A gentleman's guide to online dating

Mumbai Mirror

15th September, 2015 03:14:39 printer

A gentleman's guide to online dating

Men (okay, most men not all) are awful at flirting, even when it comes in a comfortable online dating-app platform. One only has to look at posts put up by the Instagram feed Tinder Nightmares to get convinced. The opening lines some come up with are such turn-offs that they can't be reproduced anywhere. However, here's what you should know -the competition is really tough out there.

A recent report by the Global Web Index reported that of the six per cent of Internet users who use dating apps, 62 per cent are male.That means that a woman on the same app has nearly twice the options as you. Do you really want to ruin your already meagre chances with an opening line that makes your match want to log off and delete her profile entirely?

We are guessing not. So, in the interest of you finding somebody before half the year is over, we compiled a list of don'ts to watch out for while flirting online.

Don't rush it
By this we mean, don't ping her the second the dating app of your choice says you have matched.Many people browse through the apps nearing bedtime or late at night. They may not be actually ready to start talking immediately.And, if you ping them the second you match, you will appear overeager, even creepy.

Time your first message according to the day of the week. If it's a working day, you'd be better off pinging them post 6 pm. This is the time that most people get done with work and are looking forward to meeting friends or relaxing at home. Even if you have a flexi work-from-home job, they may not.

However, if it's a weekend, pinging post 11 am is good (though most prefer the first conversation to happen over evening).

Here's a tip: If this woman is someone you might be interested in, don't wait longer than 24 hours to say, hello. It gives the impression that you are busy with someone else or not interested in her.

Don't be a stand-up comic
Yes, we know that men love to make women laugh. But, let us laugh with you, not at you. Instead of introducing yourself with a oneliner that may fall flat if the woman doesn't share your sense of wit or doesn't get the context of the joke (you could also land up sounding politically incorrect), why not try a simple `hello' or `hi', followed by a `how was your day?'.Let the conversation flow from there. If you are genuinely interested in the woman, you will be able to dip into your vocabulary for the right questions.

Don't ask awkward questions
We read this somewhere, one guy on Tinder asked, `how much weight have you lost?'. He had looked at several pictures the woman had used for her profile and compared. Now, we know he meant it as a compliment but are these questions you ask a rank stranger? If you won't do it in person, don't do it online. Similarly, questions about previous relationships and plans for the future are off the table -unless you've been chatting for a while and have built a comfortable rapport.

Also, you may have common friends that show up on your profile. But, it's best not to talk about them until you've established that you may want to meet each other.

Don't beat around the bush
At some point of the conversation, you will both have to be honest about what you are looking for.They may sell themselves as dating apps, but they are also hook-up apps. Let her know if you are looking for a date or a hook-up. But, please do it with class -a `so, what brings you here?' will do. She will throw the question right back at you, which is your chance to be honest. If you are not sure a simple `meeting new people' will suffice. Remember, bring it up only after chatting for two days, but don't put it off too long. If you are on the same page, great. Else, best to wish each other luck and move on.

Don't ask for the number too soon
The chat line on some dating apps is slow. However, there is such a thing as asking for a number too soon. Even if you seem to have hit it off.

Remember, most find a comfort of anonymity online. Asking for a number at the wrong time, makes it too real, too soon. The best time to exchange numbers? Perhaps, on the day when you are about to meet for a date.

Don't wait longer than a week
If you have been chatting with this woman for seven whole days, and having fun, what's keeping you? Unless you are out of town, buried deep in a work project or are ailing, there's no reason you shouldn't ask her out.

For the men who fear they might be imposing, remember the woman always has the right to say, no.But, if she's been chatting with you for a week, there's a likelihood she's already waiting for you to pop the question.Stretching it longer than a week could signal that you are not really sure about her, and any woman in her right mind would move on.

Don't log off suddenly
Goodbyes are awkward. It's worse if you've suddenly been hit by the realisation that a dating app is perhaps not meant for you, or the woman you are chatting with may not be the one. However, before logging off and deleting your account, it's a good idea to give her a heads up. A gracious exit one has seen is a man who said he's logging off for a while, but will stay in touch on phone. The woman never heard from him again, but there were no hard feelings either.