The (9 unspoken) rules of online dating
From telling the truth to being kind during a meet-up, here’s everything you’ve got to know about online dating — and yes, that includes the things people don’t tell you.
9 unspoken rules of online dating
Let me tell you a quick, embarrassing story. It starts with a friend I know very well. This friend joined a dating app, met some guys, and accepted a few dates. After setting up a weekend date at a local bar, she arrived, met the guy and talked to him for about forty-five seconds. At that point, the guy politely excused himself, insisting he needed to quickly “move his car.”
He never showed back up. He later texted her and said he just “wasn’t feeling it.” So, here’s your first lesson in online dating:
1. Don’t be a jerk, even if it doesn’t work out
There’s a difference between someone making you uncomfortable and someone simply being a bad fit. If your date is truly suspicious (i.e. a catfish, mean or otherwise threatening), then yes, get out of there by any means necessary. But if they’re kind, straightforward and giving things an honest shot, try to see the date through — and then kindly thank them and call it quits after the night is over.
At the very least, don’t make up an excuse and ghost them a minute into the date.
2. Use realistic photos
See the above? Nobody likes being catfished during online dating. So don’t be a catfish in return. Use realistic photos of yourself; a super glammed-up pic is a bad way to start things off.
3. Dating rule number three: give others time to respond
When you first meet someone in the online dating world, it can be tempting to check your apps consistently for responses. But it’s important to remember that neither of you owe each other anything just yet. Give your dates the time and space to respond — you’re not the most important person in their life just yet, and they’re not yours.
Which leads us to our next dating rule…
4. You don’t have to reply
Not feeling it? That’s okay! You don’t owe your online date anything, either. If the conversation is stalling, you’re not excited about it or they make you feel uncomfortable, you’re free to stop responding, un-match them or block them as you see fit.
5. Gut check things with your network
Not sure if someone’s the right fit for you? It can be hard to tell with online dating, so it’s worth gut checking things with your people. Show your friends their profiles and messages, talk to your therapist or coach about your crush, or even talk it over with your family.
6. Hang onto your phone number for a bit
Top-tier dating advice: don’t give out your digits to just any bloke or lass who comes down the pike. Dating apps have guardrails for a reason (nobody wants an unsolicited pic…), so only share what’s necessary until you’re sure the person you’re talking to can be trusted with your number.
7. Tell the truth, even if it hurts
Did you know 81 percent of people lie about their height, age and weight on dating apps? It might be tempting to get a foot in the door by looking younger, taller or thinner, but that’s not going to do you any good on a first date. What’s more, you wouldn’t appreciate someone who lied about these things, would you? That’s why it’s best to follow common dating courtesy and be truthful about who you are.
8. Chill on the end goals
“I want to be married with three kids and a house in 2023!”
Yeah, not a good way to start your dating profile. It’s fine to have lofty goals, but your dating profile should show off the things about your personality that make you a good partner, not your checklist of everything you want.
Think about it this way: in order to get an interesting guy or girl, you need to be one, first.
9. Don’t get dejected
It’s easy to get down on yourself during the dating process. But in order to get the most out of online dating, it serves you much better to believe you’ll find your match. Being optimistic and good-natured about the process means you’re much more likely to get more matches, good dates and long-term prospects.
Why? Because thinking things will turn out well will, in turn, make you more likely to be a better conversationalist, dater and partner. Seeing the good in potential partners will help you be less jaded and allow you to consider the possibilities in your dates — instead of looking for reasons to turn everyone and their mother down.
Need a little more dating advice? We can help.