others’ profiles. For example, if someone says, “I love to have fun and am just looking for a good time,” then they probably aren’t looking for a long-term dating relationship.
Have a friend you trust check out the profiles of people you are communicating with. Sometimes it’s helpful to get a second opinion.
Be attentive and proceed with caution if you pick up on any red flags—especially if you are planning on meeting someone you are talking to.
5. Message, Talk, Meet
While it is clear that the initial contact usually begins with messaging within the site you are on, we frequently hear clients confused about how to proceed in communicating with and getting to know the person they are talking to.
These are some questions we hear frequently:
“Should I give my phone number out?”
“Should we talk on the phone before we meet?”
“How do I know if we should meet?”
Honestly, the answers to these questions are going to vary a bit from person to person. Our general rule of thumb, though, is to proceed in this order:
- talk on the phone
Sometimes people choose to bypass talking on the phone, but we suggest phone communication because it is a way to see what a person is like without the delayed reaction time that comes with messages/texts.
A word of caution we always share with our clients: When you meet, let a friend know where you are going and make sure it is somewhere where you feel safe and where you are able to access transportation to get home. You definitely do not want to “get stuck” and find yourself in either an uncomfortable or unsafe situation without an escape route.
6. Know when to stop.
Sometimes figuring out how long to chat with someone on the internet can be challenging. Can a conversation be too long or too short? If you are not looking to waste a lot of time, and potentially put yourself in confusing situations, then my answer to you is “yes.”
Trust your intuition.
If the person you are talking to seems to want to meet up with you too soon or before you feel comfortable, then either request to slow the process down or take it as a red flag and move on.
If you find yourself wondering why your relationship hasn’t moved to the next level yet, then either address it and continue if things change or cut your losses and move on.
7. Pace yourself.
Internet dating can be exhausting. One of the things we hear most often from our clients is how time consuming and tiring the process can be.
To combat this, I have two suggestions for you.
Firstly, block out times to meet/chat with people you’ve met online.
Secondly, remember that this is not a race. You do not have to look at every single profile on the dating site you are on before you decide who you want to talk to. If you find yourself interested in one or two of the people your are talking to, then remove the pressure to keep looking for other people online. See where those potential relationships go before you exhaust your resources looking for other people.
Mary Overstreet, LAMFT