This January marks the 3rd anniversary of my first online dating profile. While I have created, deleted, updated, and forgetten about a handful of profiles in that time, I have certainly learned a lot. From bad dates to lasting friendships and thousands of messages received, I’ve had my fair share of online dating turned IRL encounters. In honor of passing the three year milestone, I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned and what I do differently today.
Be as honest as possible. No one gains anything from you trying to hide certain aspects of yourself. If you’re not looking for someone with kids and that’s a dealbreaker for you, make sure to explain that in your profile. It saves you the trouble of filtering those people out, but more importantly it saves them the time and effort of messaging you. If you’ve gained some weight over the past year, don’t try to fool anyone with old photos. It’s okay to be you and sharing your preferences up front is best.
Your gut instinct is (usually) correct. If something seems off about a person based on their profile, there’s probably something off. Trust your instinct and move on – there are SO many fish in the virtual sea!
You are not obligated to like, chat with, or meet anyone. EVER. Signing up for an online dating account does not mean you agree to date everyone who sends you a message. Some people have a harder time accepting this fact, and some are better at making you feel guilty about rebuffing their advances, but you do not owe anyone anything. Even if you have a date with someone, a second date is not mandatory, even if they ask.
You get out what you put in. (TWSS.) But seriously – if your approach to online dating is casually checking messages every once in a while, expect to attract the same in return. If you’re looking for something more serious and long-term, but in the work and the effort up front and commit to allocating time from your day to respond to messages and browse profiles. There is no correct way to do it, but just know that your effort dictates your results.
Don’t compromise your beliefs. We all know the internet is a terrible place for jerks and misogynists to congregate and spout their venomous words, and online dating is no different. If someone offends you in a message, fight back. And then block them. I’m sure people will disagree with me on this, but I have written countless messages berating a person for their hatred, sexism, and blatant lack of respect for me. Even if it does not make an ounce of difference in their life, I feel empowered and know that I stood up for what I believe in.
What lessons have you learned over the years?
photo credit: Cali4beach