Don't reveal too much about your location or employer in your profile or initial communications and always meet in a public location.
Most importantly, 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.
After numerous dates, I came to some conclusions based upon 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. One friend cautioned me to never date a "one-picture person," also known as an individual who only displays one photo of themselves on their profile.
When I realized I had arranged a date with a one-picture person, I considered bailing. But, had I not left room for one exception, I wouldn't have met my husband.
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.
On the flip side, there were occasions I conveniently used this norm to my advantage, no matter how rude. If directness is challenging for you as it is for me, use online dating as an opportunity to practice being assertive and try not to be too hard on yourself when you fail. After all, practice makes progress. Being direct will keep uncomfortable situations from becoming worse and prevent you from wasting your time or anyone else's, even if it may feel rude. For example, ending a date early may feel awkward, but is it more awkward than leading someone on or committing to another awkward date you don't want to attend?
On one occasion, I squashed a date before it began.
Of course everyone approaches these things differently. I have to be in a certain kind of mood to go on a date with sameone I literally know nothing about so I think a few emails is important so you know you are on the same page at least. When I did it, I saw plenty of profiles disappear for a week or two and then come back online. Also, I seem to only find men who mark off their religion as "other. Put simply, how soon you meet will have a direct effect on your chemistry.
An individual had called me to set up a meeting, but I found the conversation so uncomfortable that I informed him it wasn't going to work out anymore. It was awkward, but no more awkward than if I had gone on the date because I felt too bad to cancel. Meet Sooner Than Later: Exchanging dozens of emails and phone calls before meeting in person may feel safer, but a date is a more efficient way of gathering information.
There's only so much you can learn about someone without actually meeting them. A great pen pal won't necessarily equate an ideal life partner. Once, I exchanged dozens of giddy communications with an individual over the course of two weeks, but when we met in person, the date fell flat. I was puzzled when he looked nothing like his photos.
Later, when I confessed I did not know a common football term, he abruptly ended the date. We never communicated again, though I did keep his gift of a tin of SPAM neatly wrapped with a red ribbon.
I was surprised our virtual chemistry didn't translate in person. From that point on, I communicated online or by phone just long enough to discern potential and then arranged to meet. Don't Meet for a Meal on a First Date: There is an online dating 'cut-off' for meeting dates.
Of course, there are many reasons to delay meeting a potential match. But the simple truth is that messaging on the internet is nothing more than a fact-finding mission. Often, you end up filling in the gaps. It happens all the time. Online dating is a fact finding mission.
The sooner you can assess whether those online sparks translate into real-life chemistry, the better. Daisy Buchanan, author of dating guide Meeting Your Match agrees. It feels a bit more intimate. One friend tells me that, if she has a positive feeling about someone, she gives them the details of her Facebook account and switches to messaging them away from the dating site. And meet them you must. Many macchiatos maketh the match and not all of us are great in writing.
As the study suggests, time waits for no match. Take the plunge and meet in person. Well, there are things you can take away from it for next time. Were your expectations too high? Were they right for you —why not? Which of your needs did you think they might fulfil? Should you avoid people who make grammatical errors in their profile?
You likely did nothing wrong. But answering these questions is a useful way to progress the process of online dating. Many match-making websites now have their own blogs, or guides advising you how and when to meet — among other tips — that you might find useful. Go to parties, meet new friends and force yourself to speak to strangers — romantic potential, or not. It makes the prospect of arranging dates a lot less scary. Those 17 to 23 days of messages are just the first chapter in your story.