I have decided to kick off by sharing something that is a little out of left field from what I would normally share. It is a glimpse of my experiences of online dating. If you enjoy it, I will continue the meanderings of the online dating life I once lived. Expect to garnish some ideas to improve your online dating experience and, if I hear that people enjoy the read, I will keep it up for a while.
My one big thought on this matter, upfront, is that the key is to have a game plan for normalising the process of meeting in what is a completely artificial environment. If you can achieve that, then anything is possible.
Feel the Fear
Internet dating is something I did for a while.
Well, sort of.
Filtering the Fools
Filtering out people is what I mostly did. Identifying those who believe that the internet allows them to abdicate acting like there is a human, let alone a woman on the other side of the conversation. Allowing myself to shudder before removing the person from my inbox. It was the quickest tick and flick ever.
This sub-set of men made it easy for me. When in the first three lines of conversation the prospective date explains that they don't believe in contraception so want someone willing to give back door access to ensure no 'unexpected surprises' they really make it an easy call to move them to your blocked list. Unless, you are interacting on site for people seeking matching fetishes, this really isn’t the topic of choice for introducing yourself. Without apology, you have been blocked. You wouldn’t do it in real life, so don’t do that online. It is that simple.
This filtering thing, I am told, is definitively a women’s issue when it comes to heterosexual dating sites. Women are frequently bombarded with contacts from men. If heading into online dating you need to understand this. To stand out from the crowd a suitor has be able to be different. And the crazy bit about it is the more your messages are conversational, as if you were meeting in real life, the easier it is.
As an aside, I am told that men should be wary that you will be approached by fee for service women as well. They know where to find a captive audience and they will take full advantage of this.
I will be back to share my thoughts on what you should consider discussing soon.
before 'noticing' the other one.
Learning about Yourself
Beyond that though, dating was a learning experience and it taught me a lot about myself but also about human behaviour. 'Meeting' was interesting process to arrange. I tried several different venues or events. I then learned that the choice of venue accepted by the other party set the tone for what they were seeking. Bars led to alcohol purchases designed to smooth the way to short term victory. My advice, don’t do bars. Choosing things that reflect who you are and your own interests are a great way to go. If you can’t think of anything that suits you then take it as a message that you need to get out more and work out who you are first.
Ultimately, after many different choices of venue I decided to make them a little closer to home. I was, at the time, a trainer for a football (gridiron) team so my solution was to invite them to a match. The venues were licensed with a kiosk and the home team also had their own barbeque. Beer, barbeque, snacks and sport. I mean beverages, meat and snacks – if they couldn’t appreciate that and brief five-minute conversation at half time then they weren’t my kind of person anyway. It was my second level filter if they accepted the offer to attend the match and third if they were still there to catch up after the match ended.
So the beer and barbeque really does suit the game and the weather.
Yes, if they were crazy stalker types, they would know what games to find me at. I figured that most were already filtered by their inappropriate questioning. The games were a place where there were others who knew me. In effect, I had an entire football team to eyeball him for both identification and protection if something were to go awry. Meeting quickly also killed off wasted time chatting online when so much more can be learned from the non-verbal communication of meeting in person.
I found that I had there were some dates that were plain awkward along the way. Partly because of the person and partly because of the venue or activity. I will come back to share about this too later. I am certain, this for me has turned meeting into a deal breaker of nervous conversation so having a plan around this is somewhat important.
Find a Healthy Blend
If you survive to the second date, then you have the potential for the healthy blend for online chat with real life dating. It allows that time to focus on managing your normal day to day life and then fit what you are building in around your commitments. From this point, it is up to you to work out whether you have found someone to build something with or not.
Next on this topic – ‘Online Dating: Acknowledge the Fear’