6 Rules Everyone Should Know for avoiding Online Dating Disasters

1. July 2010

Are you serious about finding love online? You’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent article in the Washington Post , 17% of people who got married during the past three years met online. But if you want to make sure that you have a real chance at love with the person you’ve met online, there are 6 important rules you need to follow to avoid dating disasters.

Don’t assume that everyone out there who has an online dating profile is being completely honest. Every person has to resist the temptation to pad their profile with little white lies.

There’s an old joke about the math you must do when you think you’ve met the perfect man online: “Subtract three inches from his height, double his weight, halve his income, and add a decade to his age.”

Make sure the joke isn’t on you, and always take everything you read on a dating site profile with a grain of salt.

Okay, obviously not everyone on the internet is a spambot, serial killer, or lady-of-the-evening. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your wits about you. When you are getting ready to meet someone you’ve been corresponding with online in person for the first time, you should choose to meet up in a public place surrounded by lots of people. That’s just common sense. But there are other ways to stay safe as well.

For example, you should always be careful about giving out your personal information. Remember that any information you give out online could make it easier for a scammer or con artist to steal your identity (or your possessions). Play it safe, and never give out your home address, account numbers, or other vital personal information to anyone you meet online.

Always make smart decisions online, and you won’t have to worry about getting entangled in any sticky situations

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you really want to avoid boring, hum-drum, or just plain awful dates with people you’ve met online, you’ve got to be fearless. Be open-minded, enthusiastic about meeting new people, and consider branching out from your usual type. Overcome your shyness, and you just might find your soulmate online.

Say you always date perfect 10s…why not date a 7 who actually has a personality and some intelligence? Or say you are the quiet, bookish type…why not chat up a gorgeous woman who you think might be out of your league? She might turn out to be a secret nerd with a bigger collection of comic books than you!

Even before you meet your online dating partner in real life, they can learn a lot about the kind of person you are before you even send them a single message. Believe it or not, the images of yourself that you share on dating websites can tell a prospective date everything they need to know about you. You’d spend hours agonizing over the perfect outfit to wear on your first date in real life…why not take the same care and effort in selecting your profile image?

If you’re looking to attract someone wealthy, educated, and attractive (and who isn’t?), then your profile should present you as a clean, well-dressed, happy person. Sharing pictures of yourself in revealing outfits, sloppy sweats, or wacky Halloween costumes might send the wrong message, so think carefully about what sort of person you are hoping to attract before posting your picture online.

Online dating has a number of pitfalls to avoid, but one of the most dangerous is moving too quickly. The anonymity of the internet can make it hard to get to know a person, so taking it slow is a smart idea in any relationship that begins online. You should take time to correspond for several weeks online, then move up to phone calls/video chats to gauge your chemistry, and then meet for the first time in person.

Looking for more detailed advice? This site has a great timeline for how quickly you should progress in an online relationship.

Any relationship that starts with a lie is doomed. If you really want to find happiness, you should look for someone who likes you just the way you are. It sounds sappy and cliche, but you’re only setting yourself up to fail if you lie about your weight, your age, or your job. But if you stay honest, and follow the rest of the rules on this list, you’ll greatly increase your chances of avoiding a major online dating disaster.

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