I think it’s safe to say online dating is officially a thing. According to Match.com, about 40% of all singles in America are on sites like Match, eHarmony, OkCupid, and HowAboutWe, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences announced last year that about 1/3 of married people met online. A THIRD. That’s a pretty decent dating pool.
If you have yet to try out online dating yourself, I highly recommend it. Sure, I didn’t find my current beau online — he fell into my clutches at work — but honestly, that was probably the biggest fluke of my life. I on-and-off online dated for about 3 1/2 years before pseudo-settling down, and while it wasn’t always the best of times, I met some nice people and got a few good stories out of it. (Seriously, there are entire blogs dedicated to people’s ridiculous dating adventures.)
Still on the fence? I get it, it’s scary. You probably have a lot of questions (some of which you might have even if you’re an old hat at online dating). No worries — read on for the answers to some frequent e-dating questions.
1. How Much Should I Lie on My Profile?
How about NOT AT ALL? Just kidding, we both know you’re almost for sure going to fudge the truth, even if it’s just a tiny white lie. Pretty much everyone lies at least a little bit on their online dating profiles, but there are a few things you should be truthful about, such as physical characteristics, because really, what happens when you go on a date with someone? “Well I meant I’m 6′ in my work boots” doesn’t really cut it.
2. What Do I Do If I See Someone I Know or Someone I Know Sees Me?
I don’t know about sites like Match or eHarmony, but on OkCupid, people can see if you’ve looked at your profile. (Unless you make your profile anonymous, but then you can’t see who’s looked at it, and where’s the self-torturous fun in that?) So, what do you do if you accidentally click on an old schoolmate or co-worker or — gasp — actual friend’s profile and you’re suddenly overtaken by a wave of awkwardness? If you’re normal, you’ll just go about your business and pretend it never happened. If you’re like me, you’ll send them a message saying “BUSTED MOTHERF*CKER.”
3. At What Point Can I End Contact With No Explanation?
Generally, if someone messages you and you’re not interested, you can just ignore it. It may seem rude, but honestly, if you reply to every message you get, you’re going to be spending a lot of time writing “I’m sorry, but…” messages. Plus, how do you even respond to “hey gurl i like dat fat ass”? It’s an unwritten rule of online dating that you’re allowed to trash initial messages.
However, as soon as you make contact by phone, email, or — again, gasp — in person, you should really let them know if you’re not interested. (Exceptions, of course, include people who suddenly reveal a desire to have you throw on a pair of heels and stomp on their testicles. It might be sad to imagine them sitting at their computer saying “Why does this always happen to me?” to no one, but it’s just the way it has to be.)
All in all, treat others the way you’d want to be treated, and try not to take things too personally. You will send forever unanswered messages, but you’ll also send answered messages! Maybe you’ll even fall in love! It’ll be great.