Get the Most From Online Dating
Think online dating doesn’t work? Try these seven steps.
But consider how you approach looking for a new job: You create a résumé and an application touting your best qualities and why you’re the greatest candidate to come along in years. Your peers accept the self-glorification in your résumé because they understand the process and can identify. Using the internet to look for someone special in your life can seem like a much more exposing process, but it needn’t be. When facing a big task, the best tactic is to break it into smaller, more manageable steps.
STEP 1: Pray that God will provide the right mate for you.
Consider first and foremost that God is primarily interested in relationships. Descriptions of God include the Father, the Son, the Comforter and our Lord. God has not only designed us to share our lives with someone special, He understands our needs and desires to be in a relationship. God is more interested in who you marry than you are. This bears repeating because it’s key to encouraging you when you feel prayer is not bringing about the results you desire, quickly enough.
Praying frequently will also keep you focused on your end result: a healthy, godly relationship.
STEP 2: Write a unique and appealing profile.
When joining a dating website, take time to ensure your profile is complete and presents you in an appealing light.
Be specific when filling out your online dating profile, rather than writing general responses which are more difficult to relate to. This gives others the chance to connect with you. Add a question or two which readers might be able to answer for you. This is an excellent way to offer them the chance they need to write you.
On ChristianCafe.com, one of the short-answer questions is: “What would be the perfect setting for a first meeting with a new friend or date? Describe it.”
We’ve seen many profiles where the answer is simply, “A coffee shop” or “Starbucks.”
How about expanding on that a bit to get more of your personality to show in your writing? Maybe something like, “There’s this great little cafe downtown called ______. Have you been? Their café mocha is incredible — and the ‘people watching’ is even better! I think this would be an excellent first-date spot. Nothing too fancy — something casual and great for conversation.”
Not only do you sound more interesting, but you’ve also given hints as to your type of personality.
Be sure to share your passions in your profile answers. Mention what drives you and shapes your life at present or has impacted you in the past. Scripture and beliefs are a huge part of this. One ChristianCafe.com profile question is, “Describe your Christian faith. Where are you at and what are your goals? What Scripture verses are important to you?”
For the latter part of that question you could simply refer to, or recite, a verse of Scripture and leave it at that, but you could do so much better. State why that verse speaks to you and how it has influenced who you are and how you lead your life. After that, you could even ask a question such as, “What do you think about this verse? Do you find it has guided you?” You’ve now just given your profile reader an easy way to write to you (i.e. answering your question.)
All that said, while we encourage specifics in your profile, be careful not to ramble on too much. Reading your profile shouldn’t be a task in itself for others. Save the extra information for when you begin connecting with people.
In your profile writing, be aware of how you might appear to others. Ensure you are in a good mood when filling out your profile. Take time to review your own profile: If you were someone else reading your dating profile, would you want to correspond with you?
Also, revisit your profile every now and then. Has something changed in your life whereby you can add something interesting?
STEP 3: Post quality photos.
Unless there are strict privacy concerns preventing you from doing so, you should post photos. Most singles believe photos show a level of commitment; profiles without photos are almost always overlooked. ChristianCafe.com profiles with photos attract up to 10 times the response, so don’t minimize the importance of this step. Your photo is your chance to make a great first impression.
Choose good quality photos which show you in your best light. Selfies in the mirror with the phone are not your best choice! Select recent pictures that you feel are flattering. Typically, people are drawn toward those who look confident, happy and approachable. Imagine yourself two years into a relationship with that special person and smile for the camera.
STEP 4: Reach out to others.
Recognize, whether male or female, you have a strong role to play in finding your mate. Prayer is almost always associated with action on our part. And while God bringing the love of your life to your doorstep is not impossible, sitting around and praying for that is probably not a strategy you want to employ exclusively.
There are many biblical examples of God’s intervention where action was first required: Abraham’s servant had to journey to find Rebekah and bring her to Isaac, despite the fact Abraham no doubt prayed that God would provide a wife for his son; God saved the fleeing Israelites from a pursuing Pharaoh and his army, but they had to cross the Red Sea first; Naaman was healed of leprosy, but not until he had washed himself seven times in the Jordan.
The application to our lives is obvious: Joining a dating website is in itself not enough; ensure you dedicate the time to searching for and contacting those who interest you. ChristianCafe.com allows you to correspond during your free trial, so take advantage of this unique privilege.
After searching for those who might be of interest to you, take time to read through some profiles and choose a few to contact. This can be the hardest step for many singles. Consider, though, that if you were looking for a job your chances of landing a good job increase steadily the more you apply for the jobs you want. The same mindset applies when using a dating service. Remember that members on a dating site are there to connect with others, so don’t be shy about being the first to say hello.
For introductory letters, it’s best to send something short. I would also recommend not using a form letter when contacting people; you want to show you are interested in who they are as individuals. You could ask a question about something they’ve written or make a comment on a part of their profile which caught your attention. Then close with a question they can answer for you, giving them an easy way to respond. Make it a goal to introduce yourself to several different people each day.
STEP 5: Get to know people.
A key to any relationship is patience, but this virtue needs to be amplified when using the internet. A healthy relationship should be your goal, so don’t get caught up emotionally into believing you’ve met “The One” within the first few letters.
Force yourself to take about one week of chatting back and forth within the safety of the dating website’s mailbox system. Ask a lot of questions during this stage so you can get a better understanding of the other person. You will be in a better position at the end of the week to determine if the relationship is heading in the right direction. You can then choose to contact via private email or phone.
Don’t be rushed into chatting by phone, text, messenger or private email. If the person you are chatting with is not willing to take one week to chat on the website, you have to ask yourself why. Asking someone to wait will reveal a lot about his or her character.
Why wait a week?
With online communication, you don’t have the benefit of being able to judge body language, inflection and facial expressions as you would in person, so it’s important not to jump to conclusions or be overly critical. A week’s messages will give you a better chance to ensure perspectives are clearer.
Give the benefit of the doubt while evaluating the relationship by asking questions to help you get to know the other person. Does he share similar interests to you? Does what she writes match up with who her profile says she is? Are you seeing any “red flags”?
It is crucial during your week-long relationship assessment period that you are honest. Just as you are looking to evaluate the relationship’s potential, they will be doing the same. If you focus on trying to be something you think others will be attracted to, it will eventually come back to haunt you, and you will have only served to hurt yourself and others.
STEP 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5.
If you feel the relationship is not heading in the direction you’d like, don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Pray that God will keep your focus on healthy relationships.
Keep writing to those who interest you, sticking to your goal of introducing yourself to several different people each day. Ensuring you continue to write to others not only helps you avoid making poor decisions when you make your next connection, it increases your chances of making that special, lasting connection.
If the relationship is heading in the right direction, you can hold off on searching for others while the relationship develops. You can politely let other people know you are pursuing a relationship at the moment. They will not only appreciate your telling them, it will show you are committed in your relationships. If things don’t work out with the relationship you are pursuing, you can contact the other people who expressed an interest.
FINAL STEP: Meet in person.
If your relationship continues to develop, you are ready to meet in person. Boundless has an excellent podcast I recommend you listen to, which will prepare you for this exciting event: Nice to Meet You: Episode 216.
Want to give online dating a chance? To receive an extra four days to your free trial from ChristianCafe.com, use promo code “Boundless.” Learn more at ChristianCafe.com.
Copyright 2014 Stephen Moorcroft. All rights reserved.