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Rules for Internet dating

Neil Rosenthal

Been looking for love in all the wrong places? Have you been having trouble meeting people that interest and attract you romantically?If so, you and (along tens of millions of other people) may decide to try your luck at one of the on-line dating services, even as you catch yourself telling people that you’re just experimenting or doing this on a lark. Internet dating gives you the opportunity of meeting many different people rapidly. But the process can easily overwhelm and disappoint you, because there’s a fair amount of effort, energy and time it requires of you, and you continuously risk being rejected. You’ll learn a lot about yourself through the process of Internet dating: about your stick-to-it-ness, self-confidence, how you handle rejection and disappointment, how flexible you can be regarding your criteria for a mate, what your “must haves” are, how to navigate through your insecurities, fears and social hang-ups, and you will be forced to discern the personality traits, standards, values and looks that attract you the most.Here’s a list of rules for optimizing your success at Internet dating:1. Say more about yourself, not less. You want to offer people enough information on you where they think “Wow! I like spicy foods, tennis, espresso and traveling to out of the way places, also.” The more you describe yourself, your interests, your tastes, experiences and outlook, the more someone has a chance to feel “hooked” by their similarities with you, and therefore be more interested in meeting you. And don’t use expressions that fit almost everyone, such as that you’re looking for someone fun and successful. Who’s looking for a dull, unsuccessful partner?2. Photos. People want to know what you look like before they meet you, and they want you to look similar to your photos. Few things are more deflating than going on a first date with someone who is instantly disappointed because you don’t look as attractive as your picture. Use recent photos, not ones from several years ago when you were thinner or more youthful looking. And at least two photos are required: a close-up head shot that clearly shows your face and a full body shot that reveals your figure or physique. If you don’t have recent photos, hire a professional to photograph you. Don’t use pictures where you have to crop out other people with their arms around you. And the photos should be of you, not of you and your ex, or you and your children, or of your pets, or of your favorite scenes on your recent trip to Italy.3. In describing yourself, don’t lie. Don’t fudge your age, weight, height or body type, and reveal it if you just broken up from a significant relationship two months ago. Tell the truth about yourself. You do not engender trust by being deceptive or misleading or by omitting significant information about yourself. 4. On your first meeting, look good and dress well. You can have the best connection in the world, but if there’s no chemistry, it’s no enchilada. 5. It’s likely to take considerably longer than you had expected to connect with someone who attracts and interests you. Don’t give up easily. You can’t hit a home run unless you’re in the game. 6. When you’re meeting someone new, look first at what you’re attracted to. Way too often, people look for reasons to say “no” rather than “yes,” what they don’t like rather than what they do like. 7. If you aren’t interested in pursuing a relationship, have the courtesy to turn the other person down gracefully. Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Boulder. He can be reached at (303) 758-8777 or e-mail at his Web site http://www.heartrelationships.comVail, Colorado


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