• Be honest. It will be difficult to unravel the lies you make once you meet face to face. And having a reputation for being deceitful can spread among a dating site’s members, ruining your chances of anyone trusting you again.
• Don’t spill all your secrets right away. It can be uncomfortable for the other person to hear something very, very private about you even if you’ve only known each other for a short time. Besides, don’t you want to leave something to the imagination?
• Don’t be pushy about someone else’s personal information. Let them open up in their own time, and when they do, don’t spread it around or gossip behind their back. This may be an online relationship but you’re still dealing with real people with real feelings.
• Respect diversity. Online dating attracts many different types of people from different cultures and backgrounds. So no ethnic jokes, no religious jokes, no derogatory comments.
• Don’t lurk. This means tagging along a discussion, reading people’s messages, without contributing.
• Don’t type in all caps. It comes across as shouting.
• Don’t abbreviate. “Ur gr8, I lyk u” or even “ROTFWL” isn’t immediately or automatically decipherable. Remember that many people try online dating, and they may not be familiar with the codes and lingos. Plus, you don’t want other people think that you can’t spell or write. Type out the whole word, and be grammatically correct. This is all about making a good impression, right?
• Don’t sound desperate. If you come across too needy or eager for a relationship, you’ll scare away people or attract cyber-abusers (people who like tricking or playing around with their vulnerable victims). This includes using any user names that make you sound powerless or love-obsessed. (Would you go out with someone named Heartbroken?)
• Just to avoid confusion, pick a user name that is gender-specific.
Online dating can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience if you follow simple rules of respect and sensitivity.
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