Finding Love Online, Internet Dating
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Internet Dating: Finding Love Online
Intro to Online Dating
The very concept of internet dating scares some people. It can seem dangerous, and if it isn’t dangerous, it’s impersonal and caters toward people who can’t get a date any other way. With these assumptions and more behind the concept, it’s no wonder many singles don’t give internet dating a second glance.
However, more and more people are discovering the truth: these assumptions are false and can keep you from finding love and deep friendship online. As internet dating becomes more and more popular, it’s harder and harder for some to stay away, no matter what they believe or how much they want to.
Find the Truth
If you have stayed away from internet dating because it seems a little scary, rest assured that you’re not alone. However, if you want to find love and aren’t having success through any of the traditional ways, you might want to reconsider your choice to stay away from dating online.
Before you commit yourself to any one choice, it will help to evaluate the assumptions you’re carrying. If you believe that internet dating is dangerous, impersonal, or only for the socially inept, investigate these ideas to find out whether or not they’re actually true.
Talk to People
The best way to find out the truth about internet dating is to ask people who have tried it. Most likely, you know more than one person who has put up a profile on an internet dating site and communicated with several people that way. You might even know someone who met a significant other or even a spouse online. These are the people you’ll want to talk to.
Make sure you talk to more than one person, though, so you get an accurate picture of what it means to date online. One good or bad experience might color your view of internet dating in a way that isn’t accurate, but you should get a well-rounded point of view if you talk to several people who have tried it.
Do Your Research
In addition to talking to people who have dated online, do some reading on the subject. There are some great articles online, and books like this one can be especially helpful. Make sure that the information you get seems to come from a balanced perspective, and that it pertains to the specific type of internet dating you are thinking about pursuing.
Make Your Own Decision
More than anything else, make sure that the decision you make about internet dating is your own. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the choice as long as you are happy with it.
If you investigate and decide that there’s a good chance you could meet someone special online, pursue internet dating in spite of what other friends and family members might think. You might have to put up with some comments here and there, but the people who doubt your choice will think again after they see you find love online.
Section 1: Top Myths About Internet Dating Debunked
Myth #1: Internet Dating is Only for Technologically Oriented People
Back when internet dating first came on the scene, most of the people who enjoyed its benefits were the technologically-oriented type, because they were the ones who knew enough about the online world and how to connect with others through it to utilize the services. While many of these people were perfectly normal outside of their propensity toward understanding technology that most people didn’t, a few of them qualified as stereotypical geeks.
When internet dating worked for these people, it became known as a geek phenomenon. Some people commented that, of course, it would work for the computer-oriented types, because they would be most likely to meet someone who shared their interests in an online environment.
Over time, this became something of a stigma for internet dating. It became a place where geeks met geeks, and where someone would go only if they wanted to meet and date a geek. It wasn’t a cool place to find love, nor was it a place that most people even thought about when they considered dating venues.
Times have changed. Internet dating has moved beyond its geeky beginnings to become something that anyone can do. If you can surf the internet and set up a profile on a social networking site, you have the technological skills to date online.
In addition, the types of people available on online dating services has changed, too. There are people from all walks of life using the internet to date, not just those with techie backgrounds. While certain internet dating websites might cater to people with certain backgrounds or skills, most of the sites offer a broad spectrum of other single people for you to choose from.
On most internet dating sites, who you communicate with is your choice, which offers you even more protection from being paired with a type of person you’re not interested in. Usually, you can search the available profiles for certain characteristics that are important to you and choose who to talk to based on what you find there.
In addition, the fact that online dating websites have so many different kinds of people using them means that the stigma for showing up there in the first place is virtually gone. No one will assume that you can’t get a date any other way, so there’s no shame in trying internet dating out.
How to Overcome Your Assumptions
If you’re still not sure about the type of person you might find online, give internet dating a chance. Choose a large, well-known online dating site and set up a profile. If you’re concerned, only show your first name or do it under an assumed name. While you won’t want to pursue any relationships without telling the truth about who you are, this can let you use the site without needing to worry.
