So I figured that one day I would hit the publish button before I was ready to post a blog. Today was that day. So if you saw the beginning of this blog already I’m sorry but I hope you saw it and it made you want to read more.
Online dating has lost some of its stigma. But Ryan and I still see some raised eyebrows when we tell people how we met. Although it is also common for people to tell us their own stories of friends and family members who met their spouses online. I also have a few other friends, including a brother-in-law, who are in this growing category. I’m hoping that more people who want a relationship will try the online route and that the experience will be positive.
Ryan and I are often asked which site we used. ChristianMingle, eHarmoney, Match.Com, Christian Cafe, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk and there are so many more. I’ve written about OkCupid before but one site isn’t necessarily the key to online dating success. Both Ryan and I tried multiple sites before we met and each one had a different feel. I was determined not to pay but many of the sites only give you limited access if you don’t pay. This includes many of the Christian sites. Whether you make a choice to pay or go with the free options, dating online can work. So what can you do to make the most out of your online dating experience? If you just want a date, that’s easy but here are some tips (from my perspective) if you want to try and find a relationship online.
1. Put effort into it.
If you are serious about finding someone then you need to put time into looking through profiles, responding to and writing messages, making dates (men), going on dates and communicating in general. It takes time. If you don’t have time to make it a priority, wait until you do. Or if you aren’t paying for a site, then it’s easier to date for a month or so and then take a break. That’s how I kept my sanity during the online dating process.
2. Be strategic with your site choice.
Everyone is different but in my experience I didn’t like eHarmony or Match. I also tried a couple of the Christian sites but found that the men were looking for a ‘nice Christian girl’ but they weren’t necessarily solid Christian men. I didn’t like having to sort through a lot of Christian lingo and niceties that didn’t really tell me about the person. I liked OkCupid because being a Christian wasn’t a good thing if you were just looking for a little action or some friday night fun. The men who were serious, solid Christians automatically distinguished themselves on a free site like OkCupid.
3. Know what you are looking for.
Once you get to the point of meeting someone, one date can only tell you so much. That person could be having a bad day or be super nervous. So I worked on a very short list of my ‘must haves’ and no this didn’t include a height requirement. The book Marriage and Mr. Right helped me think through what really was important to me and what wasn’t a true deal breaker. In theory if a guy had those ‘must haves’ then he got at least a second date and if the guy didn’t then I would shake his hand and that was it. I say in theory because there were some men that it was more difficult to stop dating even once I knew they weren’t someone I would consider marrying. But looking back I can say that those dates were seriously a waste of time. Fun dates but not potential mates.
4. Be smart with your communication and meeting choices.
We all know about being safe with strangers. But this is more than that. Most of the time I didn’t give out my phone number until I met the guy in person. Then if the date didn’t go well I didn’t have to worry about unwanted phone calls. And I also didn’t have to worry about a random stranger having my phone number if they misrepresented themselves. Be wise about where you meet and what time of day. I did go hiking with someone I just met but it was on a well traveled trail in a familiar area. Be smart because if you feel comfortable with your choices then the date will most likely go better too.
5. Enlist the help of friends.
Once you meet someone who has more potential than just a date then don’t be shy introducing them to close friends. One of the downsides of online dating is meeting someone outside of your normal sphere. I’m a big fan of getting your community involved. This doesn’t mean bringing in the calvary but a few people can help you see if you’re overlooking anything. Ryan met some of my friends on our second date, that might be a bit early for most people but it worked for us. It also helped us to start mingling our friend groups because meeting online often means you don’t have any friends or even acquaintances in common.
I’m sure I could think of a few more things but that’s it for now. I’d love to hear your stories of online dating, the adventures as well as misadventures in finding and keeping love.