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Connect
by Kim Lance, associate publisher of Online Dating Magazine

Online Dating Communication: First Impressions and Relationship Development

Since the Connect column appears every week in Online Dating Magazine, I decided to devote this week’s edition to the tens of thousands of online daters that read this magazine every month. How you communicate, whether it is a first impression or while deeply connected in a relationship, is important not only in traditional dating, but in online dating as well. Many of the same rules apply, but, because online dating is such a unique (and wonderful) way to spark a real relationship, the topic of online dating communication is worth spending some time discussing. So, online daters, whether you use dating services like Match.com, relationship services like eHarmony.com or free dating through sites like MySpace, this advice is for you.

Facilitate a Great First Impression Through Your Profile
First impressions are extremely important, especially when it comes to dating. While the impression you make on your first date is vital, don’t ignore the real first impression you make on your date – the first time he or she views your profile. Think of your online dating profile as the first opportunity to communicate a lot about you to the future love of your life.

 

Make sure that your profile sends the right message to potential matches. As you probably know by now, your profile photo is one of the most important factors in what sort of first impression you make on other members. Choose a photo that can communicate your friendly and warm nature, but do not be misleading (i.e. no 10 year old photos or photos before you gained 15 pounds). A misleading photo is the same as starting a relationship with lies. If you lie through an inaccurate photo right from the beginning to your date it will undoubtedly lead to some awkward silences and possible feelings of betrayal when you do get a chance to make a first impression in person.

Online Dating Magazine has stressed the importance of individuality, creativity, and positivity in your online dating profile, but I am going to emphasize it one more time because it is vitally important. Remember, your profile is the first thing a match will most likely rely on to initially figure out what kind of person you are. If you steer away from mediocrity and negativity in your profile you will multiply your odds of finding your special someone. In fact, many men and women will already form subconscious connections with potential matches based solely on their profile responses. Use this as a prime opportunity to make an initial connection with your date and possible relationship partner.

Communicate Honestly When Emailing and Chatting
Once you have made a strong first impression and have begun conversing with a match through email, you may not know it, but you are now entering into a relationship with that other person. You and your online match enter into a phase of communication that can set the pace and standards for the beginning stages of your relationship. Online dating is a great way for a couple to really get to know each other without the distraction of physical appearance, but there are some communication strategies that can make or break a relationship even before you get a chance to meet in person.

The most important rule to follow is to make sure you keep your email and messaging open and honest, while still using common sense regarding dating safety. It’s true that you don’t want to reveal personal information too soon, especially since there is the possibility of danger when dating online (not to mention meeting someone at a bar), but don’t lie about who you are…ever. I can guarantee that any lie you tell will come back to haunt you. Even if your partner never finds out, your guilt may be all the negativity you need to prevent you from lying again. If your online match asks you information you are not comfortable answering, be honest and tell him or her exactly that. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you want to get to know a person a little better before divulging personal information about yourself. Just as in an in-person relationship, the golden rule of online dating is “Honesty is the best policy”.

Know When to Take it to the Next Level
While you can learn a great deal about someone through email, chat rooms, and instant messaging, don’t rely on this form of communicating for too long if you really plan on forming a romantic relationship with your match. When you start to feel a spark, move to the next level in your relationship – the phone call. Communicating too long without hearing each other’s voice may build too much anticipation and could cause awkwardness and uncomfortably when you eventually do meet or talk one on one. You won’t know if you can make it as a couple until you are actually dating, so don’t put it off for too long. Remember, the point of online dating is to meet someone that you can go out on dates with, cuddle with, and form a full relationship with, connecting on both an intellectual and physical level, so don’t forget about the in-person part!

Online dating can be a wonderful way to meet your special someone for a life-long relationship. In fact, eHarmony boasts over 30,000 marriages formed each year by members who met through their online dating service. If you can attract dates through a fun, friendly, and honest profile and maintain a high level of communication integrity while in the email and messaging stages, you are setting yourself up for some wonderful dates and, most likely, a strong, connected relationship in your future.

Related Links:
Online Dating Safety Tips
The Five Different Types of Online Dating Services
Online Dating Profile Advice
Online Dating Photo Advice
Online Dating Services




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