Back in the days before computers, people met their “intended” at the town fish-fry or church bazaar.
These days though, of the more than 54 million single people in the United States, 41 million have at least tried online dating as a method to find true love. And many do. Of all the committed relationships currently in the United States, approximately 20 percent began with online dating.
So hit those sites! But so it safely:
1. Be Stingy:
Be extremely careful with the data you place on dating sites. There is no reason put correct birth dates, income levels or for that matter, where you work. Never forget that nearly 74,000 U.S.. sexual predators have reported using dating sites.
2. Be Regional:
If you live in a very small town where it would be easy to find you, keep your profile regional instead of specific.
3. Be Photo Wise:
As they say, a “picture is worth a 1,000 words”. They are not lying. Make certain the background of your photo does not offer more information than you intended to share, such as workplace signs, street signs or other hints to your region.
4. Be Selective:
Only make contact through the site and only with those profiles that are complete and appear to be written by a real person.
5. Be Slow:
When you find that special someone to talk to, take your time. Stay on the dating site and communicate for at least a few weeks. If someone is in a hurry, something is wrong.
Online dating is not a “person store” where you can try people on like sweaters. Don’t just look at photos. Read the entire profile before reaching out to someone.
7. Be Skeptical:
Make your connection prove themselves. Look out for lavish comments that appear to be overly emotional or too complimentary. Don’t be afraid to check out the person’s employment and their other sites, such as Facebook or work websites.
8. Be Aware:
Be aware of what constitutes a suspicious profile. Profiles with little or no information and no photos are a red flag. Profiles in which the person directs you to contact them through an email address or phone number should always be avoided.
9. Be Kind:
Dating, even online, can be tough and painful. Remember, unkind comments can spark rage. Avoid giving anyone a reason to find you by always interacting kindly with those with whom you make connections.
10. Be Old Fashioned:
There has never been a better time for a chaperoned first date than your first encounter with an online match. Chaperoned can mean you meet at a public location where you are comfortable, such as a coffee shoppe. Even better, let someone at the shoppe, who knows you well, know you are meeting someone.