Online Dating

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As we approach the end of January, single women wait; some with anticipation, some with doom the month of February, the month of love, the month where VD (Valentine’s Day) is celebrated.  While this may be a great time for those women who are a part of a couple or for those single women who have come up with their Valentine’s Day routine, for others it is a day where they watch their co-workers receive flower deliveries and candy while they leave empty handed and sometimes lonely.  So what is the single woman to do?

One of the more popular options many singles are trying is online dating.  Every few minutes there is a commercial on singing the praises of EHarmony, Christian Mingle or Match.com.  As a single woman I have tried my hand in the online dating ring and have come up with some hits and misses.  Here are some of the lessons I have learned.

  1.  Don’t share too much.  You are not sure who you are meeting.  We have all seen or heard the stories of scam artists or God forbid the Craig’s list killer, who met his victims online. Keep things short, concise and to the point.  Never put your address, phone number or email out there right from the start.
  2. Pay close attention to who you connect with.  Read a person’s entire profile.  Most of the time the profile will let you know what they are looking for: a hook-up or a relationship.  Also look at pictures, if they are wearing corduroy bell bottoms and an afro chances are the picture is old and they look nothing like that now.  Keep your eyes wide open.
  3. Do your homework.  If you are new to online dating or if you have been online for a while I suggest that you watch at least one episode of Catfish on MTV.  The show walks you through how they research people using Google images, Google earth and many other tools available on the web.  Google should be bookmarked on your computer if you are dating online.
  4. Be real and CLEAR about your expectation.  If you are just looking to date with no long term commitment or just looking for a casual encounter, be honest about it.  Yes there are some women who just want their pipes cleaned.  Don’t lead the person you meet to think that you are ready to become the step mother to their children and you know you hate kids.  Honesty goes a long way in the long run.
  5. Be safe.  Never go to a person’s home on the first date.  Meet the person in a well-populated public place.  Always let someone know who you are going out with and their contact information.  Make a check in time and inform your contacts that if they do not hear from you by the appointed time, start looking for you.  Safety should ALWAYS come first.
  6.  Have fun.  Don’t plan the wedding after the first conversation.  Take time to get to know the person.  Find out whether or not you all are compatible and have the same values and beliefs.  Enjoy dating.  Have fun.

We have all seen the commercials with the success stories.  We met on … and we were married 2 years later or we have already been married for 2 years.  Success can happen when you date online, there are many stories of people who made it but there are also some horror stories. Follow your heart and your internal feelings about whether or not you are comfortable with the situation.  Pay attention to that voice inside you that tells you if you are heading in the right direction or if you need to exit stage left.

Know that ultimately your internal compass is often your best judge of character.  Keep the faith about finding that person that is for you.  Don’t eliminate the option of meeting a person while you are out and about enjoying life.  The perfect guy could be next to you in Starbucks or in line behind you in the grocery store or the guy your see in the elevator at work every day.  Online dating can be a lot of work but it could also be extremely rewarding.  Who knows you could be the next success story on the EHarmony commercial.