At one time or another, most single people who have access to the Internet have tried online communities and groups to meet someone special. However, experiences of online daters show a controversial picture of this dating platform. On the one hand, there are dating companies that aggressively advertise their business as the ultimate source of life-long happiness, while on the other hand, one often hears heartbreaking stories of lying and cheating. The truth lies between these two extreme ends and vigilantly using these sites really can banish your loneliness forever; however, there a few misperceptions and guidelines that should be clarified before getting started.
Internet Daters are Not Socially Rejected Individuals
It is a common stereotype that individuals who prefer online sites to find soul mates, are either losers or are social misfits. In reality, research suggests the opposite of this. Sociable people with a high self-esteem are more likely to opt for online romantic relationships and dating (Kim M, 2009). Another cyber-psychology behavioral study indicates that people with low dating anxiety and higher self-confidence tend to be more active online daters than the ones who feel shy in meeting new people (Valkenburg PM, 2007).
If these misleading perceptions and statements are keeping you away from your true love, know that there is hardly any academic evidence that supports that argument. People don’t always chose online matchmaking services because they are introverted; sometimes it is because of long working hours and busy schedules (Jo Barraket, 2008).
People who have a Higher Risk of Scam
Online dating does involve scam; however, the victims have particular personality characteristics that raise their risk of becoming victims. While technology has made life easier to live, it can pose a threat to personal safety and privacy. Do not get overwhelmed at receiving a message from a supposedly attractive candidate – it might be a scam. Research findings reveal that people with stronger idealization of romantic partners and higher expectations are more likely to become a prey (Monica Whitty, 2012). Perhaps this is the reason why middle-aged women remain safe from such crimes.
Online Dating Guidelines
· Be careful when revealing your personal information in early conversations and emails when dating online (Online Dating: Staying Safe Online, 2010).
· Pay attention to what you are posting on your profile. Make sure you reveal nothing that could lead people to know your passwords.
· See how you can enhance your privacy through special settings in your profile. Restrict people to access your personal information, pictures, and passwords.
· Avoid revealing your full name and address to a new contact. Get to know and at least meet once before taking things on a personal level.
· If you notice any suspicious behavior or someone stalking your profile more than usual, report to the site administrator before wasting more time.
· Chose well-reputable and established dating sites
· Beware of deceiving profiles; do not fall for someone just by looking at the profile image.
Messaging Guidelines to Avoid Disappointments
Many people rely solely on chance and fate encounters to find a trustworthy loving partner on this dynamic meeting-place. Nevertheless, it depends on how you communicate and narrow down the pool of potential matches. To avoid setbacks and disappointments, follow these messaging guidelines.
Success lies in getting a response; otherwise, you may end up waiting for ages. Longer messages that are based on physical compliments reduce the response rate (Oktrends, 2009).9 Do not show your essay writing skills in an introductory or greeting note; stay simple, decent, and classy.
These are some of the tactics that can be learned from psychological insights on online dating:
· Make your first impression count: be literate. Remember that bad spelling, net-speak, and grammatical errors can instantly turn off the recipient.
· Avoid strong physical complements, as it is the most common persuasive technique used by scammers. This advice applies to both sexes. It is true that people generally like to hear good things about themselves, but not from strangers.
· Conventional greetings like “Hi”, “Hello”, and “Hey” should be avoided. The beginning should always be catchy, small, yet interesting.
· Target the reader’s interest rather than your own. Talk about what the other person likes; it will keep the response rate high.
· Avoid religion discussions unless you are sure of the other person’s beliefs and religious sects.
Finding the “one” may require time, so stay patient and make use of these tips to avoid romance disasters.
1) Cooper, H. C. (2000). Making the Most of Summer School: A Meta-Analytic and Narrative Review.
2) Jo Barraket, M. S.-W. (2008). Getting it Online: Social Perspective of Online Dating. Journal of Sociology .
3) Kim M, K. K. (2009). Psychological characteristics of Internet dating service users: the effect of self-esteem, involvement, and sociability on the use of Internet dating services.
4) Learning and Developing through Interactions. (2005).
5) Monica Whitty, D. T. (2012). The Psychology of the Online Dating and Romance Scam. The University of Leicester.
6) (2013). More Than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Overthe Summer Months. National Summer Learning Association.
7) (2010). Online Dating: Staying Safe Online. Australian Communication and Media Authority.
8) Valkenburg PM, P. J. (2007). Who visits online dating sites? Exploring some characteristics of online daters.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.