Nowadays in our fast-paced digital society, it’s rare to have someone in your life that you didn’t encounter in an online format. It’s still possible to meet people on college campuses, but with the addition of online degrees & classes (I’m finishing mine online with University of Colorado,) you’re bound to realize that some of the most important aspects of your life are online. All that time you spend mingling with people & friends of friends on Facebook, could be put into work and used on sites that are geared towards dating.
We’ve all had those moments where we’ve truly liked someone in one of our classes, and then we finally somehow by chance (or courage) had a conversation with them. During that exchange of words, you realized that this person doesn’t intrigue you at all. So you immediately just relay them into the friend category, but then you’re still left feeling alone. Well fret not, in situations like these online dating comes to save the day!
Online dating may seem like something for the older folks (we’ve all seen the Match.com commercials,) but in actuality, online dating is great for the busy college student. You may not have the time to run around campus and catch someone’s attention, but online dating gives you the chance to sit down, reflect on what you’re looking for, and put up a profile that is true to yourself (please avoid lying in order to impress people, you’re bound to eventually get caught in a lie.) Online dating not only gives you the chance to see what’s out there, but it also is an opportunity for you learn new things about yourself.
As a college student & a busy freelance writer, I’ve done my fair share of online dating. I’ve had the good, the bad, and everything in between. In the midst of all my journeys through online dating, I’ve learned a few tips that well help guide any college student through the maze of websites. The tips I’ve learned have helped me have a fun, yet safe dating life. It’s always important to have an open mind, but you’ve also got to remember to be safe; people often assume that college students are gullible, so watch out for the con artists & serial daters…
5 Essential Online Dating Tips
A few things I’ve learned along the way.
- Find the site that is “right” for you.
Every website out there is geared towards a different audience, so be sure to find the site that works best for you. As a college student, I’ve come to the realization that you don’t necessarily have to pay for an online dating site. I did do a Match.com trial for three days, and then one month, but then I cancelled my account. That site isn’t the best for a college student seeking something casual with potential for long-term. The Sites I recommend for meeting new people are: Okcupid.com, HowAboutWe.com, Facebook, and Meetup.com. Meetup.com is perhaps the best of both worlds when it comes to dating and socializing. It’s a great way to meet new people and partake in new activities that suit your interest.
- Don’t Entertain Every Message.
So you’ve set up your profile, put up some attractive pictures (keyword attractive, not slutty, cheesy, or ab shots,) and now the messages are rolling in. It’s flattering at first, but just remember that you don’t have to write everyone back. If you checked out someone’s profile and they just don’t interest you, then don’t bother trying to persuade yourself that their hotness overrides the lack of an interesting personality. It’s just a precaution to save yourself time, as well as avoiding the guys/girl who send generic messages to everyone without actually taking the time to read your profile and write a genuine message.
- Always Let Someone Know the Who, What, When, and Where.
Once you’ve met someone online and have messaged back & forth, you’ve probably elevated to the next step of communication, a phone call. After talking on the phone and getting acquainted (usually I talk on the phone for a good week,) then you might schedule a date. Whatever the date idea is, be sure to let someone close to you know who, what, when, and where the date is taking place.
Make sure someone knows where you are at. When I’m on a date, I always shoot my mom a text every 2-3 hours and let her know if we left the restaurant and are going to a movie. It’s good to let someone know where you are.
- Don’t Have Crazy Expectations of Love at First Sight.
It’s college. You might meet someone online and have instant attraction in person, or you might end up mingling and becoming the best of friends ever. You honestly can never know what to expect, so don’t be high-strung with crazy expectations of a white picket fence, 2 car garage, and a dog. You’re still on a journey of finding yourself, so use these dates & people you encounter to learn new things about yourself, as well as making new connections along the well. That person may not be right for you relationship wise, but they may be a great friend. And remember, friends always have single friends….so don’t call it quits yet!
- Be Yourself.
Honestly, that’s the most important advice I can give. You should always be yourself and don’t be afraid to show off your personality, even your “flaws.” Nobody is expecting you to have it all together. You’re in college, the years of discovery. So don’t try to be someone you’re not. Also, be sure to at least research your date or be Facebook friends. From my personal experience (guys who were married, had kids, girlfriends, etc) it’s best to see what’s going on. I always found out the truth when they slipped and somehow I found their Facebook or they added me. LOL….a hot mess! So please remember to be honest, be upfront, and be yourself. Don’t hide your life, because the truth of who you are will always come to light.