..Steve Seepersaud..

Looking For Love Online

When I attended The New Sun fundraiser in New York, I had the chance to meet a lot of interesting people. Each one of them asked how I was connected to the publication. I told them that I write technology columns. Many times, the conversations would then focus on technology, then work their way to the Internet and dating. Most of the people I spoke to were down on the idea of looking for love online. To some degree, I agree with them. The Internet can help people get together, however, anyone looking for prospective dating partners online should proceed very carefully.

Be A Skeptic
This may strike you as too obvious to mention, but you'd be surprised how many people get burned by believing everything they read. Just as in relationships where you initially meet face-to-face, not everyone is going to tell the truth. If someone's personal ad seems too good to be true, it probably is. I'm not telling you to give a prospective mate the third degree over the phone or in person. But a healthy skepticism can be a big help.

Don't Take It Too Seriously
Rejection in any venue is painful. That's especially true when it comes to romance. If you're going to search for dates online, it helps to have a thick skin.

If you respond to personal ads, be aware that everyone is not going to write back. Some women, especially if their ads have attractive-looking pictures, will receive literally dozens of e-mail messages. They don't have time to write back to every single one; they'll just pick a select few and respond. If you don't "make the cut," try not to take it too personally. There could be any number of reasons you didn't get a reply. And, of course, you'll never know why exactly.

Some people will correspond with you for a while, then seem to vanish from the face of the earth. Why? Who knows? Perhaps they clicked better with someone else, and they didn't have the guts or courtesy to tell you. Maybe your "pen pal" is really attached to someone else, and he or she was writing to you to help deal with boredom.

Be Safe
Just as in more conventional types of dating relationships, don't be quick to give out too much sensitive information about yourself. This could be anything from your home address to financial information to anything else that someone could use to make trouble for you.

Meeting your online buddy in person for the first time can be exciting. Don't let the excitement cloud your good judgment. The initial meeting should be in a public place, like a mall or restaurant. Make sure you have your own mode of transportation. It's not the best idea to have your date pick you up at home and do all the driving.

Have Other Strategies
Don't use the Internet as your only method of meeting people. That can lead to a lonely existence. Spending all your time at the same computer desk is pretty boring. Don't hesitate to join activities in your community. If you like taking pictures, join a photography club. If your religious faith means a lot to you, join a group at your church. You could meet prospective dating partners, or people who can introduce you to them. Also, be open to the idea of having a friend fix you up with someone. That may not sound appealing, but you never know who you'll meet. In any case, be open to the idea of making some nice, new friends. If something more comes out of it, great!

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© 2003 Steve Seepersaud. Reprinted with permission.

Links to previous "Tech Talk" columns:
Internet Help for Fishing
Too Dependent on Technology?