Sunday, December 16, 2007

Online Dating - 10 rules everyone should know

by Aelicia Anderson

Online dating is an exciting frontier, filled with possibilities around every corner - but before you begin returning those enticing emails, there are 10 rules you should abide by when it comes to online dating.

Online dating is a fast growing networking tool that can open your world to a myriad of relationship possibilities. Meeting someone new is challenging, especially if you have recently moved, graduated from college, or gone through a divorce. Here are 10 quick tips appropriate for anyone trying their hand at online dating.

1. Plan ahead
Are you looking to just spend some time entertaining yourself in chat rooms? Looking for someone to hang out with on the weekends? Seeking a one night stand? Trying to find Mr. or Ms. Right? Determine your goals for online dating and stick to them - otherwise you might hurt the feelings of others or find yourself scraping up the pieces of another failed relationship.

2. Ask around
Online dating and chat rooms are standard tools for people of all walks of life looking for love or a little fun. Ask your friends what sites have worked for them in the past. Trust the opinions of those you already know rather than choosing a service at random.

3. Start slow
Take your time getting to know someone as well as possible. This may mean that at least a phone call is in order. Don't let the other person pressure you into a face-to-face meeting too soon when you are not fully comfortable with the situation.

4. Tell the truth!
Online dating presents the opportunity to "enhance" your accomplishments. You may also find out that the person behind the profile may "neglect to mention" their four kids. If you honestly want to reach your goals, then be honest in online dating!

5. Manage your matches
Online dating can be overwhelming. It's a lot easier to browse profiles of individuals that you know are looking for a relationship than to strike up a conversation with someone at the bar. Choose a few of the most interesting profiles, take notes, and limit yourself to corresponding with them at first. You can always look again if they don't work out, and this will avoid too much activity and confusing emotions.

6. Don't believe everything you see or read
Snakes in the grass are everywhere on the internet. It's completely acceptable to question the information provided to you in a chat room or on a personal profile. Don't be afraid to check public records or make a few phone calls for verification purposes.

7. Chat room etiquette
That old adage "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" still applies to online dating. Chat rooms often give people a sense of invincibility. When the fingers start flying, things tend to move fast and have the potential to get steamy. Stop. Think. If you wouldn't say it to a complete stranger face-to-face, don't say it at all.

8. Upgrade yourself
Many online dating sites charge fees. You might find more success on a site that cost you a small fee, as other users may have a similar level of sincerity to your own. Think of it as an investment in your future.

9. Be available
If you are new to the internet and computers, it is possible that you won't access chat rooms or your email every day. Try not to make yourself too unavailable, as interested parties might lose patience if they wait a week to hear an email response, or they never see your screen name light up in the chat room.

10. Protect yourself
If your online dating experience is going well, the time will come for you to meet someone face-to-face. Keep your meeting public, and take charge of your own well-being by driving yourself. It's certainly acceptable to have a friend nearby for backup if you are really nervous. Use caution on the first date, and as many subsequent times as it takes for you to feel comfortable.

About the Author
Since meeting her husband on an online dating site, Aelicia Anderson has become a great advocate of dating chat rooms. She now works full time in the online dating industry. Visit for more helpful dating advice.

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