Aren't you sick of hearing about how awful online dating is? I am. Mostly because, I tried it and it worked out well for me. I not only met my husband but also a bunch of other really nice guys. So why do people bash it? Why do they give sweeping statements like, "It's awful" or "the worst" without specifics on what they did or didn't do?
Not long ago I met a woman who ended her 20-year marriage, and worried about the prospect of dating again. When I asked her if she'd tried Internet dating, she scoffed, "No way! A friend of mine did it and said it was horrible."
Normally, that's where the conversation might end. But I didn't let it go. I asked her how many dates her friend had been on. She wasn't sure. I asked her specifically what her friend said that was "horrible" about it. She didn't know.
As a writer, I need to get to the heart of things. I wrote my book about how to create a profile that gets attention after many daters complained to me that they weren't getting the online attention they desired. Naturally, I asked this woman more questions and she finally admitted that what scared her about Internet dating was that she didn't "get it."
I think it's time for some real information about Internet dating, don't you?
Don't Fear the Unknown
Online dating scares some midlifers because they've never done it. Plain and simple, they don't understand it. But Internet dating is actually one of the best ways to get introduced to people. It's good for folks who are dating again or are very busy because of the variety of people on the site.
To really determine if Internet dating will work for you or not, you've got to: create a great profile, email people, set up a coffee date, and follow up. Without each one of those components, you aren't really Internet dating.
Don't Listen to Stories From Friends
It takes a lot of things to make Internet dating work, and the first one of those is attitude. If your friend tells you her experience "was horrible," ask her some specifics. When I did this, I found that some daters weren't ready to date at all, let alone online. Many of them admitted that when they got emails from someone, they weren't ready to meet them. Or they put up a lackluster profile half-thinking that if they didn't get a response it would prove that Internet dating wouldn't work anyway.
Self-sabotage happens when you're uncomfortable and not ready for dating again. Just because a friend didn't enjoy Internet dating doesn't mean you won't. Ask them plenty of questions so you can learn from their experience.
Think of Internet Dating As an Introduction
Have you ever asked a friend to set you up with someone? Internet dating does the same thing. It's an introduction. It's not a way to have your perfect mate delivered to your inbox without any work from you. You'll have to make conversation and find out more about someone before you decide if you like them enough for a real date, just like you would if a friend introduced you to someone at a party.
The biggest mistake midlifers make is assuming that they know someone online because they've emailed a few times. They write off people who could be great for them or assume that they've found a love match, all before they've even met the person!
You're Bound to Meet Someone You Don't Click With
Another thing I hear from those down on Internet dating is that they met someone once that they didn't like. Well let me ask you, so then if a friend sets you up, you always like that person? Or if you meet someone out at a party, you always hit it off?
Of course not. You can meet people you don't end up clicking with anywhere. You can meet them yourself, talk with them at the grocery store, and then by the time you go out decide that they're weird and you don't like them. The point is, it takes time to find the right person, regardless of how you meet them.
Internet Dating Takes Time and Patience
I have yet to hear from someone that gave Internet dating a real try (meaning that they put up a good profile, took the time to meet a few folks, and spent three to six months giving it a shot) that said it was horrible. Just the opposite. Very often, when someone tells me they put in the time and patience that Internet dating requires, they ended up meeting someone very special.
Like anything worthwhile in life, Internet is work. It takes time. If it's not for you, that's okay, because they are plenty of other ways to meet people. But if a friend wants to try it, be careful about casually bashing it just because you don't get it.
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