Finding the perfect man can be tough. Dating can be even worse. Isn't dating meant to be fun? Cinema, dinner and, if you're lucky, a kiss to seal the end of a lovely evening? These days, a woman would be lucky to get a second date! From the amount of frogs I've had to kiss, I should know. This lady is speaking from experience.
But then the World Wide Web began and Internet dating was born. How many Internet dating web sites have you come across since the last time you logged onto the web? Match.com, Dating Friends, Dating Direct… The list is endless. If you're in a relationship, like most of my friends, then an Internet dating site is the last type on earth you would be logging on to. However, if you are a singleton like me, then Internet dating can seem quite appealing and, dare I say it, you could actually find your dream guy! Internet pop-up adverts have captions like ‘meet singles in your area’ and ‘we'll match you and your perfect partner.’ These slogans are memorable and appealing to thousands of single people and, if I'm being honest, I'm one of them. Unlike being set up on a blind date by a friend, sibling or colleague, you don't necessarily have to meet up with your Internet guy until you're ready. Instead, this time can be used to get to know each other through emailing and messaging. You get to find out their interests and their dislikes all at a click of a button. You can laugh at their on-screen jokes, knowing you share the same humour, cringe when they reveal their embarrassing stories and gasp when they let slip information they should have kept hidden, all from the comfort of your computer screen. So, the embarrassment, for both you and your potential date is replaced with fascination and excitement. You cannot help but feel enticed by his personality and perhaps even his picture. Yes, it doesn't sound as romantic as most couples’ ‘love at first sight’ encounters, but rather than base the beginning of a relationship on physical appearance, you are forced to dig deeper beneath the surface. So here are some tips on getting started on Internet dating… Choose Your Dating Website Carefully There are so many Internet dating sites promising to find your dream date but which is right for you? As the online dating market is so popular, there are web sites which try to cater for everyone. It is worth shopping around before deciding to set up a profile. Most dating web sites are free, at least for a trial period, so this is the perfect chance to have a look at the service the web site offers before parting with your cash. Stay Safe Always protect your identify on line. Sign up using a different e-mail than normal which isn't personal or work related. Be especially careful about giving information about yourself in on line conversation. This includes your phone number, home address, the town you live in, work place or any other personal information that could link you to where you are from. Use Your Common Sense If someone appears odd or suspicious then it is likely they are. If someone starts using inappropriate language or makes you feel uncomfortable then discontinue your conversation, block them, or change your e-mail address or nickname. The good thing about online dating is that you can report abusive behaviour to the website provider. If you experience it, report it - you could save another woman the indignity. And remember, while the Internet can be a safe place to get to know someone at a distance, some men may not be who they appear to be, so keep your wits about you. Be Honest Honesty is always the best policy. Although it isn't recommended to give out personal details, being honest is. If you want someone to be open and honest with you it is usually best to do the same. Sharing fake photos is not the best start to a relationship which would ultimately be built on lies. And what will you do if and when you finally decide to meet him? Meeting Up If you decide to develop your friendship and you wish to meet up with your virtual mate then arrange to meet in public. A coffee shop or any other busy place is guaranteed to make you feel comfortable as there will be people around, and, most importantly, this is the safer option. Be prepared to have a back-up plan in case you don't like the person or you feel uncomfortable. It is best to let someone know where you are at all times. You could ask a friend to ring you after an hour to see how you are. The most important thing is to be cautious at all times; your Internet date is a stranger after all.