Despite what some may think, I think online dating can be a safe, healthy, and fun way to meet your future someone. While I’m sure you’d find a lot of articles out there on how to navigate this process, here are a few things I learned.
1. Be safe. Do not give out personal details like your last name, places you live or work, etc. until you have met the individual in person (in a PUBLIC, safe place) and spent a good amount of time together. This goes for Facebook friending too.
2. Do not give out your phone number too early. Just a few weeks ago, I started getting text messages from a guy I met online, one I hadn’t messaged since over two years ago!!! After I blocked his number, it made me ask myself, why in the world did I gave HIM my phone number??? He and I only chatted on the site briefly, nothing of substance, and the main reason I began chatting with him was that he was cute (insert hands-over-eyes emoji). And when we had started texting (over two years ago), he asked for “pics.”
3. Pics. When a guy asks for more “pics,” that is a red flag. I stopped messaging above guy after this question.
4. Pet names. When a guy you’ve never messaged or barely messaged before calls you pet names like “sweetie,” “princess,” “beautiful,” “baby,” “baby doll,” etc., read: CODE RED. PLAYER ALERT. PLAYER ALERT. It’s easy to get flattered with all the virtual attention and to feel like you’re on The Bachelorette, but remember the goal here: to find a partner who respects and honors you; who shares your faith, core values, etc. You are a princess—a daughter of THE King.
5. Guard your heart, and take your time. It’s hard to accept that the guy you are developing an interest in is talking to other girls. But remember, if you take things slow, you are building a friendship and perhaps a future relationship on a solid foundation. With online dating, there is time and expectation to ask the important questions and truly get to know one another. Still—
6. Try to meet earlier rather than later. If after a few conversations you sense this is someone worthy of meeting, make a plan to meet in a public place. This goes for a couple reasons—1) if you meet and there’s no connection, you’re aren’t wasting more time, and 2) this is online dating, so yes, there are other people. It’s much better to meet earlier rather than later when your heart is more invested.
7. Do your best to honor each person you are corresponding with. Pray through the process. While I tried not to initiate conversations with new men when I was exploring a potential relationship with one, I still had it happen when I’d be chatting with someone, find a potential connection in the real flesh-and-blood or at least the phone world, and go dark online.
It’s easy to forget that there are real hearts behind the computer screen.
While dating, we need to keep the men in prayer as well, especially that of our future husband. We want to honor the men God allows in our path, and we also want to honor the man who will be standing there at the end: our husband.
One day I noticed a guy I had been chatting with had taken down his picture, and I messaged him to ask him why he did so. He responded that he was exploring things with one particular girl. This was his way of taking himself off the market to focus on each relationship that had potential, one at a time. I respected his honesty, and so when he came back when things didn’t work out with her, I continued to talk with him. He wasn’t playing with my heart but was upfront and honest the whole time. So refreshing.
8. If you believe a relationship is developing, have an exclusive talk. Can you both agree to take down your profiles so you can focus on seeing where your relationship is going? To let others you are chatting with know this as well?9. Don’t mix business and dating. Wait, what do I mean about that? Well, it’s crazy, but a number of guys found out I was a writer and an editor and pitched me writing work. Like legit job opportunities. And with one guy who charmed the socks out of me on our first date, I actually started working on a project with him. When he bowed out of dating me for “don’t have time” reasons but started dating a pretty redhead a few weeks later, I was left sad and jilted but still had to help him finish his project. It was NOT FUN and NOT WORTH the pay. Just don’t do it!!!
10. Online dating is a great way to learn about yourself and others. As someone who has a history of jumping into relationships too early and staying too long, being able to pre-read information about a person and then have discussions taught me more about what I was looking for as well as some things I did not like or could not handle. It taught me to be more forthright with people but also that my words and actions had power, as I learned that just because I had never officially “met” someone, feelings could develop quickly for some behind the screen, and I needed to be thoughtful and prayerful with each person.
While the guy I ultimately am building a relationship with was not from a Christian dating site, I have seen successful unions from people who’ve met online.
I think online dating gets a bad rap when it can actually be a safe, thoughtful, and intentional place to build a real relationship as long as each party is prayerful, intentional, honest, and willing to let go or commit when the time is right.
Do you have any online dating tips or success stories? Share in the comments!
Have a wonderful week!!!