Monday, November 7, 2011

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating

I know you are probably already laughing because I am by no means in a position to offer dating advice or pretend I am any kind of expert on this, especially judging from my lack of success after being on eHarmony off and on for the past two years or so. But anyway…

I’ve had a few friends who’ve recently decided to jump on the online dating bandwagon and give it a shot. They obviously came straight to me to gossip about the process and I found myself talking them through the first emails, first meetings and what not. I may not have found the love of my life on eHarmony yet, but I have come away with lots of thoughts on what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do.
Do try to include a variety of photos that allow your personality to shine through. This allows matches to get a good idea of how you look and may learn about you a little at the same time.

Don’t and I repeat, DON’T include a photo of you taking a picture of yourself in the mirror. Guys, this is a thousand times worse when you are shirtless. No matter what you really have to offer someone, a "mirror pic" makes you come across as a complete tool. Take five minutes and ask someone to take a picture of you for goodness sake.

Do go at your own pace. Depending on the person, it may take you several emails and weeks of communicating before you are ready to meet in person. That is okay. You’ll know when you feel comfortable and are ready to take that next step.

Don’t get turned off if someone tries to move forward before you are ready. For example, you may want to exchange a few emails before moving to calling/texting. If they suggest this before you are ready, don’t be completely turned off, but simply respond by saying you’d like to get to know each other a little better before then. They will understand and if they don’t, they probably aren’t worth moving forward with, anyway.

Do trust your instincts. You are going to be matched with a ton of great people. Don’t feel like you have to communicate with everyone. Don’t feel like everyone you talk to, you are obligated to meet. If you aren’t digging someone via email, there isn’t a huge chance you are going to hit it off in person. Don’t force it. If you aren’t feeling it, don’t waste your time or theirs.

Don’t get offended. Rejection is never fun, whether someone stops communicating with you immediately or you start dating and they break things off down the road. Don’t take it personally. Online dating has a lot of great perks like matching you with people you have things in common with, but it has the same downfalls as when you meet someone organically. Someone you like may not like you back. Don’t get offended, but appreciate their honesty and know that there is someone better suited out there for you.

Do enjoy the process. One thing I’ve heard from my friends is how overwhelming it is. I remember the feeling well…you are getting loads of matches and you start to feel like you need a personal assistant to manage your account. Try not to get too wrapped up in “What do I do?” or “What if?” Just go with the flow and enjoy the experience.

Don’t be embarrassed. You’ve seen the commercials and heard the ads. Online dating is pretty common these days. It’s not something to be embarrassed by or ashamed of. If anything, it shows you are adventurous, willing to try new things and open-minded. Go you!

Do be smart and cautious. Online dating sites (or at least in my experience, eHarmony) don’t have near as many creepers as you are afraid of. However, to be on the safe side, be cautious when you are meeting someone for the first time. It goes without saying that you should plan to meet in a very public place, like a bar or coffee shop. I always make sure at least a few of my family members or friends know where I am going and what time we are meeting. For the most part, I recommend those first few meetings you drive separately and meet there. It might be different with every person you meet, but you’ll know when you feel comfortable enough to move forward.

Don’t say, “Online dating doesn’t work” if you haven’t met the love of your life after three months. When I first joined eHarmony many, many moons ago (hahaha), I joined for three months and never went on one date…not even a phone call. You may not meet someone special, or anyone at all in the time you spend on whichever site, but focus on what you did get out of it. I know for me, being on eHarmony has really helped me understand not only what I am looking for out of a relationship, but also what I have to offer someone. At the very least, it’s a great life experience and gives you a lot of insight on what you do want out of a relationship.

There you have it. The dos and don’ts of online dating. For those of you have tried it, any thing to you want to add to the list???


  1. That was really excellent! I would agree with everything!

  2. Absolutely agree with all of your points, and it wasn't until after I'd been with eHarmony for almost a year that I got matched with the most wonderful woman in the world and won the wife lottery. :)