Valentine’s Day aka Single Awareness Day is approaching with its chocolates, red hearts, and dinner reservations. I spent MANY a Valentine’s Day alone, which wasn’t always a bad thing. I had a lot of fun being single, but I was also lonely at times. I thought in honor of the holiday that reminds some of us that we’re “missing” a mate, I’d write about the wonderful world of online dating. It’s how I met my husband, so I think it’s pretty great.
For the doubters out there, let me say that my sister met her husband online, and I know two other couples who are happily married that met online. My sister and I used Match.com, while the other couples used E-harmony. I am partial to Match.com since E-harmony told me, after filling out their loooong questionnaire, that there wasn’t anyone for me in the Greenville area.
Whichever site you decide to use, here are some tops and general thoughts on online dating:
- Don’t do it until you’re ready to actually go on a date. This sounds way too simple, but I know a lot of people who join, pay, and write e-mails to potential mates without ever really wanting to meet them in person. Either they haven’t accepted the idea of online dating or they just aren’t ready to date. Don’t do this! When you actually are ready to meet someone, you might have already turned them away during this prior period. Don’t sign up unless you are actually willing to meet someone.
- Be honest on your profile, but not too honest. Your online profile should be like a good first date. You are yourself, just more polished. For example, if you play a few too many video games or you like to eat cookie dough after a bad day, this is not the time or place to air this information. I’m not saying lie, just show your best self.
- Be funny in your profile. Don’t try to hard; however, a funny line or two can do the trick, especially for women. I remember Jimmy had a line about how Thursdays were his favorite day of the week for the anticipation factor. That tickled me. I “winked” at him. He e-mailed me. We dated. Got married. Okay, it wasn’t that easy, but the humor helped us connect online.
- Be careful in your searches. On Match.com you can search by age, interests, religion, salary, etc, etc. If you’re too picky, you could really miss someone great. For instance, someone who wasn’t a smoker was really important to me, but salary and food habits weren’t. That kind of thing.
- The first thing you should check when you pull up a potential profile: the age they are looking for. This inherently says a lot about someone. Each profile states the age range the person is searching within. I think mine was 25-35. If you find a 30-year-old guy, and his desired age range is 18-23, I would reevaluate this choice. I interpret this age range choice to mean I am not looking for a serious relationship.
- It’s a real risk to sign-up for online dating. I was worried about friends, family, strangers seeing my photo and thinking I was desperate. I was also terrified of the rejection. Would anyone like me? Isn’t this always our worry. The reality for me was I found a lot of friends, family, and acquaintances already with profiles online and that I did get rejected; however, it only stung for a moment because all the other options were visibly in front of me. I rejected some guys, too. It wasn’t a big deal after a while. You have to be willing to take the risk though. Isn’t it less risky than tapping a stranger’s shoulder in a bar?
- The last thing I’ll say about online dating is that it causes you to really have to “talk” or write to one another. Jimmy and I exchanged e-mails for several weeks before we ever met in person. I think it builds a strong foundation in terms of communication. If someone can’t engage you by asking questions and conversation, do you really want to take things further?
- And for goodness sakes, don’t go meeting someone until you feel safe about it. Meet them in a public place and let several people know where and when. One of my best friends was worried that my now-husband was a serial killer. She called several times through the course of our first date. Fortunately, it lasted long because we had much to talk about, not because he was a crazed lunatic.
Of course, these thoughts are written for the person looking for love, looking for a real relationship. If you’re happy being single, by all means do your thing! If you want to find a special someone, consider online dating. It isn’t for everyone, but it worked out well for me.