Online Dating Etiquette for Womenby Lora Mathews
According to a Match.com survey, 17 percent of U.S. couples married in the last three years met at an online dating site. Galvanized by such results, many women take to the Internet in hope of meeting Mr. Right. Dating online has different rules and manners distinct from those in a bar or restaurant. Adapt your behavior to filter through the men who may not interest you and know which information to share.
One of the primary purposes of etiquette in general is to make others feel comfortable. Consequently, the comfort and, by extension the safety, of yourself and your online potential mate is at the mercy of manners. Just as you would never consider asking a blind date for his Visa number over drinks, do not be crass enough to ask or answer such an inquiry online. These numbers may be for a background check, but more likely for identity theft. It is both rude and hazardous to ask for or give a home or work address to someone you meet online at a dating site. So mind your manners and keep sensitive information to yourself online and never ask for his identifying information.
If you are simply not interested in someone who contacts you, it is acceptable to ignore them online. The silent treatment is fine on the Internet in a way that would be impossibly awkward if someone approached you in person. If you chat online and decide there's no potential for a match, don't contact that person and he will get the message, or lack thereof. Failure to respond to someone's overtures is sufficient rejection--you do not have to be explicit about your lack of interest in a casual online contact.
An advantage to online dating is the ease of ending the relationship. If you are having an online dating relationship and decide that it isn't the match for you, you can e-mail your soon-to-be ex and tell him simply that you enjoyed getting to know him but the relationship isn't a good fit for you. Even if you have gone beyond online chats and e-mails to phone calls and even meeting in person a few times, online dating etiquette allows e-mail break ups. The only exception is a long-term exclusive relationship, particularly one with physical intimacy.
Before you change your relationship status on a social networking site or remove your online dating profile, make sure that the two of you agree to see each other exclusively. If you do not see serious long range potential in the relationship, it is perfectly appropriate to leave your online dating profile open and acknowledge that you want to meet new people.
Mind Your Manners
Online daters take the process seriously and their feelings are involved. Out of respect for their sincere search for a life partner, do not sport with anyone's emotions, lead them on, or mislead them about your intentions. Rudeness is inexcusable in online dating, as is the use of profanity. In the attempt to make a good impression, take care with your grammar and spelling and safe the off-color jokes for a more secure social situation to avoid offending a potential love.
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