5 Things You Should Know Before You Start Online Dating: Guest Post

Navigating the Online Dating jungle is an acquired skill. If you’re single and dating, then you know what it’s like to weed through online dating profiles. Here are some tips to help you start off in the right direction so that your journey on the road to find your happily ever after is a positive one!

5 Things You Should Know Before You Start Online Dating

before-you-start-online-dating1. Your Online Persona Matters

If you’re looking for something serious then you may want to pay attention to a few very important online profile guidelines.

Let’s start by talking about photos. Shirtless photos or revealing clothes aren’t a good way to attract a quality partner, especially if you’re looking for something serious. Your photos should represent who you really are as a person. I always say include a full body photo, activity, at least one where you’re more casual; and one where you’re dressed up. They say a picture is worth a “thousand “words, well if you ask me, online, a picture is worth a “million”. Choose photos that really give a sense of what you look like, who you are, and what you are about.

Secondly, you want to be absolutely honest about what kind of relationship you’re looking for on your profile. If you want a casual relationship, write that. If you want something more serious, then definitely write that. Think of it this way, in order for people to know what you want, guess what? You have to tell them! It also helps as a screening tool to get some of those “players” out of the way.

2. Traditional Dating Rules Don’t Fly For Online Dating

I hear most females say, “I’m scared to write someone first, aren’t they supposed to write me?” This could not be farther from the truth. The online dating paradigm doesn’t necessarily need to conform to the conventional dating rule – that the man asks out the woman. By searching for and contacting men yourself, you are implementing the search tool in order to help you find people whom you have things in common with, and/or find attractive. That’s all it is… That means you should write to people you find interesting, and if it seems right, try to set up a meeting.

3. Manage Your Expectations

In traditional dating circles, a person meets prospective mate in person, then arranges for a date. Chemistry is checked off and once that date it set, the opportunity of seeing them often leads to a feeling of excitement and the proverbial “butterflies”.

However when it comes to online dating, you’ve only met the online persona. Maybe you’ve had the chance to chat online or talk / text on the phone a few times. Even though it may feel like you really know the person, trust me you don’t! Your prospective online date might be totally different than your inflated expectations and leave you feeling totally deflated in person. That’s why it’s so important to slow things down, manage your expectations and not get too excited until you after you meet someone in person.

4. Make the First Meeting Casual (not a date)

I know the word “date” does exist in online “dating”, but as noted above – in this first meeting this is not necessarily the case. The reason is simple. Online chats and phone calls are good ways to learn about people for sure, but there is no substitute for human-to-human interaction. This is also the time to weed out the liars, the over-sellers, those who only give good phone, and those who you just don’t have any personal connection with. The important takeaway from this initial meeting is to come in with the proper expectations. What I recommend is to keep it as casual as possible – consider meeting at a coffee shop or a local bar (but limit the drinks to two). That way there is no serious pressure or any expectations like in the more formal dinner date.

5. Come Prepared

Dating can be really fun if you enter into each date with the intention of not just finding a mate, but also as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you are looking for in a mate. With that even if the date doesn’t work out, you can at least garner some kind of takeaway from it. So before you go on each date, have a couple questions prepared for the person you meet that you can pepper into the date to see if they are a good fit for you. For example, if being close to family is VERY important to you, you might ask, “Do you have any siblings, and if so how close are you with them? Or “How often do you see your family?” Questions like this can be very telling into a person’s character and background.

What’s next???

If you put yourself into the online dating world and implement the information from these 5 tips, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Remember, online dating is a skill, and like most things in life, it can be learned! So give yourself some time to learn this new skill and eventually the training wheels will come off and it will be a smooth ride for you!

READERS: What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Amie Leadingham – Amie the Dating Coach. You can find Amie on her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.



  1. Great things that are essential to know. For me I always did a meet and greet before a long date because if there is no chemistry or they are liars this screens them out. Also so important to realize clicking online doesn’t mean offline as well. I’ve met a few where online we got along so well then offline we didn’t. I’m glad I didn’t invest a lot in these guys before meeting them.


      • It took me awhile but I figured it out. Oddly last go around met less guys but not as many weirdos. In fact all were nice just not for me. I was very careful last time to meet them in a public area and remember even if we spoke months we were still strangers.


  2. I found my partner on a dating site a year and a half ago, you just need to be honest about who you are and what you’re looking for in a partner, the best advantage about online dating is you can always take your time to really get to know that person before going on your first date. Online dating is great and I would recommend it to anyone how is serious about finding true love.


  3. Hi Amei,

    Good tips here. This one, “I’m scared to write someone first, aren’t they supposed to write me?”, really does have to go though. As you said, it is different online. And the world has changed

    Another suggestion I would make is definitely Skype or Facetime at least twice beforehand. If you can’t hold a conversation together over a couple of Skype sessions for at least 30 minutes then why is it going to be different when you meet in person? This can save everyone a lot of time and discomfort. Unless of course you’re not looking for a talker :p


    • Keith… I totally agree with you. Actually, I mentioned what you said to someone recently. Technology has changed and made it so much easier for everyone to facetime and Skype to see if chemistry exist before having to even meet! Thanks for the tip!


  4. I would say don’t be in a rush to give out too much personal information, especially your phone number. There are several apps now to be able to chat to someone offline without giving your number until you feel comfortable with them. And I’ve always followed my intuition. If something feels a bit off, or doesn’t sound right, it usually isn’t.


  5. I meet my x on line after being on my own for more then 12 years I was very much looking forward to starting out a new life with her but little did I know she had a x boy friend in the back ground , at the time I was working at my job I had for more then 42 years
    My story is I was robed of my penshion money
    After I has spent all of it in her home over 50’000 pounds
    Now I am left homeless


    • That is horrible. I’ve been stung financially by a man myself, though I didn’t meet him online so I know how you feel.


  6. The most important is that first meeting should not be a serious date. Just meeting.. the most important… I know what I say…. 😡


    • Exactly. When I was meeting men I looked at it as meeting someone and not meeting my future husband. Therefore if it doesn’t work out you don’t feel bad.


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