Budding romances that start online require some extra introductory steps before couples get to meet on first dates. Trading emails, information and photos builds a comfort level between singles to ensure they are compatible before they hook up for face-to-face introductions. Safety, sensitivity and timing top the list of online dating and initial contact tips. With millions of singles looking for soul mates, getting swept away with the love bug requires some basic strategies and techniques.
Select a reputable dating service. Conduct your own online search of public feedback directed toward the services that interest you. Review those agencies' policies toward sharing your confidential information. Some groups allow all your information to be visible to other singles or third parties, so check their online privacy statements. Work with a service that maintains a database with millions of other singles instead of just a couple of hundred prospective matches.
Write an original description that sets you apart. Avoid expressions you have heard before. Stand out from the crowd instead of blending in with millions of others searching for love. Steer clear of long lists of hobbies, jobs or favorite artists. Your efforts to sound like someone with varied interests could backfire and unintentionally label you as boring, says author Katherine Dykstra in her online article, 10 Smart Profile Fixes, published on Match.com. Steer clear of ranting against your job, ex-mate or single status in your profile.
Winking, teasing and smiling add up to flirting. Some singles struggle to send out those same vibes over the Internet. Insert humor and sincerity into your emails. Ask fun questions, such as how your match got his beautiful smile, what is his favorite ice cream flavor or where his posted picture was taken.
Play the numbers games during this introductory email phase. Restrict yourself to chatting with no more than six prospective matches at a time. Post two headshots and three body shots of yourself because anything less signals that you are hiding something. Swap at least five emails before you offer any personal details about yourself or speak via telephone. Three weeks represents the maximum amount of time to wait to meet someone in person if you live in the same town, but the bottom line is to not meet anyone until you feel comfortable.
Guard your personal information until you grow comfortable with someone. This includes your home and work addresses and telephone numbers. Some dating services instruct you to communicate with matches through their service's forums. If a match offers her personal email, explain that you prefer connecting through the service until you learn more about each other. Contact the online dating service if anyone sends offensive messages or requests money.
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- OnlineDatingSafetyTips.com: Dating Tips, Dating Advice and Dating Help For Online Dating: Choose a Reputable Dating Service
- MSN; 10 Smart Profile Fixes; Katherine Dykstra
- AskMarsVenus.com: Online Dating Tips: Hints and Tips for Online Flirting
- Match.com; Online Dating By the Numbers: Kimberly Dawn Neumann
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images