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The survival guide to internet dating; do's and don'ts

With the hectic pace of modern life, and constant demands on our time, online dating is becoming an increasingly popular way of finding a mate. So, if you’re considering embarking on an online search for love, be smart and get some Dating Advice before you begin.

Do …

Be Safe

Like dating in any scenario, you don’t really know someone until you know them, so use your judgement and if something or someone doesn’t feel right, politely end the evening. Make sure a friend or family member knows where you’re going and the name of the person you’re meeting.

Meet in a neutral place

Decide on a venue that you feel comfortable in for a first meeting, you’ll feel more relaxed meeting somewhere you’ve been before, and in an area you know. It might be good to meet in a bar for drinks in the first instance, a bit less intense than a candlelight dinner for two; take the pressure off and save that for date two.

Read profiles carefully

Don't just go on the profile pictures; it's still important to pick someone you may have something in common with. The hot guy pictured on the ski-slope may look like Brad Pitt but he may have the intellect of a flea and the morals of Casanova, read the content, and read between the lines.

Find out about the person you’re meeting

Without hiring a PI, make sure you find out the full name of the person you’re meeting. Ask where they work, even have a look at their profile on Facebook. Whilst you should not going into a date with mistrust, it does no harm to do a bit of research and find out if this person works where they say they work, and are who they say they are.

Give it time

It can feel different dating people you meet online, unlike meeting in a workplace or bar - you might not get that initial spark, but you can find something which is just as real and often longer lasting. If you have a fun date and but aren't 100% sure, give it a second or even a third date - it might have the potential to grow into something wonderful.

Pick a website that's right for you

There are many sites out there, so make sure you go for one that fits your style and your age range. Some websites are geared towards younger people, and some are perfect for Mature Dating so do a bit of research before you sign up.

Enjoy your date

Yes, there may be a few weirdos online, just as there are in “real life”. Don’t let irrational fear prevent you from having fun, and potentially meeting the love of your life, or at least a fun distraction for a couple of months!

Don’t …

Give away too much about yourself

Although it’s important to be honest, give it time. Don’t give out too much information over e-mail, especially in the first instance phone numbers or addresses, and never divulge information like your bank account details. Like meeting in any scenario, you need to develop and learn to trust someone, online dating sometimes encourages people to be overly familiar with someone before they know or have met them.

E-mail for too long before meeting up

Online correspondence is a great way of getting to know someone, but don’t do it for months and months before meeting up. This is for two reasons; firstly for the reason mentioned above, you may be lulled into a false sense of security and feel like you know someone before you really know them. Secondly you may fall for someone’s witty banter and writing prowess and then meet them and realise there is zero attraction, so you’ve wasted months of your life building up a fantasy person who doesn’t exist. Chat for a while, meet up and if he or she really isn’t the one for you … next!

Ignore the warning signs

Even over e-mail you may notice red-flags, if someone tells you things that don't ring true, or if someone seems too good to be true, there probably are. Although most sites have measures in place to protect you from scammers and fraudsters you have to use your own judgement, as you would when meeting someone in a bar or club.

Be embarrassed

Some people are embarrassed about telling people that they are Online Dating, don’t be! More and more people are dating, having long-term relationships and even marrying people they met online. It really is a great way of starting a new relationship, especially for the 30 plus age group, when friends may be coupling-up and bars and clubs have long since lost their appeal.

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