In a perfect world, every Christian girl would meet her God-given man in some dramatic, straight-out-of-a-Disney-movie scenario. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite reality for anyone…except, of course, Cinderella!
For the rest of us hopeless romantics, we can either wait to meet our Prince Charming in person or explore alternative options, like online dating. If you’ve ever tried online dating or are considering taking a stab at it, here are 10 rules you should follow to get the best out of your experience.
1. Do your research. There are lots of options out there. A lot! Some dating sites, like ChristianMingle, are great. Others, like Tinder, should be avoided at ALL COSTS! Seriously—steer clear. Tinder is like that dark, hyena-filled territory to which Mufasa warned Simba never to go.
Before settling on a dating site (or two), do your research, test out a few free sites and find out which ones best fit your needs.
2. Pick the best picture of you. Your online profile picture is EVERYTHING. It provides a sneak preview to your potential suitor and invites him to visit your page to learn more. Yes, it’s a bit superficial, but that’s the nature of online dating.
3. Avoid revealing too much. Since we’re on the topic of photos, it’s important to select images that will attract the right type of man. If your pictures are too revealing, you’ll definitely get a lot of attention. However, it will more than likely be from the wrong type of guy.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to select pictures that capture you in your best light and provide an indication of what you like to do for fun.
4. Complete your profile. Put thought into filling out the information in your profile. Contrary to popular belief, guys DO read it! So, take your time with it and include all those details that make you special. If you have an irrational obsession with mini-ponies or if you’ve traveled the world, have fun with it! These facts will spark curiosity and give these guys a real reason to send that first message.
5. Google is your friend. One of the downsides of online dating is that guys (and girls) have the luxury of lying about anything and everything. They’ll lie about their height, their education and even their name! The quickest way to get to the truth is by asking your good friend Google. Although it’s not a foolproof way of spotting lies, it may help you determine whether you’re meeting up with the man you pictured or, well…not.
Seriously, girls. Google! It’s your friend.
6. Reach out. Many women approach online dating thinking that guys should do ALL the work. Wrong! This is the 21st century! If you come across a guy who piques your interest, it’s totally okay to reach out first to get the ball rolling.
7. Be honest. Christians understand the importance of telling the truth, and this rule definitely deserves a place here. Please, please, please tell the truth in your profile. It doesn’t help to lie or to withhold important information. For example, if you’re 4’6″, don’t write that you’re 5’3″. Upon meeting you, your suitor will see right away that you’ve told a fib and any hopes of a meaningful relationship will fly out the window.
Your best bet is to be as honest as possible. God has placed a special guy out there who will love every inch of you. There’s no need to stretch the truth (no pun intended!).
8. Make your religious beliefs known. As a Christian girl, religion plays a major role in your life. Ideally, you’ll want to attract a guy who, at the very least, respects your devotion to the Lord. As such, you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to proclaim your love for Him on your profile. So, say it loud: “I love the Lord and I’m proud!”
9. Exchange numbers. When the moment happens and you meet a really great guy, don’t hesitate to exchange numbers. The best way to really get to know a person is by talking to them on the phone. And, if possible, try to go with a real telephone conversation (remember those?!) instead of texting. Yeah, it’s super old-school, but you’ll learn so much more by listening to his voice.
10. Meet in person. When it’s time to take things offline and finally meet in person, you’ll know. To ensure your safety (and, to be fair, his as well), suggest meeting in a very public, well-lit location (e.g., Starbucks or a local restaurant). Also, if possible, avoid meeting for the first time at night.
Essentially, use your common sense. Don’t do anything that you don’t feel comfortable doing. If you’ve picked out a good one, he’ll be more than understanding of your concerns.
11. Have fun. Stay true to yourself and to your values, and just have fun with the process!
SPECIAL NOTE: Not sure if online dating is for you? Talk to your parents, a family member or close mentors about your interest in joining a dating network. Give them an opportunity to voice their support or express their concerns —especially if you are new to the dating scene.