Online dating advice

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Online dating dating should be fun

Firstly, online dating should be fun. So if after reading the rest of this advice page you are still anxious about using the Internet as a way of finding dates, then it might not be the right avenue for you. Hopefully reading our advice on online dating will put you completely at ease.

Think of Midsummer's Eve as a kind of club. Everybody is welcome into our club as long as they agree to abide by the rules.

Just as people are checked at the door of a club, we keep an eye on new members to ensure that they are genuinely looking for friends and/or a partner, are sticking to the rules and keeping the atmosphere friendly and fun.

But like other clubs we have no special insight into the true character and intentions of the people entering and, as we are sure that you would not expect the management of a club to guarantee that the person who has just bought you a drink is an honest Joe/Jane, we can't and don't guarantee the integrity of the information held in the profiles. So, just as you learn to be street-wise when out in the real world, it pays to be a little web-wise too.

  • Do not approach other members by giving them your telephone number or e-mail address. You wouldn't go straight up to the nearest person in a nightclub and just hand them your number, would you?

  • "It's only words! And words are all you have"... Without your other senses to give you a better picture of someone, you'll need to find out all you can about them just by messaging. So ask questions, enjoy corresponding with them and, by using our messaging system, there is still no need to give out any further contact details until you are quite sure that your new 'pen-pal' is someone you can trust. If a profile has a voice profile attached, take a listen - it will give great insight into their character.

  • If someone gives you their email address, remember that by sending an email to him/her they will have access to your e-mail address. So make sure that you really want them to have your address before you use theirs. In the same way, BT 1471 or agreeing to take a 'reverse-charge' call makes getting your telephone number very easy.

  • Be polite. Just because the person is not in front of you, it doesn't mean that you're not communicating with a human being. Besides, if you do cause upset or offence whilst visiting our 'club', we may ask you to leave! Some kind of reply is always appreciated, even if it is to say "Thank-you for your message but I am afraid that I do not think we have enough in common to continue corresponding".

    'Aaarrghh!!' or 'No way' generally tends to go down very badly and is enough to get you suspended.

  • If you have a problem with another member's life-style because they smoke or are obsessed with budgerigars or something, keep it to yourself. They are obviously not your 'ideal partner' so there is no need to contact them just to let them know what you think of them. The same applies if you do not like somebody's appearance.

  • Try to avoid giving one-word greetings and answers - it makes the conversation drag a little! It is far better to offer more information about yourself or ask some questions about the other person to ensure the correspondence flows and the conversation is kept interesting.

  • Be yourself, honestly. Even if you are convinced that you aren't the 'bee's knees', someone will think you're 'ideal'. There is no point in creating a different persona - you won't be able to keep up the pretence forever and a relationship built on a lie will soon crumble.
  • Try to avoid going for the 'sympathy vote' with your profile. Don't put yourself down. If you think you're unlucky in love, keep it to yourself. Your profile is the first thing that others see of you so it is a good idea to ensure that it makes a great first impression with a positive, up-beat and friendly feel.

  • Your username is only ever seen on your homepage which is available only to you. It is advisable to make your screen name - the name that everyone else knows you as - different from your username. This is because should someone try to access your account, they will have half your login details already. You can change your screen name at any time by clicking on 'my profile', making the change and clicking 'send'. You can't change your username however.

  • It is also advisable to make your password as obscure as possible. Setting it as 'password' or the same as your screen name will make it guessable. Entering numbers as well as letters makes it trickier to crack. You can change your password at any time, too, by clicking on 'my options' after logging in.

  • Keep us up-dated with any changes in your email address via the 'my options' page again. By doing this we can trace your account more easily when you contact us, you receive all your message alerts correctly and when you need a reminder of your password, the database can recognise you and send your details to the right place for you to retrieve them.

  • We allow members to have active accounts without posting a description on the site because we do not want to force members into doing anything they do not want to do. If you are unhappy about replying to someone who has no profile or photo, simply send a standard message saying that you require these to continue with any correspondence. Or continue the correspondence to find out far more than a profile could reveal.

  • One of our rules that is commonly broken is 'multiple messages containing the same or similar wording sent to many different members are not allowed'. This rule is there to ensure you stand the best chance of getting replies. Sending messages with copied-and-pasted content that do not refer to the recipient's profiles shows that there is no real interest and does not impress.

  • Do not pressure anybody into giving out contact details or meeting. This may cause anxiety and upset resulting in your suspension.

  • Do not be pressured into meeting before you are ready. If someone feels they need to hurry things along with no respect for your wishes, they probably aren't the one for you.

Next we take a look at the all-important first meeting! Read on ...

Online dating advice page three »

© Midsummer's Eve 2003