6 January 2011
Online Dating: five essential rules
Dating someone new can be tricky. How can you judge their intentions when you’ve only just met? How can you be sure you won’t get hurt? While you can never be absolutely certain, there are some things that can help you navigate the dating roadmap.
While there’s no handbook to dating, there are certain rules that are vital for success. Ignore these at your own peril…
Rule 1: follow your instincts
If someone sets off your internal alarm bells, pay attention to these and act accordingly. Look for signs of inconsistency. If you’ve met someone while dating online and they are a completely different person on the phone or in the flesh, it may signal that that they haven’t been genuine and you should end communication. But be aware that people can be nervous. Your gut could also be right if it tells you to give someone a second chance. Never stifle your instincts.
Rule 2: watch out for relationship patterns
Take heed of lessons learnt from previous relationships. If you find yourself being drawn to a particular type of person time and again, consider whether this is good for you. Don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Rule 3: see through the charm
Be aware of smooth talkers. Charm is a good thing if it’s sincere, so watch out for those whose actions speak louder than their words. If someone is attentive and chivalrous to you but treats a waiter or barman badly, think twice. Similarly, if someone tells you they’re looking for a long-term relationship but their wandering eye tells you otherwise, you should run. Screening people like this will save you valuable dating time.
Rule 4: be honest
“Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen” might be a familiar saying, but honesty is the key to a successful relationship. Be straight with people and you’ll encourage them to be the same with you. Call when you say you will and always stick to your word. If you don’t want to see someone again, sensitively tell them so. If both of you are honest with each other you will always know where you stand.
Rule 5: know when to make an exit
Just as you shouldn’t string someone along, make sure you avoid getting played. Like it or not, many people see dating as a game. Question their motives and watch out for tactics like your date trying to catch you off guard. Again, your instincts should tell you whether some is genuine or not. If they arouse your suspicions, make a quick exit.