With dating comes an unwritten code of behaviour, which is more commonly known as ‘Dating Etiquette’. The internet may have revolutionised age-old rituals of courtship and created an entirely new etiquette for online dating, but just because you’re sat behind a computer, doesn’t mean you should abandon them altogether. Dating etiquette still applies online so in order to succeed, here are some basic principles that must still be adhered to.
What not to say in a first message
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen guys (and it's always guys) crash and burn with an inane ‘wanna chat’ first message - just those two words, nothing else. The obvious response to this message is ‘no’, because quite frankly, if ‘wanna chat’ is the best you can come up with in an attempt to stand out from the competition then you're going to get nowhere fast.
Your first message, your first point of contact with someone you like the look of on the site, needs to stand out and catch their eye. So refrain from the likes of ‘hi beautiful’, ‘you look nice’ and ‘let’s chat’, and put together a thought-out message that won’t end up in the trash. Something that says ‘Hey, I took the time to read your profile, we seem to have things in common and I’d like to know more about you, if you like my profile too’ (not literally though!).
How to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’
If you were approached in a bar by someone you weren’t that interested in you wouldn’t just ignore them, would you? Most likely you would think of a polite way to let them down, for example ‘sorry I’m not looking for a relationship’ or ‘I’ve already got a boyfriend/girlfriend’ sort of thing. Unfortunately, you can’t get away with these excuses online because, well, let’s face it, you are looking for a relationship and that’s entirely why you’ve come here.
So if someone contacts you and they aren't your type or don’t tick your boxes, don’t just ignore them. Respond to them in a way you would like to be responded to. Simply be polite and let them down gently by saying ‘sorry, you’re out of my age range’ or ‘I’m looking for someone who lives a little closer’ and then wish them well in their continued search.
How to cope if you get the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ message
From time to time you may receive the odd ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Now, I’ve seen people respond badly to this kind of message almost in a child-like ‘yeah well I didn’t fancy you anyway’ manner. Please, whatever you do, do not do this. It will only make you look silly.
Rejection is never easy for anyone to take, but it does happen to everyone at some point in their lives. Be grateful that the person has taken the time to actually respond and do the only thing you can do in this situation. Scrape your ego up off the floor, dust yourself down, and continue in your search. After all, you know how the saying goes, there’re plenty more fish...
When should you remove your profile
So you’ve met someone online who you’re interested in, things are going well and you’re not using the site anymore. The question is, do you delete your profile or is it too soon? It can be hard to know what to do in these early stages as you neither want to tempt fate by removing your profile or worse, come across as too eager, nor do you want to keep your profile on the site all the while ignoring messages that you are receiving. The best thing to do here it is to talk it through with your new partner. As you both met online you will both be in the same predicament, so talk it through together and make a joint decision. Most sites will usually let you put your profile on hold or let you delete it and re-activate it should you need it again in the future.
So next time you’re online remember these basics principles, because they could be the difference between fluffing things up and finding something special.