Everything, if you're lonely, missing out on companionship and relationships because you just don't know where to look or how to find that "someone". If your answer lies with Online Dating, read on and consider some tips:

My thoughts about online dating's wide popularity is due to the lack of interest in meeting people in bars, dance clubs, fitness centers, or super grocery stores. Online dating is like a catalog full of potentials, no different from a room full of people, but those listed online have already stated their intentions ("just friends", "networking", "dating", "serious relationship") and generally have provided a profile of likes and dislikes, good or bad habits, and more information to help choose from the throngs of others. We have so much less time these days in our over-worked society to spend on our personal lives. Lighten the often difficult process of dating in an environment where you are still allowed personal choices, making it easier to have beginning grounds for enhanced communication and the pursuit of a new person in your life.


Online chats and email could be good ways to get to know someone and allow a little bit more relaxed conversation to start with. There are advantages to online dating, such as the ability to be able to chat back and forth before taking the leap of meeting in person. There is also the added benefit of getting to see what someone looks like, through shared pictures on the Internet. No longer does someone have to be shocked when the blind date shows up.

Most of my clients involved in online dating have made the decision to date only someone who has posted or shared a picture. Though this might seem superficial at first, consider this; how many individuals would walk up to a person in a bar if they were not attracted to some extent physically?


Many warn away online daters about meeting people through this method, admonishing that "an Axe murderer" or pedophile or something of the sort, will be the resulting connection. While imaginations may run wild, it's important to remember that this is not a problem unique to the Internet! Anyone can be deceitful, even the seemingly wonderful person sitting at the counter at the local cafe. Care does need to be taken of course when venturing out in the dating world. Caution is certainly important, as it would be in any sort of first encounter. Don't leave it all up to chat / email only; Talk to your date by phone as well, even if you wind up using a blocked number or pay phone at first so that Caller ID is not part of your privacy issue. Watch out for your email address too, and consider a free account email with an address that uses a Screen name or User ID that isn't your real name, giving away your privacy sooner than you are ready.

Get a sense of their voice patterns, inflections, sense of humor, patience, and consistency in their "story line"--do they tell you some personal things about themselves and then wind up changing the details at another time? Could be they're inventing this as they go. Line up the first meeting in a public place, tell others, especially family and friends, of your meeting including the specifics of place and time, arrive in separate cars, and be sure to LEAVE that way!


Be sincere, be honest--though with caution initially, but above all, BE YOU. As I watched a recent comedy that depicted various aspects of online dating, between giggles I realized that the personas of online daters COULD get downright ridiculous. Don't abuse others by presenting a wild variety of "the Other You" and project every fantasy you can come up with to gain attention. If you want real people, you have to be one yourself. Don't send in that old high school picture of yourself when in fact you're 40something, and don't make up exotic careers and fascinating lifestyles. You want someone to like you for yourself and you won't have that if you start out "re-inventing yourself". Trust your own innate charm. It may be rusty or it may just not have come to maturity yet, but if you relax and get real, the other person can relax and be truthful as well. Online dating is not a substitute for "real relating". The goal, after all, IS to get to know each other IN PERSON. Online dating is merely a way to start that process.

Pamela Smale Williams LPC, LMFT, AAMFT practices in Plano, Texas
January 18, 2007 Copyright 2008

Author's Bio: 

Credentials and Education:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Master of Arts in Psychology, specialized in Marital and Family Therapy, TWU in Denton, Texas.
Additional Graduate school, UNT in Denton, Texas.
Celebrating 30 yrs. in Private practice!
Licensed Professional Counselor- State of Texas.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist- State of Texas.
Professional Associations: Clinical member of The American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy

CD artist: "MOONSTONES & MAGICAL MOODS: Visualizations for Change"