Run some searches and see what (and who!) you find. If you’re satisfied with the selection of people, set up a real profile. If you’re not, try another site.
Myth #2: Internet Dating isn’t Safe
Everyone has heard the horror stories. Girl meets boy online. They chat a little, and decide to meet up. When they do, one or the other of them turns out to be different from the person the claimed to be and is, in fact, a predator of some sort. Someone gets hurt, and warnings about dating online fly.
Only one of these stories might not be enough to keep you away from internet dating, and anyone who watches the news has probably heard several of them. When put together, these stories give internet dating a bad name, making it seem like a picking up a date in a dark alley on the wrong side of town.
The internet is a great place for anyone who wants to misrepresent themselves. There’s no way around that. Because you can’t automatically look at the person you’re communicating with, and because they get time to formulate their responses to you and don’t have to do it on the fly, it’s easier for people to misrepresent themselves online than just about anywhere else.
On the other hand, the number of people deliberately making themselves look harmless when they really want to prey on innocent people is relatively small. Your chances of meeting up with one of these people are very slim. Most people who date online never come across anyone doing anything remotely sinister.
In addition, there are good ways to protect yourself. If you meet someone online, find out some information that you can verify. Maybe you can find the website for their place of business, or friend them on Facebook or another social networking site and see if their persona there seems consistent with the one they’re showing to you in your communications.
Make sure you communicate with someone for a while before you agree to meet them. While this doesn’t guarantee that they won’t deceive you, it gives you ample chance to make sure that their communications are consistent and their demeanor one that you’re comfortable with.
When you do meet someone for the first time, take a friend along. While this might be the last thing you want to do if you’re looking for love and want to see if this match is the one you’ve been waiting for, it’s important to protect yourself. If you’re not comfortable bringing someone else along, invite the person you’re meeting to a group event, like a barbecue at a friend’s house or a football party that one of your colleagues hosts.
There’s no need to be more afraid of dating online than dating in any other way, though the things you’ll need to take into consideration will be different. If you take these simple precautions, though, internet dating should be no more dangerous than hooking up with a guy you meet in a bar or going to coffee with the cute girl who lives next door.
Myth #3: Internet Dating is Impersonal
Some people see the dependence our society’s dependence on electronic communication as a harbinger of isolated and increasing impersonal communication in the years ahead. Whether you buy into this or not, it’s easy to believe that getting to know someone online would be harder than getting to now them in person.
When you want to find love, you want to get to know someone’s heart. Traditionally, this is done by staring dreamily at each other over a romantic dinner and holding hands through a movie, or hiking someplace beautiful and watching the sunset together. It’s a lot harder to imagine it happening through an email exchange or even a series of phone calls.
While communicating electronically is different from communicating in person, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to truly get to know someone. It’s definitely different, and may even be harder in certain areas, but it’s definitely possible. Look at the groups and relationships that have formed on various social networking sites, for example. While most of these aren’t romantic in nature, they demonstrate that people do have the ability to connect in real and meaningful ways online.
To facilitate this sort of communication, take some simple steps to make sure that even your earliest conversations go beyond the banal and the mundane and help you truly get to know other people.
First of all, share honestly about yourself. While there are things that it might embarrass you to share or feelings you might not be entirely comfortable letting another person know about, try to share some of these things anyway. This creates an atmosphere of honesty and intimacy that will encourage the person you’re communicating with to share on a similar level.
There’s a fine line between sharing honestly and sharing too much. If you’re not comfortable with someone knowing something about you, don’t tell them. Don’t hide it, either, but know that you don’t have to share until you’re fully comfortable.
More than anything else, try to communicate in a voice that is authentically your own. Make sure that your emails are neither more formal nor more casual than is your general conversation. If you tend to be witty, silly, serious, goofy, or whatever, make sure that comes across in your communications.
In addition, learn to ask good questions. You don’t have to pry or be overly personal, just ask things that you really want to know. This can be as easy as asking someone how they came to do the work they do or why they chose to live in a certain area of town. Answers to questions like these will give you insight as to who this person you’ve met online really is and whether they are truly compatible with you.
