When it comes to online dating, the general rules apply to everyone. But self-consciousness, an obstacle to which most of us admit succumbing to, can lead to avoiding dating altogether. It also doesn't help that online dating seems to magnify physical traits.
While self-consciousness is something that you need to overcome on your own, a refresher of the following general rules of online dating can help you figure out how to navigate the sometimes-murky waters.
1. Get clear on your “why.”
Why do you want to date? Is it because you want to find your one true love? Are you looking for a fun dating experience? Do you feel pressured to couple up because we’re in the midst of cuffing season?
Getting clear on your “why” in dating is just as important as knowing your purpose in other areas of life, such as your career or fitness journey. Understanding your true purpose can help you see red flags, which can minimize the emotional drain of a broken heart.
2. Be your authentic self.
Yes, you probably heard this advice a hundred times by now, but there’s a reason that this is a classic. Being your authentic self can weed out those whose values and principles don’t align with yours and help you avoid burning out, which is all too common when keeping up a particular personality or a front.
However, this doesn’t give you the license to be lazy. You still have to put in the effort when writing a great bio that helps you stand out. Mandy Horvath landed dozens of dates by leaning into her humor, which also helped her cope with limb loss.
So, get to know who you are and what makes you stand out from the rest. If you’re not sure about the latter, ask family members or friends. They can point out some of your sparkling qualities of which you may not be aware.
3. Think before you text.
After you have crafted a great bio, you still have to put a modicum of effort into your first few texts. After all, this is online dating, and unless your match has already met you in person, you have to rely on the screen to communicate your unique personality.
For starters, think beyond the box and forego the “hey, how’s it going” template first message. Unless your match is already hooked by your profile, it doesn’t exactly inspire a reply nor does it guarantee a great conversation. But veer away from the cheesy pickup lines which can often go ignored or worse, turned into Facebook memes.
Get some inspiration from your match’s bio. He/She may have already indicated their interests, and it’s always a good idea to build on that. But if you’re not sure what to say, sending a GIF is also effective as it is generally perceived to convey more emotion or vulnerability than words.
4. Meet up in person.
While it can be tempting to let your online conversations remain online, it’s always best to meet up in person. It can allow you to gauge your match’s personality better and whether he/she is worth investing more time into.
Then comes the hard part of planning your first meeting. Usually, drinks can be perceived as too casual, while dinner can seem like a commitment. Why not think of other fun activities that can help you get to know your match better? If you’re both into photography, why not suggest a photo walk? If you’re both foodies, why not arrange a cooking class? If you’re both equally athletic, rock climbing just might be the thing.
5. Ask questions and really listen.
More often than not, people are transparent with their intentions and principles. All you need to do is to listen to what they’re saying. According to Dr. Darcy Sterling, Tinder’s Dating and Relationships Trend Expert, determining if “your values and principles are aligned” is vital in determining compatibility. While both parties are bound to change with time, values and principles rarely change dramatically.
Be creative in asking your questions. For instance, you can ask: “Which do you prefer: Earning billions in a job that you hate, or earning enough doing something that you care about?” You can deduce a person’s values by listening to his/her answer to this question.
However, it’s also easy to ignore a red flag when you really want something to work out, so be aware of your biases.
Online dating can be confusing and frustrating for many, but don’t give up. As long as you know yourself, your “why,” and what you are looking for, you will be fine.Do you have any tips for online dating for amputees? What dating apps do you use? Why not share it with the community in the comments section below? We'd love to hear from you!