This dating thing is hard, especially online dating. I swear some days I feel like I’ve been chewed up and spit out and then left for dead in a big gobby mess.
Even so, I’ve learned in order to meet new people, online dating can be a safe and even fun way to get myself out there. I’ve now spent enough time in the game to come up with some ways to survive the jungle and even have a little fun doing it.
- It’s not personal. C’mon, let’s be honest. When that one person sends you a message and the first thought that runs through your head is, “Is this the best I can attract?” Remember, nothing that happens in online dating is personal. If feels really personal because your putting yourself out there, but there is not a single person who knows the real you – yet. That will come later.
- Don’t take it too seriously. Have a little fun, don’t be afraid to joke around a little. Let your sense of humor out. Be friendly, smile while you write people back, keep it light, keep it perky. And for goodness sake, do not assume that you are talking to your future spouse! That will certainly take all the fun out of it for you and for him. Don’t start planning your wedding, just stay in the moment.
- Don’t spill all your guts out right now. Do you have deal breakers and deal makers? Great! We all should have our standards that are important to us, but now is not the time to start listing all of your requirements. Enjoy the process of getting to know each other. Pay attention to clues about their character, ask lots of fun questions, but there is no need to take it to that level. You will have plenty of time to sort out the important stuff.
- You are NOT looking for a spouse. Online dating should never be approached with the sole purpose of getting married. I know it sounds counter-intuitive because that’s what we are eventually looking for (well, I am), but the very life will be sucked out of you if you are looking at each person you are communicating with as your potential mate for life. You will have your heart torn out of your chest every time you don’t hear back from them. You will lose your mind when someone lets you down by not being exactly how you imagined them in your head. Use this opportunity to learn more about yourself, what do you like in the opposite sex, what are your emotional triggers, what makes you smile, what makes you frown. You aren’t looking for a spouse, you are looking for yourself.
- It’s a numbers game. Sorry. Not everyone loves this bit of cold hard truth. You have to say yes to a lot of dates to get to the one you want to spend more time with. People will get hurt, you will get hurt. You will reject and be rejected. Ouch. On the upside, you will not die from this experience. Your heart will bounce back, you will live to tell the tale and it will get you closer to who you are looking for.
- Step away from the computer. You heard me. You’re getting obsessed. Set a time limit and stick to it. Now go call a friend, go for a walk, do something else you love to do. The person you are waiting to hear from needs to have something of substance to be attracted to.
I have in no way compiled an extensive list here, but when these are my top 6 that keep me sane. Online dating can be frustrating, heartbreaking, sometimes gross, but it can and should be fun!
What challenges have you experienced? What keeps you sane while you are dating? I’d love to hear your tips for survival!