The room is dim. Your heart flutters. Your hand reaches forward as a bright glow falls across your face. There they are, your perfect match. The possibility of your entire future flashes before your eyes. You gather your courage, and just like that, you swipe right.
Ah yes, the art of online dating. One of the great mysterious and complicated interactions of our time.
As someone who has had two online encounters that resulted in successful long-term relationships, I can confidently say that this unconventional process works.
It would be nice to look across the dance floor, your eyes meeting one another for the first time as Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” plays softly over the sound system, knowing in that moment you would spend the rest of your lives together. In this digital age, where our most intimate relationships are with our phones, that romantic scenario is most likely not going to happen.
So how can you make digital dating work best for you? Whether you’re looking for that one-night stand, or that long-term relationship, here are five tips for getting you in the digital game.
One of the great things about meeting someone online is that you’re not physically in front of them. You have time to carefully calculate your responses without fumbling all over yourself, or making an awkward dad joke, just to avoid the uncomfortable silence.
Hookup: Don’t be afraid to come on strong. If you find them attractive, tell them. Keep the conversation light and more about meeting up in person.
Relationship: Take it slow, express interest, tell them that you find them attractive, but make the conversation more about getting to know one another on a deeper level. Don’t meet up that same day, and keep the flirting to a minimum.
2) Time Limit
It’s important to know when to move on. Talking to someone when it’s not going anywhere can be extremely draining. Know when to cut them loose and cast out another net.
Hookup: For a hookup, if an initiation of getting together does not happen within the first three days of making contact, it’s probably best to just move on. That person is not interested or is looking for something more than what you want at this time.
Relationship: In my experience I always set a five-day time limit. After days of texting or even talking on the phone, if he didn’t make a plan for a first date, I moved on. Don’t let people waste your time, or use you to avoid their own loneliness. Be intentional! If that person wants to get to know you better and take your relationship to the next level, they’ll make an effort.
Know your worth and stick to what you’re looking for/deserve.
Hookup: Be safe. Make sure you’re feeling comfortable with this person and initially meet them in a public place. If at any given moment you feel unforgettable, just leave. No explanation needed. It’s always important to trust that gut feeling.
Relationship: With online dating, a lot of people are just there for a hookup. Therefore, stand strong in what you want. If someone's not respecting your vision for your life, a new prospect is just one swipe away.
Be clear about your expectations for communicating with this person. It’ll save you both a lot of time and confusion.
Hookup: It’s perfectly acceptable to make it known that you’re not looking for a relationship to continue with this person. If this is a one-time thing, tell them beforehand. Nobody likes being ghosted or led on.
Relationship: Before meeting your potential suitor for a first date, tell them you’re looking for a serious relationship. If they cancel on you, you know that you would have been wasting your time. Again, be intentional. If they’re uncomfortable with the idea of you even mentioning a relationship, they’re probably not mature enough to handle one.
Seal the deal!
Hookup: If you’re just looking for a good time, enjoy yourself! Be committed to the experience. Then grab that phone and on to the next.
Relationship: With social media, it’s so easy to get caught up in “Grass is Greener” syndrome, which causes us to think that we can always have something or someone better. However, relationships take a lot of nurturing, and if you’re committed to making that love grow and last, eventually you must put that phone down and move forward with the person you’ve chosen.