Do's and Dont's of Online Dating

Dr. John Moore, Ph.D. Author, Educator and Counselor
March 19, 2009 8:06:03 AM PDT
Apparently there are new e-rules when it comes to dating etiquette. So we're turning to an expert. Dr. John Moore is a tech-savvy psychotherapist. He teaches an online university course on relationships that his students call Love 101.

Is it okay to ask for a first date via text message? Is it okay to break up with someone over email or text?

As a general rule of thumb - no. People generally like to be asked out on a date the old fashioned way, either in person or in some cases on the phone. Text messaging someone for a coffee might seem sort of cool but it can come off as impersonal. As far as breaking up via texting, that is also a no no as there is just too little space in those tiny digital screens to share that kind of potentially devastating news

Breaking up via email is also a not a good idea unless the relationship is extremely new (less than a week or two old).

Can I email or text someone after a first date?

Yes, but it helps to give the person a heads up by asking if it is OK in advance. Otherwise, you may come off as needy or moving too fast.

Are there do's and don'ts for creating an online dating profile?

· DO use a photo that you would be OK showing to a co-worker. (You never know who is looking at your file).

· DO briefly discuss some of your interests and hobbies.

· DO mention the characteristics of the person you want to date (funny, intelligent, witty).

· DON'T wink or poke at people you are interested in (comes off as sort of grade school-ish).

· DON'T create a profile that suggests that a possible mate needs to be in a certain income bracket (comes off as shallow)

· DON'T "diss" former girlfriends or boyfriends in your profile

Everyone seems to be on some kind of social network like Facebook? why do you advise people not to get up in the "relationship status" drama, please explain.

Some of the social networking sites offer a relationship status indicator. Generally, these are used to let others know if they are involved with someone or not. Some people however abuse this feature by constantly changing their status, sending confusing messages to people in their circle. I know that there have been cases where a person has broken up with another simply by changing their status and then letting a former girlfriend or boyfriend "find out" when they sign in and see the change. My own thought is to avoid changes with indicating your dating status as much as possible. As a rule of thumb, if you have been seriously dating someone for more than a month, you can go ahead and change your status away from single. Anything less than a month looks sort of clingy

· Be sure to mention in your profile interest areas and what kinds of dating experiences you find fun.

· Don't say you are interested in something you know nothing about! (For example, sometimes people say they are interested in sports, hoping to attract more mates, when in fact they do not know the difference between a football and a basketball!).

· Avoid over-use of email. If you two people email back and forth their whole life story, what will they talk about on the first date?