Online Dating Basics For First-Timers


It's estimated that 30-40 million North Americans use online dating sites. But despite it growing in popularity, it can be hard for first-timers to dive in. Digital culture expert and our web wonder woman Jamey Ordolis gave us some tips to stay safe and find the right match.

Never before have so many sites, apps and algorithms existed to help you find "The One." Dating online is so much a part of our culture that no stigmas really exist anymore, so if you can get over your own mental blocks, you'll see how much easier it is to put yourself out there and communicate with and meet romantic prospects.

Tips for Getting Started

1. Make it Real

The fact that you can get to know someone via messaging is great but you don't want to lose steam. If it seems to spark, take it to the offline world. It's the only way to know if you really have a spark. 

2. Set Expectations

Technology and dating are a match made in heaven if you're looking at it purely from an opportunity standpoint. Online dating can give the illusion of limitless options, with little incentive to commit. If you meet someone you like and feel a strong connection, be clear right away about your boundaries and expectations around exclusivity.

3. Don't Replace Face Time With Digital Time

Because of the access we have to each other — via text, email, social media — it's easy to delay in-person connections. Texting and messaging can feel intimate, but they are also risk-free and not same as face-to-face interaction. Don't forget that tone doesn’t always translate via text, especially if you've never met in person. Of course a little flirtation over text can be a fun way to connect between meetings. Just don’t neglect the face time.

How to End a Relationship That Started Online

Some relationships that start online fade neatly into the pixelated sunset. Others require a clear explanation for closure. But if you invested in relationship that didn't work out, it's hard to let go, especially when you see their profile re-appear on a dating site. To avoid getting pulled back into a relationship that wasn't meant to be, avoid these digital behaviours:

1. Don’t Drunk Text

This weekend and every weekend, people will drunk text romantic exes, partners and prospects alike, with varying degrees of damage and success. Texts are the ideal impulse tool! If you are the one sending the texts, simply don’t. Especially if it contains something along the lines of “I’m not over you.” If you are receiving the drunk text, ask why the person isn't already with you and consider the possible meanings of that.

2. Don’t Stalk

Online access can make it easier to hook up, but social media makes it even harder to let go, especially if you are in the compulsive/obsessive phase of a breakup.

Cyber stalking can mean torturing yourself with information about your ex’s life. Unfollow, mute and hide and unfriend. It’s hard to do, but harder to make a clean break if you don’t.

If an ex is still messaging you or liking all your posts, just don't kid yourself that it means more that it does. Liking something on Facebook is easy. Liking you in real life is another thing entirely.