If you’re not sure what questions to ask, try to visualize the electronic exchange as if it were a conversation you were having in person. If the other person actually said to you the words that appear in their email, how would you respond. Get a good friend to help you with this. They can read the words in the email and give you the chance to respond vocally.
In the end, internet dating is only impersonal if you let it be that way. On the other hand, if you so choose, it can be an experience that leads to rich and rewarding relationships.
Why Date Online?
Dating Online is Great for Busy People
Now that you’ve had a chance to rethink some of the most commonly held myths about online dating, it’s time to consider some of its advantages. If you’re considering the web as a place to find love, there are definitely some things that it offers that other dating venues don’t.
Online Dating Fits Into Your Schedule
One of these advantages to online dating is that it is easy to fit into a busy schedule. While other dating venues require you to be in a certain place at a certain time, you can enter the world of online dating from anywhere. Whether you’re on your lunch break, answering an email from your phone between meetings, or searching profiles between clients, internet dating can fit into the smallest corners of your schedule.
This fact makes internet dating perfect for people who have odd schedules. If you work nights or the swing shift, for example, it can be difficult to get to the usual dating venues. Choosing to date online would allow you to pursue romance at the times of day that work best for you.
Because it fits so easily into even the tightest schedules, online dating also tends to appeal to busy professionals. Just because you’re expending a lot of time and energy in the workplace doesn’t mean that you don’t want to date, but it might mean that you can’t always fit it in in the traditional ways. Internet dating can give you the chance to pursue the romantic relationship you want without compromising your performance at work.
Online Dating Doesn’t Take Too Long
In addition to fitting into your schedule when and where you want it to, online dating often takes less time, at least at the outset, than traditional dating does. While setting up an online profile that accurately represents who you are can take a couple of hours, after that you can invest as much or as little time into finding love online as you want to.
Most of the tasks that come with online dating can fit into a few minutes here and there in your day. A fifteen minute break at work is long enough to scan a few profiles and decide if you’re interested in any potential matches. You can also pursue your internet dating life while standing in line at the grocery store or sitting outside someone’s office waiting for a meeting.
Thus, it’s possible to give internet dating a try without investing a huge amount of time and energy. If you still feel skeptical about it, you can give it a try without wondering if you’re wasting time and energy that could be spent meeting people in other ways.
Overall, internet dating is quicker and more compatible with your schedule than most other ways of dating. If you want to date but find that you’re not doing it much because you don’t have the time or your schedule isn’t compatible with the usual dating venues, internet dating could be the answer to your dating dilemma.
Internet Dating Gives You Access to More People
Whether or not you subscribe to the idea that every person has a soul mate, traditional dating can be frustrating because you begin to feel like you’re only meeting certain people, or a certain type of person. If you’re not interested in the people that you usually meet, or have had several relationships with a certain type of person that haven’t worked out, internet dating could give you access to more people across a broader spectrum of life and experience.
People Outside Your Geographic Area
Dating online can give you the chance to meet people who live across town, in other cities, or even in other states or countries. While you might want to consider how things might work out long-term before you pursue any of these relationships seriously, this can be an opportunity to meet people with a different perspective on life than your own.
Many times, people who come from and/or live in different places see the world differently than you do. This different perspective can be frustrating, but it can also give a romantic relationship some extra spice and flavor. In addition, if you’re truly open to hearing what someone different from you thinks about life, having that person as a partner will help broaden your world and will change your perspective, too.
People Outside a Common Demographic
If you usually find your dates at a club, chances are that you only meet certain types of people: the types who like to go clubbing. Something similar will be true if you only meet people through a church group or a recreational group. If you want to meet people outside these general categories, you’ll need to look somewhere else.
Becoming part of a new group can be time consuming and difficult, though, particularly if your schedule is already busy. This is where internet dating can be useful.
When you date online, you can choose to interact with people who seem different from those you usually date. If you usually date outdoor enthusiasts, for example, you can choose to interact with an intellectual or someone who specializes in finance.
While there’s no guarantee that choosing a person with different interests will lead to love, it will definitely give you a better knowledge of who is out there and what it is like to talk and interact with someone outside your usual sphere of influence. And who knows what will happen? Maybe the change of scenery will be all you need to find the love you’re looking for.
