While everyone is talking about all the Leap Day deals, I’m loving it for a different reason this year – I’m celebrating my “first” dating anniversary with my husband. We actually had our first date on Leap Day four years ago.
So I figured, what better way to celebrate Leap Day on the blog than share how we met – online. Part of me thinks I could just stop this post right there since that’s not that much of a story, but if you’ve been thinking about online dating and need a push to get you started, I wanted to share how it all worked for me with a few online dating tips.
Admit You’re Ready
I signed up on OkCupid probably three other times and all it took was getting a first message to say “I don’t want to to do this” and immediately deleted my account. I wanted to have a much better story, like someone chasing me out of a bar to tell me that I was the best thing that happened since they moved in to New York (yes, this happened to me probably in 2008 – what’s up Jack from the now-closed Red Sky). By the time I was nearing 27, I had broken up with my boyfriend of a year, realized all my friends were now in relationships, and anyone I was meeting at a bar I didn’t want to date long term (like the accountant from Switzerland who had no clue if he was going to stay forever in the US…or a hedge fund guy who was nice but the thought of kissing him grossed me out). And if I met someone at a bar, that was rare – I was too busy catching up with my friends anytime we went out. So after a string of “ehh” first dates, I decided I would take the plunge.
Sign Up with a Friend
When I was online dating, my roommate was too and at least three other people in my office. Signing up with a friend was fun – we would compare our own profiles and the people that we were messaging. My husband had signed up too with two of his friends. If you’re going to online date, you should have the attitude that you are doing it for the stories, and stories are always better to share with friends.
One Site Does Not Fit All
I had originally signed up for Match.com. I figured if I wanted someone serious about dating, I had to use a paid site, not something for free, and all my co-workers were using Match. After 30 days on the site, all I had to show for it was one terrible first date, where my date cut me off after one drink when I was still sober. With an awful success rate, I decided to cancel my account and try OkCupid instead. My co-workers were now all about OkCupid, so I figured I’d join them too – and at least I could save some money since it was free.
I wrote my own profile, but had my friends read it to make sure it 1) didn’t have spelling errors and 2) sounded like me. My husband had one of his friends write his profile for him. I definitely would advise having someone take another look at it to make sure you are putting your best qualities forward. While I haven’t dated online in a few years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the profiles of girls our friend dates (since it is so much fun) and half the time I wonder why someone would put a certain quality in a profile.
Do Not Get Hung Up on the Match Percentage or Overanalyze Your First Phone Conversation
I am a perfectionist, and my husband and I were an 87% match – as my husband likes to say, he’s a B+ student. I always laugh about this especially because a friend of a friend ended up being a 95% match with him (and he jokingly refers to her as his dream girl). If your correspondence is great, try a date in-person rather than relying on an algorithm. And if you decide to chat on the phone first, and the first convo is a little weird, I strongly encourage you to give him or her a try in-person before writing him or her off. I thought our first phone call was awful – my husband kept giving me short answers. Come to find out that he was using the phone call just as a measure to make sure I wasn’t crazy, wanted to set up the date, and that was that – whereas I wanted to do that, and get to know him better. Keep it short and save the Q&A for in-person.
Ways to Get the Conversation Started
I feel like I didn’t have any problems keeping the conversation going, but to be fair, I only went on a few dates. For some of my friends have been on hundreds of first dates, they have said it gets quite repetitive, and after awhile, the last thing you want to do is field the same boring questions about your siblings. If your date is game to play, there are several questions from The New York Times that supposedly can help intimacy be accelerated – the more questions you ask, the more vulnerable you become, creating closeness. Or you can take a page out of my husband’s book and play the game “Perfect in every way but…” and list a quirk, creating discussion if you would date the person.
To Delete or Deactivate
At some point, you’ll have to have the conversation with your boyfriend or girlfriend about getting rid of the dating profile. I chose to deactivate mine after a few dates. My husband however, thinks he showed the bigger sign of commitment, since he deleted his after a month of us dating. He told me he considered me to be his girlfriend, and I requested that the profile finally come down! He believes deleting it was a bigger sign that he liked me versus deactivating, but I’m glad I just deactivated mine – a year or two later, I could still log on and see the messages between us.
Have you dated online? Share your tips with me!