I have a profile on Match.com. There, I said it! But I don’t check it often as I don’t pay to use the service and that limits my options. In fact, as a proud Latina, I refuse to pay money for an online service to meet men. I doubt my soul mate is floating around cyberspace waiting to make a connection with me. And to make matters worse, a friend of mine says that online dating sites are a kind of dysfunction junction.
So why the heck am I still there? Well, because deep down I’m an optimist, and I believe there are always exceptions. Perhaps at some point “The One” might show up. Despite my own misgivings, I recommend online dating to my single friends, albeit with a note of caution.
Many women don’t sign up to online dating because they fear making headlines by ending up dismembered by a psychopath. The chances of that happening are minimal, but on the other hand it is very, very likely that you might date a loser, a Peter Pan, a cynic or a false divorcé—if you don´t follow the common-sense rules of the game, that is.
So, here are my rules to navigate the potential minefield of online dating. Take it from a single woman with years of dating experience!
DO’S OF ONLINE DATING
- Do be honest. If you’re a 40-year-old mom, why would you say you’re a single woman in your thirties? Stop the nonsense and be proud of who you are.
- Do post a recent pic. We all have at least one picture in which we look absolutely ravishing. But don’t post it if it’s over 5 years old. Do you really want to see the guy’s jaw drop in disappointment when he sees you in real life?
- Do keep some mystery. Hold back on discussing your whacky family and your dysfunctional workplace. Reveal yourself slowly and don’t make for an easy catch. Remember, men are hunters. Yes, even 21st century urbanites like the pursuit.
- Do trust your inner voice. If his words, actions and online description don’t match, beware. Does he look sad in his pictures, yet insists that he’s super happy and successful? Does he remind you of your toxic ex-boyfriends? Trust your instincts and throw that fish back in the water!
- Do be proactive. If you see a man you like online, take the first step and write to him. Don’t be afraid that he might think you are desperate. He will feel flattered if you act with grace and femininity. After all, he’s there for the same reasons as you are: to meet someone.
DONT’S OF ONLINE DATING
- Don’t be a bitch. Obvious, you may say. But most guys I know swear that women on online dating sites are rude by default. Don’t be one of them. Refrain from being stuck-up and mistreating your suitors. If you come across as snotty, they will wonder why you’re online in the first place?
- Don’t insist. If a man doesn’t answer your email, let it go. There are more fish in the sea and you’re a lady. Never, ever, demean yourself or plead. His silence means he’s not the one for you. He’s doing you a favor by not writing back.
- Don’t give too much. There’s no need to brag about your accomplishments or send endless and detailed emails to men you don’t know. They will probably play along with you at the beginning but will quickly tire out. Guys can smell desperation and they don’t like it!
- Dont be a tease. You will most likely get a lot of emails and winks from potential suitors. Although you may feel flattered because it’s been too long since a man last called you princesa, don’t waste your time or theirs. Be fair and let them know you are not interested from the get-go if that’s the case.
- Don’t keep your communication online forever. Communicating only via email and chat, without phone calls or a face-to-face meeting, can lead you to believe you’ve found the perfect man. And that, my friend, is dangerous. I’ve been there and done that. The Internet is great to make an initial contact with someone, but the next step is to get to know each other in person. I have a friend on Twitter who has been dating a guy online for three years and considers him her boyfriend. Excuse me? For months he’s been trying to get in my pants, and never spoke of having a girlfriend!
All this said, you can have fun flirting and “dating” online—by being smart and careful!