Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Rules of Online Dating

Just today I was on the phone with my dear friend Paul.  He lives across the country, is in his early 30's, is super amazing, and is right now spending some time in the underbelly of the dating.  As a card carrying member of the "I survived online dating club," I shared with him my rules.  He had never heard most of them and asked me to write them down.  Ask and ye shall receive dear friend.  Here they are:

  1. Have a sense of humor. I was serious about the process and wanted to find a 'special person.' However, right from the start I became very well aware that I was going to experience ridiculous.  In fact, the first night I set up my account I laughed until 1 in the morning.  Guys lounging shirtless on unmade beds in front of a laundry basket, others holding heavy things like rocks and tree stumps; they all had a picture holding a heavy fish or on a motorcycle. I felt like I had entered an alternate universe, because I had.  You can find some of my initial impressions here.  Once I started going on dates crazy got kicked up a notch.  Yes, I was disappointed when someone told me they weren't 'technically' divorce, or lived in their mom's basement, or that the fact they weren't allowed to see their children was just a big 'misunderstanding.'  But I learned to laugh through the entire ordeal knowing he would pop out of the process.  
  2. Be clear about who you are looking for and then be flexible with your list. Online dating operates on the basic law of attraction.  What you put out to the universe is exactly what you are going to receive. You should be clear in your profile about who you are as a person and the qualities you are looking for in a mate.  The great thing about online dating is the more I interacted with others either online or on dates the clearer I became on my list.  For instance, I wanted someone who is a dad, really involved in the lives of his children.  So, if I guy only saw his kids once a week for dinner (typically on Thursday night) he was not for me. 
  3. Name your dates.  While many people have called me out on this idea it was critical to the process.  Naming your dates is not only fun but adds some humor to the process. I had backpack man, the playa, and of course Top Gun.  
  4. Don't book the preacher.  I have written about this topic as well and it just might be the most critical rule.  You see a profile and s/he looks interesting.  You start messaging on the site and eventually take it to text and even phone calls.  He says all the right things, gives good phone, and you think you have found the one...then you meet and you realize there is nothing between you at all - and you are upset.  If the first meeting goes well you find yourself two weeks in and get all excited this could be the one.    My rule - stop and let three months pass before you even think about month four.  Just enjoy those first few months of getting to know one another. Spend lots of time together and talk - a whole lot.  
These rules really really helped me get through those months dating online.  I was hopeful during my search however kept a clear head about the reality of my situation. I knew I had to sift through a whole lot of people to find someone who was the right fit for me (and vice versa of course).  

So, to my dear friend she is out there waiting for you. She may come to you through the world of online dating, or you may casually bump into her on the street.  Know that she will be one lucky girl if she can capture your heart.  

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