Through my own experience and that of my friends, I have A LOT of advice (mostly what not to do, I admit) when it comes to stepping out in faith in the online dating arena. Online dating can be a blessing a curse.
On the one hand I know plenty of people who have found wonderful, like-minded Christians online and ended up married. On the other hand, I do think there needs to be some etiquette (read: Christ-like courtesy) when it comes to dating online. Yeah, you’re hiding behind a computer but that shouldn’t give you the license to ask some impertinent questions that you wouldn’t ask someone face to face. Or just behave badly in general.
So, I’m hoping to make online dating a little less of a curse for my Christian singleton friends:
Girls and Guys: If you have no intention of putting in the effort to get to know people, just close your account. Don’t waste anyone’s time. And if someone who aren’t interested in sends you a message, it’s kinder just to decline the match than to respond with an explanation.
Girls and Guys: Take things slowly. Leave a couple of days between responses so you can pray and think about what was said and how you’ll respond. If someone wants to rush, he/she is probably not a good match, anyway. If you’re truly interested in each other, a couple of days shouldn’t make a difference. But if they do, you’ll know it’s not meant to happen.
Guys: DO NOT under any circumstances mention sex (or even the lack thereof) to a young lady online. Not even that eHarmony question “How do you feel about premarital sex?” (or something like that) It’s not polite for starters and from past experience both of myself and my friends: things aren’t going to go well if that’s the type of questions or comments you lead with. I promise. Be a gentleman and ask her something else. If you end up getting serious, that’s when this conversation is appropriate. Not when you’re still in the “getting to know you” phase.
Girls: If he does mention sex (even the desire to wait for marriage), don’t waste your time. (See the above… it’s just not an appropriate conversation for two strangers.) Just move on to another guy. It will save you a lot of problems. I promise!
Girls and Guys: Two date minimum. Even though you’ve been talking online and on the phone, just about everyone will be nervous the first time you meet in person. This probably means they won’t exactly be acting like themselves, either. (You probably won’t, either!) Give a second chance to make sure you’re meeting his/her real personality. If after the second date things don’t seem so great, though, just shut it down. You shouldn’t lead people on but you do owe it to yourself to be well-informed.
What advice would you give to people dating online?