Online Dating Requires Less Commitment
One of the best things about online dating is that leaving isn’t awkward if you don’t like what you’re experiencing. Think about it. If you go to a bar with some friends in the hope of finding love and realize you hate the location, you either have to ditch your friends or convince them to leave with you. When you’re dating online, though, all you have to do is delete your profile or simply never return to the site and you’ve successfully left it behind.
Less Commitment to the Process
Whether you’re not sure you’ll like online dating or you’re still not sure if it is for you, the fact that it’s easy to get set up and even easier to leave could be motivation to give it a try. Since you don’t have to invest a lot of effort to at least get a taste of what the internet dating experience might have to offer you, it’s easy to find out whether or not it’s a good match for you.
In addition, you can try different internet dating sites without a problem. Just because you set up a profile and search for matches in one place doesn’t mean that you have to stay there. If you don’t like anything about the site, from the layout to the profiles to the types of people that use it, you can try something else. Some sites will charge you a membership fee, but most of them will allow you to try the site for free before you pay, reducing your commitment even more.
This can be particularly useful when you’re looking for an internet dating site focused on a specific interest. For instance, there are online dating sties for motorcycle riders, members of certain religious groups, and people who live in certain areas. The low commitment of online dating allows you to try all of these in succession or even all at once without causing any problems.
Less Commitment to People
Going on an actual date with someone implies some sort of commitment. That’s not to say that a single date means you’re committed to someone for life, but that it takes a certain amount of commitment just to get to the date. You have to dress a certain way, arrive at a certain time, and (usually!) stay for a certain length of time.
While some people enjoy this aspect of traditional dating, others find it wearing to repeat this process over and over again with different potential partners. This is where online dating can come to the rescue. It requires much less commitment to send an email to someone than it does to show up to a date.
Additionally, it’s often easier to end an online relationship than it is to end one where you’re meeting in person, even if you’ve only had one date. And ending a relationship gently over email is often less hurtful to someone else than ignoring their phone calls or text messages!
The Nitty Gritty of Internet Dating
How to Date Online: The Basics
If you’ve decided that internet dating is for you, it’s time to jump into the pool. If you don’t know how to swim, here are some thoughts for getting started.
Choose Your Website/s
Before you do anything else, choose your internet dating website or websites carefully. You may want to go with one of the large, well-known sites, or you may choose to find a smaller site that caters toward one of your specific interests or hobbies.
Whatever you do, make sure the site you choose comes well recommended. You can look to family and friends who have tried internet dating for advice on choosing a site, or you can find one that is well-reviewed online.
If you’re not sure what’s out there. try running some simple web searches. While you may not want to use any of the sites that you find this way, it should give you some idea of what is available and what possibilities exist.
Create Your Profile
Once you’ve chosen the dating website or sites that you want to use, you’ll need to set up a profile. Usually, this involves posting a picture of yourself, filling out some basic information about who you are, and maybe answering some questions that will give potential matches some more information about you.
When you’re making your profile, remember to be honest. While it might be tempting to make yourself look different than you actually are, remember that you want to be loved for who you really are, not who your profile makes you out to be. You probably won’t want to advertise flaws and weaknesses, but you don’t want to deny their existence, either.
Make sure you set aside a good chunk of time to create your profile. Several hours on a weekend would be perfect. This will give you the time to relax and enjoy the process, while allowing you to be thoughtful about how you represent yourself online.
Choose a profile picture that shows you in a good light. It helps if this is not something posed and formal but is a picture that somehow shows who you are. Maybe you’ll want to post a picture of you doing something you truly enjoy or spending time with a group of friends who you like a lot.
If you don’t have any pictures that you like, set up a time with a photographer to get some good shots. They don’t have to be overly posed to be what you need. Aim for something easy and natural.
Likewise, spend some time with the words you use to describe yourself and answer any questions for your profile. If you’re not sure what to say or how you are coming across, ask a good friend or a close family member to read your words before you submit them. This way, you can make sure that you are presenting yourself the way you want to and aren’t giving anyone any wrong ideas about who you are.
