For those of you who are married or who aren’t interested in online dating – don’t tune out just yet.  There might be something in here for you or a friend.

Twenty years ago, no one had heard of online dating.  We were all still meeting people the old fashioned way – face to face.  However, with the introduction of new technologies, online dating has exploded; one third of the 97 million singles in this country are dating online.  Out of this wave has come thousands of marriages as well as an equal number of nightmare stories.  I recall a friend who went to meet a new online interest for coffee.  When she showed up at the restaurant, her date was shocked and said “Wow – you look like your picture.”  To which she responded, “Aren’t up supposed to?”   This reflects the type of issue that has plagued online dating.

So, I want to suggest four tips for online dating that are really tips for all those dating in any form.

  • Protect your personal details. Giving out too much information too soon can be risky.  There is no substitute for time in getting to know and trust someone.
  • For the first date, meet the person in a safe place. Even if this person seems trustworthy on the computer (or phone), this first encounter is probably not the time for a stroll in a remote place.
  • Make sure your closest friends are in the know. Be sure to let someone know where you are going and whom you are meeting.  As the relationship develops, it is also good to make sure these friends are meeting this new person and that you give them permission to offer honest input and observations.
  • Finally, always stay in control. Do not go anywhere or do anything with which you are uncomfortable.  If someone is pushy or manipulative, you are under NO obligation to fit their expectations.

If you are dating, you have a phenomenal opportunity to discover that person that may become your lifelong partner.  Aside from your relationship with God, this will be the most significant relational decision of your life.  I encourage you to thoughtfully consider these tips.  Happy dating.