I recently saw Will Smith's film, Hitch. It occurred to me that my "extensive" experience with online dating in my thirties makes me well suited for providing others with good advice for pursuing the 'Personals' route nowadays. So last night I decided to post the following on the world's bulletin board, Craigslist. The response was generally extremely positive. In fact, several people suggested I expand this into a book! Here's what I wrote...
Having done the Personals thing quite a bit in years past, I've come up with a set of "rules" that are beneficial for both men and women. These rules are for people that are looking for a long term relationship, not a quick lay. I always pass them on to my single friends who are thinking about meeting someone through a Personal ad.
I've found that if they are strictly followed then it minimizes the chance of either person getting hurt. Here they are:
- Do not move forward unless the other person supplies a recent photo after the first few e-mails.
- Make sure the first telephone call is no more than 1 week after first contact via e-mail.
- During the phone call(s) make sure you talk about at least one serious topic. For you ain't going to find true sympatico if you're only talking about fluff.
- Ensure that the first meeting in person is no more than 1 week after that.
- The first date should be no more than coffee or coffee and a short walk.
- Do not make any plans there & then about a 2nd date. Just say, "It was nice/great/wonderful to meet you." Then walk away and decide if you want to pursue something further. If the other person asks you for a second date there & then, tell them to call you if you're at all interested or to write you if you're really not.
- Don't tell someone you want to be just friends if you're not at all interested in them.
- If you do like the person, then wait a day before calling. Though there's no harm in sending a SHORT e-mail immediately afterwards. And call me a sexist, but even in this new millenium I still think it's the guy's responsibility to call the woman if he wants to pursue things further.
These rules came about as a result of much disappointment and wasted time & energy. I don't know about you, but I've always known within the first 10 minutes whether I could envision a relationship evolving with the other person. And though, for me, the mutual physical attraction has to be there, there's so much more to moving forward than just that. I clearly remember going on two dates - one in Toronto and one in Victoria - with aesthetically beautiful women. But once they started talking, it was immediately apparent how ugly they were inside.
I know several couples who have met online and truly did meet their soulmate. If you are considering this route then hopefully these "rules" will help you. Yes, there are some exceptions but it mostly comes down to knowing yourself well enough to understand what YOU really want. In the final analysis the rules are effective for this reason: Though politeness and tactfulness will never go out of style, leading someone on with false hopes & promises is just cruel in the long term.
May life & love rise up to meet you!
Think of me as the Canadian 'Hitch', albeit for both men & women!