Online Dating in College: Do’s and Don’ts

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Maybe your college campus is small, or it’s hard to meet new people.  Maybe parties and bars aren’t your scene.  So how do you approach dating?  Many people turn to online dating today as a way to meet new people in their area who are looking for the same things they are.  Online dating has become especially popular among college students.  It doesn’t have the stigma associated with it that it did in the 90’s; now belonging to such a site isn’t uncommon at all.  But, there are some things you should know if you’re thinking of delving into the world of online dating.  Here are some important do’s and don’ts.

Do:

*Find the right site for you
The first thing you have to do is decide which dating site to join.  There are a lot of different options–some require a membership cost, some have an older demographic, some have a religious focus, etc.  OkCupid tends to be a favorite in the college crowd, and offers compatibility tests and tons of different ways to narrow your searches.  And you’ll probably be surprised to find people you know popping up on the search results!

*Know what you want & make your intentions clear
You also need to know upfront what exactly you want you want to get out of online dating.  Some people are more serious about it than others.  Are you looking for new friends, casual dating, or are you after a real relationship?  It will be much easier interacting with online potentials if you know what you want, and make your intentions clear on your profile page.  Doing this can weed out a lot of people who would message you for the wrong reason.

*Make your profile as accurate as possible
In addition to making your intentions clear in your profile, you should also take care to make your “about” information as accurate as possible.  There’s no point inflating your profile to impress or draw people in.  Imagine if you end up on a date with someone on the site, and then having to deal with the discrepancies!  Along those same lines, your photos should be recent and actually look like you.

*Read others’ profiles carefully
Don’t just message someone because you find them particularly good looking…  Always read people’s profiles carefully.   Look at their likes and dislikes, and make sure they seem compatible with you.  If you only skim over things, you could be missing some potential red flags.

*Always take safety precautions
The most important rule for online dating is to always keep yourself safe!  When it comes down to it, you’ll be meeting a stranger from the internet, so you have to be smart about it.  If you decide to go on a date with someone, make sure to meet in a public place.  Don’t go to their apartment or their car if you’re only just meeting.  And before the date, message back and forth for a while to make sure they seem like they are who they say they are.

Don’t:

*Respond to rude or crude messages you might receive
You shouldn’t waste your time writing back to these people (even if you’re chiding them), because that’s just what they want.  Don’t encourage this kind of behavior.  You deserve better!

*Take a date just for the sake of having a date
It’s exciting when someone asks you out on a date, but don’t carry on message conversations and go on a date simply for the sake of going on a date.  Make sure if you decide to meet a person that you’re actually interested them.  It wouldn’t be fair to them or you if you do otherwise.  And remember never to settle.

*Don’t get overwhelmed
People are constantly joining and leaving these sites, so search results are always changing.  Checking your online dating site can get a little overwhelming at times, especially if you have multiple message conversations going on at once.  You can also really lose track of time scrolling through search results and investigating user profiles.  Make sure to not let this endeavor interfere with your schoolwork.

*Get discouraged
Online dating can be exhausting.  If you haven’t found any good potentials, or if your inbox has been running empty, try not to get discouraged.  Take a little break from it if you feel you need to recharge.  These things can take time, and if you stick with it, you never know who you might eventually find!