How to Chat Online for Online Dating

By Deborah Waltenburg

Dating is that social territory that is enticing and yet terrifying. One good way to get your dating feet wet is to try online dating. For those who are shy, self conscious or socially awkward, online dating can be the catalyst that allows you to open up, develop your conversation skills and maybe even meet someone special. Whether you choose a major online dating site or a local group, when you're ready to explore online dating, chatting online is a good first step.

Before You Chat

Step 1

Choose an online dating site based on your personal preferences. There are a myriad of sites available, all with different policies, features and fee scales.

Step 2

Create your online dating profile. The specifics of doing this depends on which site you choose, but most will ask for personal information, a picture and your interests. Provide a recent picture and answer profile questions honestly. Be honest about your preferences for a match; however, keep an open mind and explore a variety of people.

Step 3

Browse through the member lists, and choose someone who piques your interest. Once you find someone you'd like to meet, the best way to get started is to introduce yourself. Send a short note telling the other person a little bit about yourself and something about what attracted you to their profile.

Step 4

Exercise some patience. It can take a little time to get used to the unspoken rules of online dating. Some people will respond immediately, while others may never write back. Don't take rejection personally, just move on. There are millions of people out there looking for the same thing; it can be a slow process.

Chatting Online

Step 1

Protect yourself--first and foremost. While there are countless wonderful and perfectly safe people on online dating sites, there are also a wide variety of people with less-than-honorable intentions. Never immediately divulge your real name, home address, phone number, place of employment or other personal information to strangers online.

Step 2

Be yourself. Don't spend a lot of time trying to fit anyone else's mold or blowing the details of your life out of proportion. Being straightforward and honest will save you not only time but also heartache.

Step 3

Have fun. Successful online dating starts with great conversation. Keep it light. Talk about what interests you, and ask questions about what interests your new friends and potential dates. Talk about hobbies, musical tastes and other lighthearted topics to begin with.

Step 4

Pace yourself. The more you can converse online and get a feel for the other person's likes, dislikes, character and sense of humor, the better you'll be able to determine if you--or they--want to take it any further. Keep your mind open, and let the other person divulge more personal information, such as political or religious beliefs, as they feel comfortable.

Step 5

Don't be pushy. You may want to set up some preliminary boundaries when you converse with a new friend. Let the other person know that if they feel uncomfortable or feel you are not compatible, they can say so. If you or the other person decide to part ways, do so graciously.

Step 6

Trust your instincts. If you feel safe with the other person, eventually it's normal to exchange full names and locations. You can save yourself much hassle by doing some research on your new friend. Pay attention to their communication behavior as well. If someone is secretive about their personal information or even their appearance, there may be something to hide.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're new to dating online, don't beat yourself up over failed conversations. Learn from your mistakes and keep trying.
  • When you get to the point of exchanging real names and locations, it is wise to do a background check or at least some online research about your new friend. This can not only help you confirm the information they tell you, but also protect you from those who may be married or have a criminal record and may be a threat to you.