1. Don’t lie or exaggerate. At best you’ll be entering into a relationship on false pretenses. At worst, you may one day meet offline and face potential embarrassment over fictional tales and grandiose descriptions. Be yourself. All the better to find someone to love you for exactly who you are. Who has the energy to keep up with anything but the truth?
2. Do look around. If you aren’t finding a good match on a particular site or in a certain room, move on to another. Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to the first person you encounter or the first member of the opposite sex to show interest.
3. Don’t discount someone merely because they break a few of the rules everyone seems to have today, advice on what to say and how to say it. If he uses cliched pick up lines, maybe he gets flustered finding the right words or has a certain flair for the retro. Maybe her screen name makes you think she loves cats a little too much and that photo may not be the most flattering picture you’ve ever seen, but she might turn out to be the most kind, generous person you’ve ever met. People who retain their individuality are always more interesting and worth knowing.
4. Do keep your personal information private. Unless you’re willing to hire a private investigator for every potential someone you meet, you really have few ways to verify who you’re talking to over the Internet. Don’t advertise your full name, exact address, phone number, or work place. A good thief can use them to steal your identity. A jealous rival or jilted lover may use them to harass you. And that creepy guy who is a little too intimate too fast? You don’t want him showing up at your door some night. Keep your location to a region or state. Stick to your screen name. Chat over Skype.
5. Do take your time. If it’s true love, your ardor won’t cool because you took a few weeks or months to meet in RL. Get to know one another. Enjoy this phase of your relationship. If you can’t sustain the magic, maybe it was a passing thing. All too soon reality will see to it that you have to face the same stale old arguments over the toilet seat, the peanut butter… Sustain the intriguing air of mystery while you can.
6. If you visit a chat channel, don’t be that guy. You know him: the one who offers to show every person with a feminine nickname his full frontal. The one who demands photos, insists you get on cam, or starts perverse chats before saying hello. If you exhibit behavior like this, you’re sure to send every decent person fleeing the area.
7. Do be aware of scammers. There are con men and women who troll the Internet looking to exploit lonely people through various schemes. Just like in a budding real life relationship, red flags should be flying like crazy if your potential love interest starts telling stories of woe, asking for money, or seems too good to be true. The prince of a foreign land, a down on her luck former model- maybe they are who they describe. Maybe. Let caution be your watchword.
8. Don’t be afraid to Google the subject of your infatuation. You’d research the company where you want to work, right? Letting the details about your crush come out over time is part of the game of love, but occasionally there is more to the story. It never hurts to at least give the impression that you know more than they think you know about their history. It may make her more likely to expose an ugly, highly important, side of her life. It may make him think twice about letting that felony conviction slip his mind when telling hard truths.
9. Don’t harass a person once you have their IM, email address, etc. Most of us have other obligations in life and just because you sent that text two hours ago and she has been online in the meantime, that doesn’t mean she’s avoiding you. She may be busy. Muster some faith, have patience, show some respect.
10. If he doesn’t call, doesn’t show up to chat right on time, don’t act as if the world is ending. Find something you enjoy to occupy yourself. What’s better? To have him turn up ten minutes late to find you fuming or to have him come rushing into the chat room to find you engaged in a lively discussion with fellow channel members, maybe even a rival? I’m not advising you flirt or try to make your love interest jealous, only that you be a self-sufficient, independent person who is capable of handling a bump in the road and entertaining herself for a few minutes. If someone else happens to be showing a little interest in your fantastic personality? All the better.
Do feel confident and don’t let someone else’s stray comment or lack of decorum get you down. There really is someone for everyone out there. Half the fun is finding your match!
Photo by tbplante http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=4062964