So I think everyone has the same general fear when it comes to online dating... Will the person match the profile?! Well, thankfully in this day and age of technology it has become a little bit easier for you to help ensure you are truly meeting the person within the picture. I have been online dating for about 6 years now and even before then met people off such sites like, MySpace. Over the years I have compiled a checklist of musts... (sometimes exceptions apply) before I meet someone off a site. Remember, regardless of the checklist always trusts your instincts and be safe and conscious of the fact there is some truth in the motto we learned as kids "stranger danger."
1. When using Dating sites before responding to a message or messaging check their pictures. Make sure they have more than one. Make sure they are not just different angles at their desk. We want some one who gets out of the house and if their three pictures are all in the same room... probably a bad sign. I personally think it is a plus if they have other people in pictures with them. But many sites ban these types of pictures, so in order to ensure they are social and have friends we have other methods I will discuss.
2. Their profile. This comes from your personal preference but read it. Do not base someone solely off their picture. You would be shocked to learn how much some people are willing to share on their page and it might warn you to stay away. I have read some interesting things on profiles... from people strictly looking for a 3rd, people openly admitting they are married, people admitting to drug use, and so on and so forth. Like I said its your personal preference! I am not judging by any means but read it to see if this person is what you are looking for.
3. Messages. For Ladies I would not respond to a man who's message is "Hey Sexy" or "You have the most amazing profile I have ever seen"... let's be real they are sending these messages to every woman they pass through that tickles their fancy with hopes of getting a woman to fall for it. You want someone who took interest in a detail in your profile and took the time to write a thoughtful message. I have responded to generic messages before and the guy tends to be just that... generic. And ladies do not hesitate messaging a guy! I can personally say the three long term relationships I have gotten off a dating site have come from me messaging the guy... guys like a girl who can take initiative. Now fellas, read the ladies profiles. Take time and think out a witty message but do not make it too lengthy. You want to come off interested but not desperate. Try for one-three sentences and make sure you leave off with a question! You want to keep conversation rolling. Ladies and Gents questions are key! And fellas do not get intimidated by a woman messaging you... you are on a dating site and it means they are interested... its just making your job easier.
4. Facebook/Instagram. After you have talked to a person consistently on the site or via text. I personally do not think there is anything wrong with exchanging numbers early on. Phone calls and texts make it easier to get to know the person whom you are speaking with. But if you are talking to multiple people (which most people do when online dating) make their name in your phone something that will remind you of who they are... it's easy to lose track when you have no true face with the name yet. You should then seek if he or she has a Facebook or Instagram. In this day and age most people have a Facebook no matter their age. This will allow you to see if they have pictures with other people, if they have friends consistently within their pictures, if there are posts about different events on the wall, and so much more. If someone tells you they do not have a Facebook or Instagram it should always sets off a red flag in your mind. Does not mean you can not meet them... Just means you need to be a little more careful. Warning though... If you are not truthful with your profile pictures you have to be open to the fact that they will be seeing a lot more of your photos and if they don't find them attractive this might be the end of conversation. Don't get upset! Another key is understanding online dating is very superficial and people do not feel a connection to someone until meeting generally. People also like I said before typically are talking to more then one person... and often will just stop talking to someone if they meet the other first and have an interest... I am guilty as charged for doing this.
5. So they don't have a Facebook. Well then you should make sure you talk to them on the phone. And inquire for more pictures. If they are texting you while they are at the gym... tell them to take a picture and send it. Or if they are out with their friends say take a group shot! Make sure you do this various times to ensure the person is really the person they say they are. You could also do a face time or web cam chat with them.
6. Meeting someone in person. Okay so let's recap. You have ensured they have numerous photos, their profile meets your fancy, you have spoken at length, they have a Facebook or have proven enough to you that they have friends and they are who they say they are and most importantly your instincts tell you its okay to meet this person. Make sure you meet someone in public for your first meeting. Tell a friend where you are going and the time you are going to be there. This goes for ladies and gentlemen... guys do not think that only girls can get kidnapped or killed. I suggest making a safe word with a friend to text about 15 minutes into the date to let your friend know you are okay. Ladies do not let the guy pick you up on your first date and guys you can offer but be understanding when the woman wants to meet at the location. It is also okay to let your date know you are telling someone where you are. If this bothers them... a red flag should be going off. Most typical people will understand you are being safe and want to ensure your safety.
Remember like I said this is to limit your chances of meeting a crazy person... Very typical social people can live a double life. This is to help your odds of meeting someone who meets your interest and is actually looking for what you are looking for. But always... trust your instincts. :)
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