Four Online Dating Rules to Keep You Sane

Dice Illustration - Ivan Prole

I'll admit it: when it comes to online dating, I'm a little smug. Not because my dates were so great, but because my husband came out of them.

You'd think I would know better, though, because in the beginning, I went on and met a dozen or so guys in the course of about a year. Not many of my friends were dating online yet, and when I said to one of them, "I know exactly what I'm doing!" she said, "Really? I don't think so. Have you met anyone good yet?" (Only a best friend could say such a thing.)

That shut me up and made me reconsider my strategy.

So I signed up for and decided to take it a bit more seriously. I met about 20 guys in about six months, and none of them were terrible. But they were all a waste of time, ultimately, and helped me hone a short list of four rules to date by. Did I use them on anyone? Yes, the last guy I met before I threw in the towel and reverted back to the old ways. I'm not saying they helped me snag him. They just made it much easier.

And yes, I learned them all the hard way. More than once.

  1. Don't spend too much time emailing before arranging a date. Can he spell? Is he funny? Establish the basics then get a date arranged. Because online dating is a numbers game, chances are he won't be the one, and you'll have wasted a lot of time and energy imagining him to be the one, and composing fabulous emails (instead of lining up your next date).
  2. Don't talk on the phone before you meet. You'll start making judgements before having the full picture. What if he has a funny laugh or an unappealing accent? You'll cancel the date, and you'll never know, he could be perfect in every other way.
  3. Meet for one hour, and ideally for coffee. That way if it doesn't work, you're not stuck for any longer than necessary. But make it an extendable time slot so if it does work, you can follow your coffee with a stroll through the neighbourhood, and then dinner (if things are going really well).
  4. Don't drink alcohol. I know! But you both would like something to come out of all of this, and this is a time when alcohol will even more quickly cloud your judgement. However, if your one-hour date turns into a six-hour date, then you're safe having a celebratory cocktail together at the end.
So are these rules to help you meet Mr Right? Not really. But they will keep you saner through the process.

(Editor: Maybe you should sign up for HITC Dating now, dear reader.)

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