I know I’m not the only one who has had a lot of bad online dating experiences. There are those guys and girls that can make you feel uncomfortable for many different reasons. For that reason, I’m actually a fan of the “can’t chat unless you match” feature and the ability to “unmatch” on a lot of dating apps. Maybe things would have been different if online dating came with a code of etiquette: like Emily Post for modern dating. So here’s my attempt at a start for that trend and the best pieces of advice for online dating etiquette.
1. Don’t say or do anything you wouldn’t say or do in front of your mother.
For most of us, this covers a broad range and is a pretty basic rule. Most people aren’t impressed by photos of faceless anatomy, even after they’ve matched with you. Whether or not you’re interested in dating or just casual sex, this is a good rule to follow. If it’s just about sex: leave some mystery for the date night. If it’s not, you’ll keep the other person’s attention longer if you can hold a conversation about something other than sex or physical appearance. Honestly, the stereotype would be that this message applies more to men than women, but it’s just as good advice for women as it is for men. It’s important to follow this online dating etiquette tip.
2. Live and Let Live
I’m not condoning anything that causes harm to others here, I’m just saying: don’t yuck somebody else’s yum. That is, just because you don’t agree with someone else’s lifestyle choices, doesn’t mean you have any right to judge them. If their lifestyle choices make you not want to spend time with that person, then that’s your choice, but just say so. Don’t waste anybody’s time with trying to change them, it’ll just make everyone involved feel worse in the end.
3. Read the Bio
Although this may seem insignificant, especially on some dating sites like Tinder, it’s actually very important. For instance, it can give clues to the other person’s state of mind about dating, whether you might get along, or if you share common interests. Sometimes the bio may also tell you whether the person responds better to being messaged first or would rather send you the first message, so you can get off on the right foot. This section could also change your mind about matching with a person or not due to their sense of humor.
4. Don’t ask a lot of questions at once.
Sometimes, in the effort to start or maintain a conversation, we will send a series of questions all at once to the person we’re chatting with. This can be off-putting, because it’s overwhelming and may make you appear desperate. This follows along the similar “double-texting” rule for when you are first dating someone. Take it slow, ask one thing at a time and wait for an answer: you’ll get better results in the end.
5. Don’t Assume. You know what it does.
This includes: supposing, figuring, presuming, and many more variations on the same concept. You don’t know what the other person wants or is thinking, nor how long ago they made their profile. If you want to know something, ask. If you assume, such as taking for true the stereotype that all men just want one thing, you are liable and even likely to end up offending someone. Avoid this as much as possible.