Rules are not always the most exciting part of life, but they make contact sports and fine dining infinitely less messy. This is also true when applied to online dating. If you’ve been out in the wilds of the single safari, you may have your doubts that rules exist, but they do, and we really, really need them.
Here are some basic rules you should take under consideration as you venture into the wide world of singles, and best of all, you can carry them with you beyond the virtual world of swipe apps.
Keep Your Photos Up To Date
Ten years out of college but you’re still displaying the picture that gives you hope and enthusiasm about your future? That spare tire you’ve been honing as a result of too many dinners at the sandwich shop doesn’t need to be front and center, but the fact that you’re molecularly a different person does. Honesty needs to be a part of your first impressions. Enlist your friends, a stranger on the street, make the duck face you’ve been dreading, but whatever you do, make the effort.
However, if Photoshop is required for the end result, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Have A Fetish? Start Off On The Right Foot.
Some people like feet. A lot more than other people. And some people like to visit Furry Conventions. Some people read an E.L. James novel, and others live an E.L. James novel.
In our day to day lives, we generally tend to keep that stuff in the background, because it’s not really appropriate in a workplace or while we’re giving our little brother a purple nurple. The internet has changed how we negotiate our preferences, fetishes, our just the fact that we knock three times on the door before we leave the building because deep down inside, we know calamity will befall us.
You asked, and the internet has provided. This is what profiles were made for. Now, you don’t have to wait until five dates or a pregnancy in to discover that your diaper fetish is a deal breaker.
Not comfortable with putting your vulnerable bits in a profile? It could be a better time to discuss or message your special requests/fantasies/restraining orders in the lead up to the date. Judge each situation accordingly.
Oh, The Honesty, It Burns
Peacocks are gorgeous creatures. Those beautiful feathers when the tail is completely unfurled make the bird itself seem six feet bigger than it is. The peacock is gorgeous, and once the tail feathers deflate you’re left with a slightly more colorful turkey.
And that’s the point. We know on some level, that we could always appear to be more attractive than we actually are. To some extent, embellishment is expected.
However, outright bald-faced lies is venturing into the world of fraud, especially when you consider how deep a lie can affect those involved. No one’s saying that your DUI from ten years ago is necessarily relevant now, but pretending you are the chief financial executive of Secretly Living With My Parents, Inc., is eventually going to end in tears.
Show people who you are by having the conviction to be honest but the charm to know when not to spill your guts about that incident in high school when your tongue got frozen to the street pole in subzero temperatures.
To Ghost, Or Not To Ghost?
Everyone decries ghosting, but here is where definitions are helpful. If you know within the first several messages that the person isn’t right for you, and you get busy talking to someone else, ghosting happens. It makes people angry, it makes people upset.
The problem is, even if you bluntly tell someone, “this isn’t working for me,” they usually want reasons and some people even get frighteningly aggressive. Ghosting suddenly seems like a much better alternative, and if you’re at a point where you know this isn’t going anywhere, it’s the best way to move on quickly and with less injury to either person.
Ghosting that occurs after a relationship is established is usually universally regarded as cruel and irresponsible, even though we hear more and more anecdotes about the event taking place. If you’re at a physical stage early in, or late term, the other party should at least take the time to text or message and admit it’s not working out. Leaving without a trace certainly sends a different message, and not a good one.
Shut Your Pie Hole
The art of conversation is something some people never discover, and you’ll find this out for yourself when you finally meet them and date them in person. Some people dominate conversations with endless topics about their favorite, but least riveting subject (themselves) and never take a moment to ask the other person a question or inquire about their own lives.
Don’t be that person.
If you struggle with being able to listen to another person, practice with your friends and even make a list of questions you should ask the other person to show that you are engaged and interested. A person who only talks about themselves and can’t have a dialogue is showcasing that there is no room in their lives for another person — they’ve already filled that space up with themselves.
No one ever wants to have the conversation, and in some cases this is where you’ll see the clear demarcation between one generation and another. Many still hold that the man should pay. Nowadays it is more common to see couples split the bill, or if one pays, the other sends money via app to make up their half.
Set your expectation early. If you expect it to be a shared proposition, bring it up. If you always pay, or never pay, mentioning this is worthwhile. This establishes an important relationship dynamic early on in terms of how capable you are when it comes to negotiating uncomfortable topics. The ability of both parties to communicate what they want will be a key component to actually getting what you want. Start now! Not when you tell the waiter you’re going to the bathroom just so you can crawl out the window to avoid the check on the table.