1. Know your deal-breakers and stick to them.
Don’t underestimate the importance of deal breakers. Give serious thought to what kind of relationship you want, the type of person you’re looking for and what behaviors or viewpoints are unacceptable. Once you know your deal breakers, don’t ignore them. Too many times I cut some slack and let things pass, thinking things might work out.
They never did. I wasted a lot of time ignoring the red flags that popped up when my deal breakers were staring
me in the face.
2. Vet the candidates.
When you start online dating, be prepared to spend some time weeding out fakers, posers and scammers. I hate to say this, but it’s true. As online dating has increased in popularity over the years, so have the number of sketchy characters that populate the dating pool. In the old days, you’d come across some losers and hound dogs here and there, but today, what you find online can sometimes be offensive and even scary. Be careful and don’t rule out running a background check, if need be. If you have doubts, check it out, or step away. Trust your instincts.
3. Work the system.
Online dating sites make it easy for people to get to know one another. Take advantage of it. You can flirt, like, wink, show interest, and give thumbs up to a photo. You can text or talk anonymously. You can email and find out if someone reads your message, or you can peruse profiles without anyone knowing. No matter what your preference, the important thing is to get out there and work it, baby. Be proactive, but don’t be annoying. Too many times I’ve been blasted by those who think it’s cute to tag every photo with a flirt or wink. I never appreciated the flirt harassers and didn’t hesitate to use another nifty feature found on dating sites, the “block” button. Don’t think twice about blocking those who are aggressive or hateful.
4. Email and phone first.
I highly recommend exchanging some emails then having a phone call or two before going on a date. Many times I made the mistake of quickly agreeing to meet, only to regret it later. I learned how valuable the email and phone stage could be. Red flags popped up. Deal-breakers were revealed, and I was lucky enough to avoid going out on a date that surely would have ended badly. On the flip side, don’t drag out communication too long. If someone hesitates to meet, it might be a setup for catfishing (when someone uses a fake identity to take advantage of another). If someone refuses to meet, move on.
5. Be a dating badass.
I realize I sound harsh and rigid with my tough advice, but I know from experience. I spent more hours than I care to admit giving men the benefit of the doubt, ignoring their bad behavior, hoping for the best, all to no avail. For my peace of mind, I learned to stick to my guns, quickly dismissing those who didn’t rise above the rest. I wouldn’t hesitate to give a guy the boot the second I realized the chemistry wasn’t there, or we didn’t have enough in common, or he was rude, or didn’t call when he said he would. I know it sounds like small stuff, but it’s not. Manners are important. And the small stuff happens all the time. That’s why you have to be ruthless and keep your standards high. By being a dating badass, I found the good guys stood out pretty quickly, especially one named Vince. After dating a year, we moved in together, and I am happy to report, it seems to be a perfect match.