You walk into a bar and are greeted by the smell of alcohol, peanut shells, and body odor. You take a seat on a bar stool and look around waiting for your friends to show up. The seat is too high, your skirt it too short, and you are starting to feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, there is a guy to the right of you giving you a funny look. He could be interested and trying to be polite, but you interpret this as his way of telling you that he is a serial killer, and look away. Okay, so this may not be the ideal environment or place to look for a potential relationship or companion. Here is a tip: go home. Go home, slip into your PJs, pour a glass of your favorite drink, and go online. Yes, that’s right: online dating. You can do everything online, right? And that includes dating and developing relationships. Online relationships are becoming more and more common these days, and people are logging onto sites such as match.com or eHarmony faster than they are hailing a cab to the local nightclub. Interested in hopping onto the online relationship bandwagon? Kick off your shoes and scroll down!
Your Online Resume
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, the first thing you need to do before you develop an online relationship is to create an online dating profile. This can be a little bit like writing a resume: it is not as easy as it seems. You are basically marketing yourself to a large pool of people of the opposite sex, which can seem intimidating. Here are some tips to keep you and your profile looking as attractive as possible:
Know Yourself: Online dating sites will have you list your hobbies, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. They are going to want to match you with people of similar interests and hobbies, so make sure you enjoy doing what you are writing down. If you have any aversions or dislike certain things, feel free to mention them here, as it may help factor out potential suitors.
What You Want: Have some general knowledge of what you are looking for in a partner. Write down these characteristics, both physical and personality-wise. Balance what you are looking for with your personality: try not to only talk about yourself or what you want. Just talking about what you need from someone may come off as a little controlling.
Honesty: Honesty is the key to a successful relationship online, because it is — well, online. The other person will only know as much about you as you are willing to tell them. If you do not want to date a smoker, or someone with children, say so.
Username: Try to keep it classy. We know things have the potential to get silly, but try to retain a name that reflects your personality or interests (be mature).
Tag Lines: These are a fun way to get a sentence out to people before they click into your profile. What are your intentions in creating this profile? Try to make that known here.
Photo: Obviously you are going to try to choose the best photo possible of yourself. At the same time, remember to keep it real. You do not want to have any surprises or confusion arise later if a meeting is to occur. Make sure that you and your face are the focus of the photo. Again, keep things classy and mature, and choose a photo that reveals something about you and your personality.
Tips for a Successful Online Relationship
Hopefully, you will make it to the next level: developing a relationship from online dating. You may be entering unknown territory, so here are some helpful tips that will help you maintain and nurture your online relationship.
- Talk: Unlike a normal relationship, you will not be able to simply meet-up after work or grab a bite together for lunch. Instead of taking time to do those things, you will need to set aside time to talk online. Aim for at least one hour a day, depending on each of your schedules. Think of this as a date or an outing; only this time it is in cyberspace.
- Focus: Whether you are talking online or on the phone, stay away from distractions. Treat your time together just as you would if you were standing next to each other and be courteous and respectful.
- Connect: Do little things with your time together online that strengthens your closeness. For instance, sing a favorite song together, watch video clips, or have your partner show you how to do something over Skype or a video.
- Stay Playful: Although your contact is limited to talking, that does not mean that you have to limit your playfulness as well. Send flirty emails or texts throughout the day, or even snail mail. Doing the unexpected is always a welcome surprise.
- Get Involved: Know what your partner does in their daily routine, their likes and dislikes, and their favorite things. Ask specific questions about their day and the people it in. Do things to demonstrate that you are interested in their life.
- Stay Composed: Things can get tricky if you get into an argument online. Try to stay calm and ask to talk at another time. Words can get misinterpreted without any body language because of the communication barrier.
- Online Tools: Be sure to utilize all your online chatting options. Skype and MSN are great programs that allow you to be more interactive with each other.
- Be Honest: When you are in an online relationship, it is important to be honest with yourself and your partner. It can be incredibly hard to stay faithful for some people, and on the other hand, it can be incredibly easy to get jealous. Always make sure that you and your partner know where you stand in the relationship, and leave no rock unturned.
- Expectations: Hopefully, your online relationship will eventually turn into an in-person relationship. Make sure that you know what each of you expect from the relationship. Is this temporary? Do you want to meet in person one day? It can be easy to string someone on for a long time, so keep from breaking any hearts and be clear with what you want out of this relationship.
Staying Safe Online
In case you online relationship has always been confined to the internet, make sure that you are keeping yourself safe. We know that sometimes the heart can speak louder than your brain, so here are some tips for keeping yourself safe online whether you are dating or in a relationship.
- Protect yourself: Unless you have met your significant other in person, it is a good idea to keep your personal information private. Definitely refrain from sharing your social security number, home address, or employer information until you develop more of an in-person relationship with your partner.
- Site Safety: Make sure the site that you meet your cyber significant other on is safe and legitimate as well.
- Trust Your Instincts: In these situations, usually you are the only one who is going to be able to spot something fishy. If the person you are communicating with online says or does anything that makes you uncomfortable, know when to step away or report certain activity.
- Money Issues: If your significant other requests that you send them money for whatever reason: don’t. This is a red flag. Beware of emotionally-laced stories and requests for money via Western Union, Paypal, or a private bank account.
- Google: Before you meet your online boyfriend or girlfriend in person, Google them! This might sound silly, but you can find out a lot of information online just by searching a person’s name. If anything raises a red flag, do not go through with it.
Meeting: When it comes time to meet your online squeeze in-person (and we hope this comes sooner than later), do so in a public place, and make sure that someone knows where you are or is with you at the time. Even though you may want to get cuddly – save this for later: safety first! Here are some tips for meeting you online boyfriend or girlfriend for the first time!
- Be Natural: Try not to make the situation awkward. Remind yourself that you are meeting someone you already feel a connection with, like an old friend of sorts.
- Remember: Remember conversations or jokes that you shared together online. Bring those up during your meeting to break the ice.
- Go Slow: Sure, you might want to be all over each other straightaway, but take things slow. Also, do not force anything on the other person unless you have discussed your intentions.
- Public: It can be a good idea to stay in a public place during the entirety of your first meeting. During this time, you will be able to access and get a feel of your partner who you are meeting for the first time. Rather safe than sorry!
Now that you have a decent overview of how to go about having and sustaining a successful online relationship, feel free to step into the cyber-dating field and test your luck. At the same time, be sure to check out Udemy’s helpful courses to keep your online relationship healthy and hopeful. Be safe out there!