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 Single's lifestyle 


Online Dating Dos and Don'ts

 By Laura Giles
 Healthy Living

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If you are serious about wanting to meet someone, online dating could be a wonderful way to check out lots of prospects in a short period of time. You can weed out certain things you donít want and look specifically for things you do want. It can be an easy way to find the person of your dreams. But, you do have to be careful and take a few precautions.

Be Honest

Donít pretend to be something you are not because you think that will bring more opportunity. Itís a waste of time. Deception is not a good way to start things off. Eventually you will be found out. Chances are the other person will not be happy. There are people out there who will like you just the way you are. Itís best to wait for one of them.

Avoid Form Letters

Some people send the same letter to all prospects to save time. The problem with this is that it feels like a form letter. There is nothing personal in it to connect to the other person. It feels like the conveyor belt approach of, ďLet me try this oneÖ then this one.Ē Itís a big turn off. It may be more work to write a personal note to each prospect, but itís worth it.

Take It Easy

There will be people out there who are not honest with you. The best way to guard against being taken advantage of by one of them is to take it easy. Email back and forth a few times through the online dating service email and hide your real email address. Ask a lot of questions and pay attention to the answers. Are they consistent with the profile? Does anything feel weird? Trust your gut. You donít have to have ďproofĒ that something is odd before walking away.

Remain Anonymous

I just talked about not using your real email address, but being anonymous is more than that. Donít give out your last name, home address, workplace information, or phone number until you are sure that the person you are talking to is someone you can trust. Itís a lot easier to guard against an annoying contact than to get rid of one later. If youíre dealing with a nice person, this will be understandable. If youíre being pressured to reveal personal information, walk away now!

Ask to See Lots of Pictures

There are a few reasons for this. First, most people can take one good glamour shot. You donít want to base your feelings on a best case scenario. When you see many pictures, it gives a more realistic view of what the person truly looks like. Second, having a visual image in your mind can help you get an intuitive feel for the person. Third, some people use someone elseís picture or pictures of themselves ten years ago. By requesting and getting many photos, you can feel more assured that the person you are talking to is indeed the person in the picture.

Talk on the Phone Before Meeting

Attraction is a multidimensional thing. With online dating, you start with the written word and a photo. When you add the voice, you have an even greater sense of who the person on the other end is. It fleshes out the picture, which can confirm good feeling or create more questions. Remember to exercise caution. Consider using a cell phone, blocking caller ID, or calling from a public phone.

Exercise Caution When Meeting

If you decide to meet, do it during daylight hours, in a public place with many other people around, and provide your own transportation to and from the meeting place. Tell someone where you are going and who you will be with. Go someplace familiar so that you donít get lost, but donít go to one of your regular hang outs. While most people are really interested in finding someone to connect with, there are people with other ideas. Be safe. Use common sense. Itís better to be cautious and safe than to be a victim.

Make Your Own Travel Arrangements

If you are traveling to meet someone, follow the same common sense advice you would when dating in your own town. Make your own travel arrangements. Do not reveal your hotel location or flight plans. Do not allow your date to pick you up at the hotel or airport. Carry a cell phone with you at all times. If time allows, acquaint yourself with the meeting location beforehand. If something feels not right, leave. Donít worry about being hurting someoneís feelings or feeling foolish. Trust your instinct and leave.

Watch for Warning Signs

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you canít tell, ask a trusted friend or family member for advice. Specific things to watch for:

  • gives you conflicting information about job, family, childhood, past relationships, personal history, etc.
  • doesnít want to introduce you to friends, family, or co-workers
  • doesnít accept calls at home
  • seems really different in person than online
  • tries to rush intimacy or displays physically inappropriate behavior
  • pressures you (either overtly or subtly) to change the way you look or behave
  • flashes of anger or controlling behavior

There are realistic hazards to dating online and offline. By using a bit of common sense, you enhance your odds of meeting the right person safely. Happy dating!


There are realistic hazards to dating online and offline. By using a bit of common sense, you enhance your odds of meeting the right person safely.
About the author
Laura Giles, MSW specializes in women's issues, relationships, and families with children from affairs. She is the author of "The Other Child: Children of Affairs" and "Growing Up Crazy." Laura is a frequent radio talk show guest. She does online counseling for clients across the country and can be found at http://healthy-living-solutions.com or by email at realassist@yahoo.com

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Article Overview
If you are serious about wanting to meet someone, online dating could be a wonderful way to check out lots of prospects in a short period of time. You can weed out certain things you donít want and look specifically for things you do want. It can be an easy way to find the person of your dreams. But, you do have to be careful and take a few precautions.


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