Spring is finally here! The weather is warmer, and people are starting the mating game. Here’s how to safely choose online dating sites — and dates!
Twenty years ago, online dating would have been considered taboo — or only what losers succumbed to because they were shy, introverted, not very attractive, or had nothing of value to offer a potential companion.
Spring forward to the online dating generation! In today’s world, you’d be hard-pressed to find many single adults (young, middle-aged, and seasoned!) who haven’t tried online dating or at least know someone who has. And then there are the thousands who have met, dated, and married someone they met online. It’s become completely socially acceptable.
There’s an online dating site for just about any and every personality type, race, ethnicity, religion, age, and lifestyle. Some dating sites are free, while others charge significant fees to join. The irony? Regardless of what you end up paying, no site can guarantee you a soul mate, and your chances of meeting someone special — whether you pay or not — have just about the same odds.
One of the most popular dating sites is Match.com, which is currently rated No. 2 amongst the top 10 online dating sites. There’s also Zoosk, which is currently ranked No. 1.
For Christians, there’s Eharmony.com and ChristianMingle.com, among others. If you’re an African American and just want to date African Americans, there’s Black People Meet or Black Singles. If you’re older than 50, there’s Ourtime.com and SilverSingles.com.
So, with so many options to chose from, what are the safest and best ways to date online?
Here are the rules:
1. Do your research and decide which site or sites will work best for you.
2. Take your time and start slowly, studying each profile for any individual that you believe could share your interests, lifestyles, religion, passions, goals, etc.
3. When you begin emailing each other through the online site, make sure to request a current photo of the person you’d like to meet (no more than two years old). Some people are using photos that are 10 years old or more, and the person currently may look nothing like they did “back in the day.”
4. If after five or more email messages back and forth, you don’t feel comfortable giving this person your phone number, move on. However, some sources say it’s best to meet a potential match in a public place before giving out your phone number, in case they turn out to be someone you’d rather not give your personal phone number to.
5. Once you begin a phone conversation, make sure you listen for inconsistencies and red flags. Is he or she a liar? Are they dependable? Do they always call you late at night (married maybe?). Do they speak negatively of all their past relationships, to make themselves seem perfect and innocent? Do they come across as arrogant, controlling, or impatient? These can all be signs of a personality disorder.
If the phone conversations are not flowing and you feel uncomfortable with the content of the conversations, this is your sign to let the person know that you’re not compatible. If you’ve been speaking to this person for more than a month through the dating site’s phone number or you’ve given them your personal number and you haven’t been asked out on a date, move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea (also another dating site: Plentyoffish.com).
6. Never give out your full name until you feel comfortable and have run a background check on this individual.
7. On the first, second, and third dates — or until you are completely comfortable — always meet in a public place and let others know where you are going. Take your cell phone and have a friend call you 10-20 minutes into the date, to make sure everything is going okay.
8. Always drive your own vehicle on dates 1-3, and never give the other person your exact address until you have been dating for more than a month and have (can’t stress this enough) run a background check on this person.
Online dating can be very good for busy people, professional people, interesting people, and shy people. There are many nice people online who just want to meet other nice people and have fun on a safe, relaxing, and satisfying date, with no strings attached.
Remember: Weird people can cross your path offline, too … in a grocery store, gym, night club, museum, or even when introduced by a friend. There will always be weirdos!
The bottom line is that getting to know a person takes time. Never rush into a relationship just because it seems to fulfill your fantasies on the surface. Read the signs, take your time, do your research, and enjoy life.
Need some comic relief? Check out these 13 weird dating sites that you won’t believe actually exist!