Why you can't get an online date
Find common ground, plan an outing together -- and filter out hesitant women.
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.
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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.
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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.
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Photo: Daly and Newton/Getty Images
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!
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.