10 Rules for Online Dating Etiquette

I dipped into the world of online dating as a naive newcomer. The world, the nuances and the rules of meeting a person online was brand new to me. My first few dates were absolute disasters but I am observant, so I started noticing patterns. I realized a bunch of things and started implementing them. Now, even my friends come to me for help in their online dating life. Thus, I decided to sit down and type this list of etiquettes hoping it helps someone.

So, before you hit super like or swipe right, here are some online dating etiquettes you should follow:

  1. Catfishing is not allowed

As with most social media platforms, dating apps too promote a culture of duplicity. This can take various forms, from creating completely fake identities to lying about how tall you are, and this phenomenon is known as catfishing. Studies reveal that most people lie on dating apps because they want to present themselves in ways that they think the other person will regard as attractive. For example, people will lie about going to the gym often if they match with someone who’s into fitness. Dating psychologist, Madeliene Mason says, “Styling your online image that is not a true likeness of who you are will set your date up for disappointment and you will remain single.”

  1. Starting a conversation with an emoji is a cardinal sin

When you start a conversation with an emoji, not only does it make your match think you have the vocabulary of a four-year-old but it’s also outright lazy. Also, recent studies have found that people actually hate the peach and aubergine emoji a lot. Start with a question based on their interests—you want to start a conversation, not simply announce your presence.

  1. Keep the social media stalking to the minimum

Curiosity killed the cat—and it might as well cause emotional chaos for you when you spend hours fishing through your match’s Facebook photos. It usually starts innocently; you find their Facebook or Instagram account and end up spending three hours browsing through their accounts and their friends’ accounts or their ex’s account. Of course, it’s advised to engage in a tame amount of media stalking before the date to ensure the person isn’t catfishing you but minimize your searching so you can get to know the person in real life than understand them through your conclusions based on their Facebook posts.

  1. Don’t get too deep too soon

Sharing private information right away (where you live, where you work, your salary, etc.) is not a good idea when you are conversing for the first time. They may seem wonderful, you may have moved from flirting online to sharing mobile phone numbers, but be careful until you really get to know them and figure out what their real intentions are before sharing too much. As fun online dating is, there are people who are only looking to scam and are experts in weaning personal information out of others.

  1. Be genuine and authentic

You need to be truthful about yourself and your interests. The person you are online should match with who you are in real life. The world sets too many standards for us, but if you’re a man and you like gardening, share it on your bio; if you’re a woman and you like cars, don’t be afraid to tell your match. You can only lie for so long—especially if the date turns out to be great and you want more. 

  1. Keep an escape routine on hand

You might match with them, the conversation may have flown smoothly through texts but the reality is a bit different. You meet them and you realize it is much too awkward and you can’t imagine spending another 30 minutes with them. In these kinds of situations, you need to keep an exit strategy on hand. Remember to be polite (“This was a great date but my cab’s waiting for me”), don’t tell over-the-top lies (“My cousin’s pet goldfish died”) and don’t ever dine and dash (“I was gonna pay through telepathy”).

  1. Sexting is a no-no

This is self-explanatory, but I mention it anyway. Not everyone is looking for casual sex through dating apps and not everyone appreciates a barrage of questionable emojis in their inboxes. It is inappropriate if you just know them for a day and chances are, you may get reported and then kicked out of the app altogether.

  1. So is ghosting

If aubergine emojis are inappropriate, so is not replying and backing out of dates at the last minute. If you can’t go, or you don’t want to interact with someone anymore, let them know. Don’t keep them hanging on just because you lost interest. Honesty is appreciated, keep your word and be upfront about the reason why.

  1. Waiting games aren’t fun

While it may sound tempting, it’s recommended to not play games with your match when it comes to communicating with them, that is, choosing to delay responses so you don’t seem desperate. While you may not want to labelled as too keen, it still sets a toxic criterion if you’re consumed over such irrelevant things so early on. Just reply back when you the time and the right answer.

  1. Remember that they aren’t real until you meet them

As wonderful as their profile pic, bio or conversation may be, remember that the person you’re interacting with isn’t actually real until you meet them. Try to remind yourself this when the excitement starts to build and you start to wonder if this person could be “the one”. Be open, be real and be genuine—but also protect your heart and never forget that you need to meet them in person if you do want to figure out if it will work for you and them.

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