Welcome to the 21st century of dating! In the ‘good old’ days, before internet dating, people met in a few basic ways: through friends, at a ‘mixer’, a bar, or through a personals ad in a newspaper. The eighties introduced video dating, where people recorded themselves at a video dating service, and interested parties were able to view your tape. And now, we have online dating, the most popular way to meet a potential mate.Congratulations, you’ve joined an online dating service! You like someone’s profile and they like yours. One of you starts a line of communication. Now it gets a little confusing. How do you initiate communication? Can a woman email first? Do you send a ‘flirt’/’icebreaker’ or whatever your site calls a canned one liner, such as “You seem amazing. How is it that you weren’t snatched up yet”, or something along those lines?
Step one: Although the one liners are an option, none of my clients will respond to one. To them, it means “you’re too lazy to start a conversation of your own origin”. I recommend sending a brief email, either male or female initiated. This email should reflect that you have read the person’s profile and liked what they had to say. It should be specific. Otherwise, people get the impression that you are writing mass emails to tons of prospects and hope one of them bites. Not a good idea.
Step two: He/she responds. Fantastic! I recommend a few email exchanges before giving out any personal contact information, such as private email address or phone number. Once you feel safe with this person, it is okay to give out more personal info. Most people give out a cell phone as it’s not traceable to a home address.
Step three: The phone call! Keep it brief and upbeat. This is your chance to flirt, ask questions, talk and have fun. Nothing about your sordid past should be revealed. Telling someone about your dysfunctional family or your past date fiascos is inappropriate for this initial call. You don’t want to lose a potential mate because you’ve revealed too much too soon. There will be plenty of time for the reveal after you’ve been dating for a while, if you get that far.
Step four: Here’s a step that many don’t utilize, but it’s one of my favorite forms of communication: video chatting. This is a particularly good tool if the person lives a distance away. Skype is a free service, and Macintosh computers have a feature called ichat. I am sure there are many other ways to connect via video-conferencing. I hate big surprises, and this is a good way to see if there is any chemistry. Still not the same as an in person date, but very effective nonetheless.
Step five: Go on a date! Hooray, you’ve made it through the first four steps and you’re now ready to meet in person. Again, I recommend keeping the first date fairly brief, about two hours. Meet in a public place for safety purposes, and tell a friend or family member where you’ll be. Have fun. Don’t reveal dysfunction or baggage yet. Flirt and enjoy. The purpose of this date, if there seems to be potential, is to get to a second date. More on how to do this in a later post.