Navigating the online dating scene can be exciting… and frustrating. Horror stories of lulling conversations and mixed signals are enough to scare any woman off the digital sphere.
But online dating can be a great way to be exposed to great men you wouldn’t necessarily run into in your everyday life and routines. And, you just might meet your future hubby. I did! It’s becoming more and more common to meet people online, and the pool of potential suitors has become much more robust over the years.
Of course, bad dates and connections are a possibility. But, dipping your toe into online dating with the right mindset can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary heartbreak. Stepping into the online dating pool in way that aligns with your values and beliefs can absolutely be done.
When we do that, we can relax and have fun. We can handle dates with control and ease, making the most out of the best parts and learning from the worst. Here are some online dating tips to help you confidently try online dating.
Know What You Want Before Someone Decides for You
Before you even open up the app, get clear on what you want. Crystal clear.
As you start, or refine, your online dating journey, remember that you’re on those apps for you. Your heart’s desires are important and should be front and center.
Take the other person out of the equation for a second. Define exactly what you want. Not what you think you can have, but what are you hoping to get from this date?
Talk to God about it and write it down. We all enter the dating app scene in search of connection, but the degree varies person to person. Some of you may be content with a good meal and conversation. Others are looking for a sign of long-term compatibility. You may even be hoping to meet your forever love.
Not knowing what you want makes the dating process confusing and volatile. You’ll try looking over things, like him asking to split the bill when you know you find it charming when someone grabs it.
Being clear on what you want lessens the chance you’ll connect with what you don’t want.
After days of scrolling, you match with the guy that’s lucky enough to catch your interest.
For the sake of compatibility, and safety, continue a conversation on the app for 3-5 days before taking it offline. Your time and energy are valuable. You choose who has access to you. This time allows you to ask qualifying questions and determine that they’re the person you’re looking to connect with.
Chatting for a couple of days gives you the chance to gauge their character. Gather what their intention with you is and if it fits what you’ve defined for yourself. You also get the opportunity to see their effort and interest level. Someone that wouldn’t chat with you for a couple of days isn’t someone looking for something serious.
If you decide to meet IRL, choose a destination that’s public and in a familiar area.
Get Clear About Your Boundaries
Boundaries are beautiful. They aren’t always a sign of going on the offense. They also serve as preventative care for us, making sure we’re respect ourselves, our time, and our values.
A day or so before your date, take 30 to 45-minutes to brainstorm your dealbreakers. Then, lay out what you’re willing to give.
How much time do you want to allocate towards a first meeting? What could happen that would cause you to refuse a second date?
Doing this before the date, keeps you grounded and gives you a framework to work from. You’re able to react quickly and navigate in a way that’s aligned with your values and the boundaries you’ve set for yourself.
Manage Your Expectations and Pray for Wisdom
We are ALL guilty of this. Those rose-colored glasses blinding us to any shred of reality we have. We become immersed in a fantasy about who someone is or who they could be.
This is something to be weary of, especially if you’ve been single for a while. There’s no shame in that. When we want something and have been without it for a while, a human craving for love can almost feel alien. It feels good to receive admiration and attention when we hadn’t experience in a while.
Keep in mind that the person you are going on a date with is a human being. One with their own memories and experiences that drive their behavior and beliefs. They’re acting in accordance to their own needs as much as you are.
Remember the childhood fable, the Tortoise and the Hare?
The tortoise won the race, because it paced itself. It took a marathon and broke it up into actionable steps. If your goal is everlasting love, remember that love develops over time. In the meantime, enjoy the process of getting to know someone at each layer. Ask God to help you guard your heart during the dating process and use wisdom and discernment as you navigate each step.
Don’t Get Discouraged If You Don’t Hit a Home Run Immediately
You may hit a home run and meet a great guy on the first try. Or, you may have a date that feels more like you struck out on the mound. That’s completely okay and we don’t say that to discourage you.
It’s to grant you some grace as you move through the unknown waters of the digital dating pool. If a date doesn’t work out, try not to take it to hard or wallow in disappointment.
Instead, use the date to learn about yourself. What were the reasons it didn’t work?
Did they show up unreasonably late and then go over every accolade they earned since kindergarten? Maybe the discussion about children made you realize you don’t have shared values.
Whatever the reason, understand it and celebrate the self-discovery.
Then, have fun! Enjoy and invite God into your journey. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5), and His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). Keep it with you as you date and who knows? You just might meet your Mr. Right.