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Why you can't get an online date

Find common ground, plan an outing together -- and filter out hesitant women.

By Mens Health Magazine Sep 10, 2013 3:20PM

How can you prove you're trustworthy and encourage women you meet online to, you know, actually meet?By Laura Tedesco

Blind date bail at the last minute? Women are still more nervous to go out with an online love interest than with a prospect they've met in person, a new Roosevelt University study reveals.

More from MSN Living: Top 25 date-night ideas of all time

One factor behind the fear: inexperience. The study found that online-dating virgins tended to be the most hesitant about moving their love life offline. "They think men are going to be super-desperate, or that there is something wrong with their social skills," says study author Jill Coleman, Ph.D. "But once people have had personal experience with it, the stigma starts to go away."

There's also the creep concern. "A lot of this has to do with myths about violence -- one of which is that people we don't know are a huge threat," Coleman explains. "In reality, the people we know -- acquaintances or those we're in relationships with -- are the ones more likely to physically harm us."

(Need more advice? Follow these 10 Commandments of Online Dating.)

1. Weed out wusses. Filter out hesitant women before you hit send. Scan prospects' profiles for statements like "My friends convinced me to join" or "I never thought I'd try this" -- signs they're not too enthused about digital dating. If a woman is uncomfortable posting a profile, she's likely to be even more uncomfortable meeting for a drink, says Coleman.

2. Shift venues. Truth: No one wants to admit they're checking their OkCupid inbox. So quickly move your conversation to email or Gchat, and some of the online-dating stigma may instantly evaporate. Plus, "she doesn't have to reveal her full name or where she lives yet," says Coleman. "She still has some control over what she's disclosing." After a few days of back-and-forth, ask for her number -- and whether she'd prefer you to call or text.
(You're more likely to connect with her in this kind of room. Click here to find The Perfect First-Date Location.)

3. Find common ground. Search for social similarities: Maybe you go to the same gym. Or perhaps you're from the same town. Any offline connection you find will help cement her sense of safety, says Coleman.

Bing: More first-date ideas

4. Plan the date together. Ready for a real-world encounter? Offer to meet in her neighborhood, research and suggest a few local date spots, then ask if she has any alternative ideas. "If there is a place she knows and likes, that might enhance her feeling of comfort and security," says Coleman. One final hurdle: getting her there. If she backs out beforehand, simply say, "I'm sorry you can't make it. Let me know if and when you'd like to reschedule!" Then wait for her to reach out.

(Find out what women want to happen on a first date.)

More from Men's Health
The Best Way to Meet Women
How to Land the Girl of Your Dreams
How Nice Guys Can Impress Women 

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Photo: Daly and Newton/Getty Images

45Comments
Sep 29, 2013 10:35PM
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Punctuation and properly spelled words are always a plus.
Sep 13, 2013 11:51PM
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Online dating 101:

1) Be honest with your profile. Don't post pictures taken 10 years and 50lbs ago.

2) Take the time to 'chat' online to get to know a bit about the person before you agree to meet. For one thing, you may be able to weed out the crazies (yes, there are some - both male and female!) and you'll get an idea of if you have enough in common to want to set up a meeting.

3) First meeting is still in a public place, and best during the day. You can always schedule a second date then if you feel comfortable, or just politely thank them for the afternoon if it doesn't work out. They will probably be just as anxious as you to gracefully leave if it's not working.

4) Don't get discouraged if the first few - or many - don't click. Keep trying. I met my wife online, and we're coming up on our tenth anniversary, so it can work!

Sep 13, 2013 10:00PM
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Tip for the guys: Don't reschedule with any b*tch who no shows or cancels on you. She'll just do it again. Once a flake, always a flake.
Sep 13, 2013 9:52PM
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I never give out my email or phone number immediately...and if it is demanded, I cut off all contact because he is either desperate or married and looking for a quick hook up.  Any decent man will take his time and chat some...all others are not decent and therefore not worth my time. 
Sep 13, 2013 3:51PM
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I enjoyed the time spent on online dating sites. It was not hard to decide whether or not to continue the dialogue. There are more serious and truthful women out there than not. One can't blame them for being very cautious. There are some really dangerous people trolling the matchmaker sites. This article is commendable.
Sep 13, 2013 1:48PM
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Had an on- line date once.

 

So what's a "Tranny", anyway?!?

Sep 13, 2013 11:50AM
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Can't really see the point in online dating when there's so much great online porn!
Sep 11, 2013 9:04PM
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I met my husband online and I couldn't be happier!  Ladies, give online dating a chance.  I started out doing online dating after being encouraged by a friend who did online dating pretty regularly.  I made a point of never letting on (or even hinting!) that I was an ER doctor  (I didn't want any gold diggers!).  I'll admit it, I was very hesitant at first.  I never let them pick me up at my house (because if I didn't like them, I didn't want them to know where I lived!).  I would make a point of meeting them out at some well-populated place for "A" drink.  That way if it wasn't working out, we weren't stuck together for a whole evening (meal, movie, whatever). 

After meeting some good ones (and some totally bad ones! ugh!) I was able to pretty quickly weed out the ones that weren't going to be a good long term "fit" and found the ABSOLUTE LOVE OF MY LIFE!  :)  We both pretty much knew right away that we were "the ones" for each other.  It wasn't long after that we got engaged and then got married in a small ceremony on a beach in St Thomas.  (We would have eloped since it was second marriages for both of us, but our families wouldn't hear of it!)  We'll be together now forever! 

My biggest piece of advice: Just make sure that you don't share anything personal until you're SURE that you can trust this person that you've only met online.

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