How to Date Online: Finding a Match
Once you’ve set up a profile on the site or sites of your choice, it’s time to find a match. Some sites will give you the names of specific people that they think you’re compatible with based on information in your profile, while others will let you search or browse through their entire database of matches as you look for your new love.
If you aren’t feeling confident in your ability to choose people to communicate with based on an internet profile alone, you should consider choosing a site that actively matches you with other people. Many of these sites use highly complex algorithms and so have a good chance of matching you with someone you’re actually interested in dating.
On the other hand, if you want to make sure that you have personally vetted everyone you come into contact with over the web, you should make sure that your site will let you search for your own matches. Sometimes, it can be reassuring to know that you have actively chosen to communicate with someone and weren’t just fed their name.
If the computer sends you matches, you don’t have to worry about this part. If, however, you’re searching on your own, you’ll want to consider which search criteria are the most important to you. For instance, you might only want to date people in your geographic area, or only those between certain ages.
Enter all of your search criteria at once, then look through the potential matches you’re sent. If there are too many, consider narrowing your criteria.
Whether someone’s name was given to you by the dating site or you chose a profile yourself, it can be scary to get in touch with a new match for the first time. It can help to remember that you’re dating. If you would approach someone in a bar or a coffee shop, you can approach them online, too. Also, remember that everyone on an internet dating site signed up for the site, so they are looking forward to being contacted just like you are.
Follow the website’s protocol for making your first contact with a new match. Some sites have highly regulated communication for the first few exchanges, while other sites will let you communicate with the person however you want from the very beginning. If there are certain ways you are supposed to communicate, make sure you follow those rules. You wouldn’t want to scare off a potential partner, after all!
If someone contacts you first, read over their communication and their profile carefully before you respond. Make sure that you are interested in the person and actually want to continue the conversation. If you do, respond via the site’s protocol.
It can be helpful to write up an introductory email before you find yourself staring at a blank screen wondering what to tell a complete stranger about yourself. While you’ll want to personalize anything you write before you send it off, having some ideas on paper can make first contact easier.
Making the Most of Dating Online
Once you’ve chosen your website, set up your profile and found some matches (or been found by them!), you’re well on your way to finding love online. When you feel like you’ve got the basics down, there are a few things you can do to enhance your experience.
Make a Video
Some online dating sites will allow you to post a video as part of your profile. Since this takes a lot of time and energy, it might not be something you want to do right at the beginning of your online dating adventure, especially if you feel tentative about the whole experience. Once you’re established with a website, a profile, and some matches, though, a video can help make your profile stand out from thousands of others.
Make sure that any video you post is well made and accurately represents who you are in a positive light. If you aren’t sure how to achieve this yourself, get some friends to help or even consider hiring someone to help you make it pop. After all, you want to improve your profile, not sabotage it.
If your dating website will not allow you to post a video directly to your profile, include a link to it somewhere on the profile or post it to the internet and direct potential matches to it.
Take Some Pictures
Beyond your profile picture, post some pictures to your internet dating profile that demonstrate the different sides of your personality. If your profile pic shows you in a formal setting, post pictures of you doing other things you enjoy, whether that is bowling, hiking, grooming your dog, or tossing a frisbee on the beach.
When you post these pictures, it’s most important that they show you having fun. While a more formal pic definitely serves a purpose on your profile, it’s important that potential matches know that you can enjoy yourself. Thus, anything that portrays your fun-loving, adventurous, contented, or happy side will be an asset when matches come looking for you.
The best thing you can do to enhance your internet dating experience is to have a great time. Dating online doesn’t need to feel like having teeth pulled and, in fact, shouldn’t feel that way. If it’s hard for you, maybe you should try to find love some other way.
In the end, online dating is about finding love with the help of the internet, but don’t forget to have fun, too. Sometimes, it feels so serious that you can forget that meeting new people is always an adventure. Even if it doesn’t work out with your first matches, keep at it. Who knows what’s in store, and just a click away! read more Free eBook at love advice