Benevolent Frogs, Angry Toads, and One Handsome Prince: Online Dating Tips

Last week I wrote about how to date with confidence. Today I wanted to kick this topic up a notch and discuss a method of dating that has become quite popular the last number of years. Online dating. I know a few things about this topic as I happened to meet my husband online. Through this experience I gained some insight into making your online dating experience more comfortable and safe with hopefully a successful outcome.

It was 2008 and I was living in a large city in the southern US. Although my city was large, my social circle for dating lacked one key ingredient: available men. Even my church was so tiny the men my age were either already dating someone, confirmed bachelors or gay. Not exactly the demographic where you can find a happily ever after.  At one point I realized if I didn’t do something drastic, the only way I was gonna meet someone was if the Fed Ex guy came to my door and randomly asked me out ala that scene in Legally Blonde. In that case I needed to seriously up my ‘bend and snap’ game 😉 . It was at this point that I contemplated online dating.

I had actually been toying with the idea of online dating about a year before this, as I had become heartbroken over a long time crush. I’m actually grateful about this now, as it was the push I needed to sign up online. So I booted up my computer, called my best friend and settled in writing my profile.

Which leads me to my first tip when online dating: Have fun writing your profile. Having your best friend help you write this becomes a bonding activity that you won’t soon forget. Plus having another person, that knows you well, can help you write a better, more honest profile of yourself.

After my profile was up I was ready to roll. Then it happened. My computer crashed. Yep. I was offline for about a week, delaying my quest for love. I do see this now as a test to see how serious I was. I could have just said, “welp, that’s a sign that this is a no-go”, but I tend to be a bit more persistent than that. So after I was able to go online again, my quest happily continued.

After corresponding with a few nice guys, in April I connected with one particular gentleman from a small town several hours away. He was cute, funny, and had a heart for Jesus. Ah, perfect. Except he was slightly older than my ideal age range and had tattoos. This leads me to tip #2: Don’t be so constrained about age or hung up that so and so is not necessarily your “type”. Be open to dating outside this boundary. 

Of course online dating is different from meeting face to face in a bar or in college, because you aren’t face to face at the beginning of your relationship. Due to this component, it’s necessary to implement some safety tips into your experience. For me, I talked to guys for a week before telling them my real name–we each had a screen name we created beforehand. This was so I could get to know them just a bit before they searched for my social media account. Tip #3: Create safety rules and stick to them-no matter what. All of the guys I talked with were ok with me not divulging my name till I was ready. The difficulties arose when the time came to set up face to face meetings. Some guys wanted to pick me up, but I was adamant that I arrive separately and we meet in a public place. I lost a few guys when they didn’t understand why I insisted on doing things this way. These guys are not frogs, they are toads. While you can’t avoid them online, when they finally reveal their toady bumps, feel no shame in kicking them to the curb. This can be frustrating, but think of it like this: for each guy you let go, you get one guy closer to your happily ever after. Another clear example of a toad comes via my blogger friend, rachelbeingchatty. You should check her out, she’s awesome. She wrote the following the other day on how to spot a toady serial dater; “You know you are with a serial dater when he reveals his heart tattoo with “your name here” in the middle.”

So, how can you figure out if someone you meet online is who they say they are? Our last tip (#4) addresses this. Ask questions. Several times. Yes, ask the same questions over and over again to make sure the answers are the same. When having a conversation about family, ask him again how many siblings he has and where he falls in the lineup. When talking about work, ask again where he works and what he does. If any of these answers are different from what they were before, this is a red flag that needs to be addressed.

Online dating can be fun and fulfilling when you follow a few tips to stay safe, while expanding your social circle. Tomorrow I’ll tell the story of how I met my handsome prince and how we were able to make it work…..long distance.

Remember you are never alone. 🙂


Dating With Confidence: A How-To Guide

Today has been crazy busy so far. We had errands then had to run to a tax appointment. Of course as soon as we were ready to leave, our oldest cat threw up. Twice. Oh, did I also mention it is raining and gloomy outside? Yep, it’s been a stress filled day so far. You know what else can be stressful? Dating.

Dating in Junior High and High School can be fun. Honestly the only thing kids who are dating in Jr. High do is awkwardly hold hands while at the same time avoiding each other. It may culminate in a public fight/break up session. Very dramatic. Of course this is a generalization based very loosely on my own experience and from what I’ve observed over the years.

In high school things get moderately more serious, with some relationships lasting through high school and ending in marriage (this worked for many of our grandparents and some of our parents). What about those of us this description doesn’t cover? Waiting to date till you are older-due to family or religious tradition, or having never been asked-is a fairly recent phenomenon of our generation. Even millennials are typically shown to meet their partner and marry later in life, which also delays the arrival of children. So in the next paragraphs, I offer a few dating tips for those of you who are older and hopefully a bit wiser.

1. Actually use the word: There is an unspoken rule that when one is asking for a date, the word “date” is not to be used. For example:

Boy: “So, do you want to go out for coffee sometime? Girl: “Sure, let me check my schedule and get back to you.”

The two parties then go out for coffee, and one or both of them will be sitting at the table mentally trying to figure out if this is a real date or not. The last time I was interested in a boy, before I met my husband, I called him up and *gasp* asked him if he wanted to go out on a DATE with me. My reasoning? I’m not getting any younger and didn’t have time for ambiguity (of course I didn’t explain my reasoning. That’s a bit much 😉 ). Could this come off as a bit too forward? Perhaps. But to the right person, you convey an air of confidence. This my friends is an attractive trait. Use it well.

2. Practice: No matter if you are a girl or guy, if you are wanting to ask someone out but are shy-practice. Write down what you want to say on a piece of paper (Sidenote: the very first time I asked a boy out in High School, I did it over the phone, reading off a slip of paper I had written before hand. I still have that piece of paper somewhere-see, it also makes a lovely keep sake of your growth as a person-awww! 😀 ) Or you can practice in front of a mirror. Practice can relieve your nerves and boost your confidence.

3. Clothes-Go classy but comfortable: There is nothing worse than being nervous about a first date, and worrying that you are gonna teeter right out of your 9 inch heels, or that something else will find it’s way onto the dinner table if you wear your favorite strapless dress. If you are used to heels that high, go for it. Just don’t try them for the first time on a first date. Wear what makes you feel classy but comfortable.

This list is by no means complete but I hope it gives you a few tips that’ll help you date with confidence. Good luck! Remember you are not alone.