In the last several years, online dating has become a fairly popular activity.
Whether you’ve been a member of a dating site for a few years now, or have just created an account, you’ve probably noticed that online dating isn’t exactly like dating in the “real world.”
Real-world dating and online dating do share some similarities, since the reasons for participating in either are generally the same.
There are some specific rules of etiquette you’ve got to follow when you’re talking and meeting up with virtual strangers.
If you’re able to keep in mind these dos and don’ts of online dating as you test the waters with various guys and gals, you will dramatically reduce your chances of having to escape from a lunatic, or causing your date to take out a restraining order on you.
Here are the dos of online dating:
1. MEET IN A PUBLIC PLACE
The person you’re talking to on the other side of your computer, tablet, or cell phone screen may seem trustworthy, but you actually have no idea if they are or not. Even if they don’t end up being an axe murderer, it will be much easier to ward off any unwanted sexual advances if you meet them in public!
2. TELL A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER WHERE YOU’RE GOING
This is important for women to do, but it’s also important for men – a few women can be dangerous and creepy too.
If you have a feeling that your date may end up being a bust, you can pull the old trick of asking your friend to call you after an hour with an “emergency.”
3. USE YOUR OWN TRANSPORTATION
Don’t allow your date to pick you up, as this will leave you at the mercy of a total stranger, who may end up being smarmy. If you don’t have your own car, pick a meeting place you can easily get to on foot or by bicycle, bus, or taxi.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO HYGIENE
The fact that this even needs to be mentioned may surprise you, but on various online forums, you will find many stories about dates who have shown up in dirty clothes, with unbrushed hair, or reeking of body odor.
Don’t be one of those people, even if you happen to work at a messy job. Not only will you have little chance at a second date, you may be made fun of on the internet!
The don’ts of online dating:
5. AGREE TO GO TO A GUY OR GIRL’S HOME ON THE FIRST DATE
This goes back to number two in the dos of online dating. Under most circumstances, you’ll have no real idea whether your date is trustworthy. Going to their house not only increases the chances of danger, but also increases the odds of something sexual happening.
6. SEND INDECENT PICTURES BEFORE MEETING
While it’s understandable that some people like to exchange sexy pictures with a significant other, do not send them to people whom you’re just talking to online.
Once again, you don’t really know these people. They may immediately text your provocative selfie to one of their friends, or post it on a popular website like Facebook or Twitter.
7. BRING FRIENDS, FAMILY MEMBERS, OR PETS TO A DATE
Unless you’ve made some double-dating arrangement, your date is coming to meet you, not your best friend, your mother, your child, or your dog. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as if your date is taking place at a dog park, but generally, it should involve just the two of you.
8. BE LATE
It’s incredibly annoying to wait around for someone who’s not punctual. If you’re late, this shows that you don’t value your date’s time. Plus, they may think you’re not showing up, and leave before you get a chance to meet them.