Five Tips on Surviving the Online Dating World
By Michelle Gay
I remember the first eHarmony date I went on. We had been communicating through the Guided Communication steps and had spent many nights talking over the phone. We were both camp counsellors and had a shared love of camp songs.
He asked if I’d be ok meeting him at the train station where he’d pick me up on his Harley. Wow! A Harley! I got dressed up, fretted about everything and spent way too much time dealing with nervous energy. The day had come and I walked to the train station hoping that he would be something long-term. I jumped on the Harley and we spoke over lunch about all of our similarities. I had hoped for another date as we seemed to have so much in common and I really put myself out there.
But, it didn’t work out. I was bummed. However, I learned some important key aspects to approaching the first date and online dating in general, that helped me keep everything in perspective.
1. Be yourself
I remember being so nervous sometimes, because the date I was going on felt like someone who I wouldn’t normally go for. I didn’t think I would ‘fit their type’. However, I had to remember to just be myself. In the end I was looking for (and have since found) someone who liked me for my authentic self.
2. Remember to ask your date questions about themselves
As much as someone wants to hear a synopsis of who you are, it’s also important to remember that the lines of communication must be reciprocal in order to connect. It also goes without saying that if you’re being asked questions, a thoughtful response is appreciated. It was always painful when asking a question and trying to engage with a one-word skirted answer.
3. Keep it light-hearted, but be open
The best dates were the ones that were fun. I remember going on one where we rocked climbed, and another at the opening of an arts festival. Remember that you’re both nervous coming into a first date, so keeping it light-hearted and fun puts everyone at ease.
Being open to letting the date follow its course is also important. Going into a date with expectations never boded well for me. I always enjoyed the dates where both of us didn’t have time pressures. On my first date with my now-husband, it was only supposed to be a quick coffee date. It ended up turning into a two hour walk around the city and a cocktail date that same night. I just went with the moment and really found that I could be myself, be open, and foster a genuine connection.
4. Be grateful, but not smothering
I’m always one for a follow-up text thanking the person for a nice date. However, we all need our space to thrive and grow in our relationships. Space is a delicate thing and everyone’s thresholds are different, but I did learn that follow-up thank you’s or a polite decline for further contact was appreciated.
5. If all else, remember it’s a fun journey
At the end of this whole new experience of online dating and meeting a new match, remember to approach it as a fun adventure. I learned so much about myself whilst dating because I adopted the above four strategies. I really enjoyed debriefing with close friends and seeing myself grow in my own confidence. I did things I wouldn’t normally have done, explored parts of the city I hadn’t visited and met interesting people.
I wish all of you the best of luck with your dating journey. I met my husband on eHarmony and it was only after I had just relaxed into the journey of it all that I finally allowed myself to be open to what I desired all along.
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