The online age has ushered in an abundance of chat rooms filled with paedophiles, online predators and freaks, to put it frankly... but somewhere hidden in that room, your true love may await rescue from his/her lonesomeness, just like you do.
Online dating has become a way of life for my generation. Some people think the online dating scene illustrates anti-social behavioural patterns portrayed by the younger generation, but I beg to differ. With technology comes comfort, and with comfort comes the freedom to pursue someone without getting into a messy situation.
You have the platform to get to know your potential partner on an intellectual level. You can weigh your options safely, without having to spend lots of money on coffee-shop dates and pub-hopping - only to come to the realisation two weeks later that this is not your ideal date. There is no guilt about no longer being interested, and wanting to ditch the person. You are in control of the direction the conversation takes.
Ask questions that the person can answer freely, but which will give you some insight into how they think and their personality traits. Don’t be afraid of what the person might think, he/she does not know you, you can’t get dumped if there is no relationship to speak of in the first place.
Base your “getting to know you” questions on what you really want to know, and what best fits the type of person you're seeking. Don’t allow for any beating around the bush. Remember that people enter rooms knowing exactly what they want and the same is expected of you.
1. Choose a nickname. Light-hearted and flirtatious nicknames score more hook-ups. Avoid using numbers or sexual innuendo in your nickname. Slippery Sam does not cut it when you want to be taken seriously.
2. Choose a chat room appropriate for your age group and gender preference. It could be a singles' room for 18 year olds and over, 35 and up, single gay men, single lesbians, and single bisexuals - there’s a variety of rooms to choose from.
3. Become a regular. Join in a friendly chat with the regular nicknames (nicks) in the room, and soon you will be considered a regular too. Hang out in the room for a while and get to know the nicks that pop in and out on a daily basis. Being a regular is like being a date magnet. Everyone wants to know who you are.
4. Observe. Your eye will quickly be attracted to a specific nick. Strike up a conversation, and see where it leads you. You can pick up a lot from the person’s style of chatting and forms of expression by the conversation he/she makes. Show that you’re paying attention, and be enticing.
5. Know yourself. And know exactly what you are looking for in a partner. If someone approaches you, the list of questions they have for you will flow freely, and nobody wants to pursue someone who is not sure of what they are seeking themselves.
6. Ask for a private chat. If the person’s response did not seem like a cry of desperation, or perverse or shady, ask him/ her if you may chat privately outside the room. You definitely can’t be having an intimate chat with everyone else chipping in.
7. Tell the truth. If the relationship moves forward, the truth will ultimately come out. It’s best to be yourself right from the beginning rather than tell a daft lie, only to be found in the end. Because then everything would have been based on a lie.
8. Be prepared for interrogation. This is the platform to ask questions in the quest to get to know one another. Online dating makes it easy to ask those questions you would never dare ask on a first, second, or even third date. But that doesn't mean that you can't retain an air of mystery. Expect questions in this sequence:
What’s your ASL? (Age, Sex, Location).They need to know if you fit their age group, they need to know if you’re a man or woman, and where exactly you’re from to prevent a long distance love affair.
And now, the question the person had been burning to ask: are you single?
How long have you been single?
Are you looking for a relationship or a fling?
What are you looking for in a relationship?
What specifically are you looking for in a partner? (people usually base their response to this question with reference to past and bad experiences)
Describe your body appearance (don’t sugar-coat your appearance ... and don’t assume what the person will find attractive)
What is your job description? (They need to know if your worth pursueing, nobody wants to date a 35-year old who is still unsure about their career path)
Once that is out of the way, the getting-to-know-you starts. “So tell me a bit about yourself?” This is your platform to talk about yourself – everyone is good at it.
What are your interests?
9. Ask for a picture. If all has gone well, ask for a picture, if his/her profile lacks one,(the person might seem like a perfect fit, but looks matter to all of us, no matter what we say). And if you like what you see...
10. Climb into his/ her mind. Indulge into deeper conversations and see where it leads the two of you. When it leads to sexual chit-chat you will have to end it, because ultimately his/ her expectations have come to light.
11. Arrange a date to chat that suits both your schedules. Ask him/her if it would be okay to meet online the next day, and this will lead to meeting there every day from then.
12. Talk on the phone. Once you’re more familiar with each other, when he/she asks permission to call you, allow him/ her to. Find out if he/she is as good with talking as they are with chatting online.
13. Chat for a month. You have to allow time to pass for the getting-to-know-you process to take its full course, online only. Avoid cybersex. Once you’re sure that he/ she is not a maniac, you’re ready for the next step…
14. Set up a meeting. We’ve read about the dangers of meeting people we chat to. But there is a step by step guide to everything in life, and meeting people we think we know is one of them. Set up the meeting in a public place, such as inside the mall close to home. Arrange for the meeting to take place when the mall will be crowded, preferably end of the month. Let him/ her know that you’re only available for a short period due to other appointments, mention the time you need to leave. This gives you room to run if the date goes sour. Let a few friends know exactly where you will be meeting your date and call them when you leave, so that they know that you’re safe. Call him/her later in the day, if you’re still interested.
15. Set up a few more meetings. Give him/her a chance to know you, but “never talk about your medical struggles. Don’t brag that you're tough enough to pass kidney stone without even flinching,“jokes Scot McKay, an author and podcaster on dating, seduction and relationships.
Here’s to a new generation love affair!
(Zaakirah Rossier, Health24, October 2010)
Online Dating Safety Tips: 8 Essential Steps to Successful Internet Dating
My Funniest Online Dating Horror Stories