Internet dating is on the rise with well over 1,000 dating sites available online. Confusions about Internet dating etiquette have arisen, since this form of dating has gained in popularity. There are some definite Internet dating etiquette guidelines, which can help one navigate this new experience of trying to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.
Most importantly, one should be concerned with personal safety. Be certain to date a person several times online prior to exchanging information like phone numbers or before setting up a plan to meet. When one does set up a meeting plan, arrange to meet the person in a public place, preferably in broad daylight. If there is anything about the prospective date that makes you uncomfortable, don't hesitate to cancel or rearrange.
Just as in face-to-face dating, honesty is important. Internet dating etiquette suggests being truthful about what one looks like, actual interests, and actual age. Don’t post a picture that is twenty years old, where you are fifty pounds lighter. As well, don’t express interest in things that really are not interesting. For example, if one meets a hang-glider enthusiast but one is afraid of heights, don’t fake an interest in an activity in which one would never take part.
While Internet dating etiquette suggests being honest, one may be too honest. The first few Internet dates with a person should focus on getting to know the person. These are not the times to start rabid political diatribes, or campaign for the benefits of euthanasia. Keep topics light, but also garner enough information to see if Internet chemistry occurs.
If one has been on several Internet dates with a person and feels there is no chemistry, then send a short note. One should thank the other person for the dates and for his or her time, and express hopes for future success. One can then say that he or she feels the date is not a “match." Internet dating etiquette advises against dwelling on particulars, as these are not required in ending contact with a person.
One is not obligated to reply to a person requesting a date with which one has not had previous contact. Failure to reply should be taken as a definite negative on the possibility of an Internet date. Some people set up a form letter thanking people for their interest and politely declining a date. This is definitely good Internet dating etiquette, and may be applied. However it is not necessary to do this, as most people now recognize they have received a form letter refusal.
It is perfectly acceptable in Internet dating etiquette for either a man or woman to initiate a request for a date. In fact women are encouraged to initiate requests. However, anyone requesting a date should not take a failure to reply as an insult. The person may have many demands on their time, or they may have already found someone on whom to focus their attention. If a person expresses no interest in dating you, move on.
Just as in more traditional dating, Internet dating etiquette requires you to meet commitments. If a face-to-face meeting has been arranged, then it should be honored; Not showing up is very bad form.
Aside from a picture, your date has to judge you by the words he or she uses. Use spell-check if needed, although the occasional typo is acceptable. Also, as with meeting any new person, Internet dating etiquette suggests talking on subjects likely to interest one’s date. Read profiles of dates carefully, so one can say things like, “I saw on your profile you like to travel. What has been your best travel experience?” or “Do you travel outside the US or do you have particular states you like to visit?”
Not all Internet dates are successful. This is, however, no reason to use profanity in a date. Keep things light and polite. If a date is going very badly, or if the person one is dating is profane, making unwelcome suggestions for Internet sex, or is simply insulting, one can cut short a date. One can also cut off contact with a person who is deliberately rude without explanation. Internet dating etiquette certainly allows for one to “leave the room” essentially in the middle of a date if the person one is dating is harassing one. However, if the person one is dating is simply boring, then one should stay to the end of the date.