Of course most members aren’t con artists. But odds are there’ll be one or two you wouldn’t want to be trapped in an elevator with, much less across a romantically set dinner table. So make the initial meet quick and cheap. Starbucks was invented for online dating.
Use this short "look see" to detect red flags such as your companion’s tendency to check out every female within range. Even if he has a scarlet L for LOSER stamped on his forehead, Francine Pappadis Friedman, she of 25 online first and last dates fame, says, "Be nice. There were a few guys who made me want to lock myself in the ladies’ room, but it’s important to remember each of them is coming to the table with his hopes, dreams, expectations, and baggage, just as you are."
Not interested? As you part, say a polite, "It was nice meeting you." The message — don’t ‘e’ me; I won’t ‘e’ you — should be received. If it’s not, let him down gently: "I enjoyed your company but don’t feel we’re a match." If he still won’t vanish into the cyber-mist, check out the site’s technology allowing you to block someone’s e-mail.
If he’s the one who boneheadedly rejects your fabulous self, dive right back into the Internet pool. But don’t rely on online dating alone as your source of potential romantic partners. Ideally, it is one prong of your man-meeting approach, not the entire strategy.
However, utilized wisely, online dating can be extremely effective. "Many people I know met the loves of their lives this way," says Friedman. "I succumbed to ‘chronic meeting syndrome’ — too many dates in too short a time and burnt out." Is she considering a second run? "Very likely I was just unlucky."
A run of bad luck is discouraging but with the next profile you click, your luck can change. Here’s to the possibilities.
Visit these online dating sites:
Do you have a tough question about dating or relationships?
E-mail Sherry at DatingExpert@More.com and your question might be featured in an upcoming column.
About Sherry Amatenstein
Sherry Amatenstein, MSW, is the author of Love Lessons from Bad Breakups and The Q&A Dating Book. She runs dating seminars around the country and does private coaching — not to help singles marry in 60 days, but to uncover their blocks. She has given relationship advice on the Early Show, Regis, Inside Edition, CBS News, VHI, BBC, and many other programs. Her philosophy is that the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.
Originally published on MORE.com, June 2007
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