The nature of romance and dating has changed a lot over recent decades, especially given the prevalence of the Internet. Once upon a time, single people were limited in who they could meet to those who lived within a 20-mile radius. Now, however, they can communicate with people anywhere in the world online. This gives them all a much wider pool of potential mates to choose from. It also opens up a new world of possibilities--and dangers.
Put On Your Best (Cyber)Face
Just like dating in real life, you want to present the best possible version of yourself. Even if you do not have a lot of tools at your disposal, there are several ways to make sure you come across as well-educated and fun. You don't have to be perfect, but try to use correct spelling and grammar. This is the cyber-equivalent of brushing your hair and ironing your shirt. Also, keep the conversation light and easy-going by asking short and interesting questions.
In this case that stands for "Keep It Simple, Silly" There are a lot of limitations to communicating with people online versus in-person. To begin with, you can't use any of the normal non-verbal signals you might use in real life. For example, your date can't tell you're being sarcastic when you text "I prefer my men with lots of body hair." Instead, stick to straight-forward messages and short sentences. They're easier to read, easier to respond to and less likely to lead to misunderstandings.
Tell the Truth
One of the disadvantages of meeting online is that it's impossible to be sure a person is who they say they are. When presenting yourself to potential dates, be honest. That doesn't mean you have to use the picture of you from the 80s with the perm and the lip gloss. But do use a real photo of yourself, free of digital doctoring. Also, use your real stats and don't embellish on your accomplishments and such. The other person will appreciate the honesty - and you'll be more likely to get the same in return.
Be Careful with Your Data
Needless to say, there are a lot of less-than-trustworthy people in the world and that includes people on dating sites. Be cautious with anyone you talk to online. Don't ever give out personal data online. Use common sense and be prudent when giving out information like email addresses, phone numbers and especially home addresses. Make sure you're really comfortable with someone before you exchange any of this info.
Use a Reputable Dating Service
There are a lot of dating services out there, but not all of them offer quality services. If you come across one you don't know anything about, do a little research before you sign up. Check their privacy policies, as many of these services may share your personal information with other businesses.
Taking the Leap Offline
It can be very exciting finally meeting someone in person - and it can also pose some very real risks. Again, there is no way of knowing who you're talking to online. If you decide to meet someone face to face, use common sense. Always meet in public first, leave valuables at home and let someone know where you're going. Most importantly, always trust your instincts and don't be afraid to change your mind.