Appropriate and Inappropriate Online Conversations
|Lauren Hostert • 6/29/12|
One of the most exciting things about online dating is the variety of different kinds of people you can meet. Chatting online, with its anonymity and lack of social cues to take from, can sometimes be tricky. While it can be a little awkward, don’t let it turn you completely off. Here are a few tips to keep your online conversations appropriate.
1. Don’t get too personal.
Try to think of your online conversations as a first date. The facelessness of the Internet can sometimes make you feel comfortable to be a little over personal, but keep in mind that you just met the girl. If you wouldn’t say it over muffins and a latte, don’t say it online.
If you find yourself beginning conversations with things like “Well, after my fiance died” or “After I beat my meth addiction,” you might want to take a step back. Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re making someone uncomfortable when you can’t see their face.
Take your lead from her. If she feels comfortable being a little candid about her past, then it’s OK to dig a little deeper. Otherwise, stick to lighter subjects.
2. Keep it PG-13.
Remember the first date rule and try to keep your conversations from sounding like “Loveline.” It’s cool to tell her she’s pretty, but don’t let it get inappropriate. When you can’t see someone’s face, it’s possible to really offend them without realizing.
You also might catch her with subject matter offensive for where she is. Keep in mind, you might be alone in your bedroom but she could be working late that night. Not that anyone plays on their computer at work. Compliments are nice, but lean towards courtly instead of crude.
When in doubt, ask her about herself and her interests. Tell her about yours. Find something in common. Keep your thoughts on her banging bod to yourself until a more appropriate time. Also, watch your language! Don’t forget that you haven’t met this person and they don’t know your sense of humor or intonation. Heed your mama and mind your manners.
3. Be yourself.
You’ve been hearing it since kindergarten because it’s true. Don’t forget that the goal of online dating is an offline relationship, so don’t present yourself as someone you’re not. Present your best self while you still have the luxury of a backspace key. Just make it your real self.
If you’re funny, be funny. Don’t try to pull a Cyrano de Bergerac thing. It didn’t work on “Growing Pains,” and it’s not going to work for you. A lot of people, male and female, tend to embellish the truth a little when talking online. People do it on first dates, too. Just make sure you don’t embellish yourself beyond recognition.