Setting right the tone
The most important first step to establishing your sense of etiquette and the etiquette you expect to receive from persons who are interested in you is in the profile you write in your About Me” section. Spend enough time to make sure you will attract the right kind of person for you. Show your confidence in yourself and be clear about your interest in the site and the type of person you are seeking. The more professional you seem the better are your chances of attracting those who understand proper etiquette.
Etiquette is defined as manners, accepted behavior, rules of conduct, decorum, good form, the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
Our group for this discussion is new friends and relationships that we meet online and just as the rules in face-to-face contact are changing so too are the rules of etiquette changing for online dating. The Golden Rule to treat others as you will like to be treated still prevails whether offline or online.
Honesty is not only a good rule. It’s a quality that embodies integrity, honor, morality, ethics, principles, goodness, truthfulness, trustworthiness, sincerity and is a lifestyle. The best friendships and relationships all have honesty as their base qualities. It does not matter what is encountered offline or online as we strive to earn trust and integrity. And we earn trust and integrity based on how we conduct ourselves today, tomorrow and every day forward.
The first step to meet someone online is to like their profile and to show interest. It’s good to message why you are interested. Perhaps it’s the photos that caught your attention or what was written in the “About Me” section. Perhaps it was the smile or the look of sincerity or the setting of the photos. Whatever it was, go ahead and mention what caught your attention.
Maybe it was some of the content in the profile that caught your attention. Go ahead and comment about what it is that you liked in the profile. Try to imagine what comments would make you feel good that your profile was well received and that the interest is genuine.
Time your message to make a response easier. During the workweek many members are busy. Single parents are busier with child responsibilities. The end of the week is a big sigh of relief and time to unwind so Fridays are when message volume is at its lowest. Sundays are the best and busiest day of the week for online messages with a higher expectation of timely responses.
A first message is the path to open the communication. Brevity is the first rule. Be upbeat, friendly and use positive language. Be complimentary and go ahead and share what drove you to send a message. Remember this is the first message and if there is a connection there will be additional opportunities to share more about yourself. With the first message you are only trying to discover if there is a spark of interest that comes back to you. Ask a question to help the conversation flow back to you. A question shows that you reviewed their profile and you would like more information.
Allow some time to receive a response. Offline and face-to-face a hello may receive an immediate response. Online the recipient of your message may be offline and not aware of the message or maybe the message was accidentally deleted or there are computer/cell issues. Allow 24 hours for a response. One online dating site reports that 94% of responses come after 24 hours. If you do not have a response yet and your interest is still alive then it is okay to send a second message. If there is still not a response then move on.
Generally, people do not handle rejection well and in the online world some interpret a no response as rejection. The word “No” is simply a matter of no interest and there could be many reasons not associated with you. If no communication has been established and neither party knows anything about the other then how can a failure to respond be considered rejection. Friendships and relationships and true love are all built on a very powerful forces of connection. Those connections are developed over time and based on cumulative knowledge of each other. Do not interpret a no response as rejection. Move on and give the real opportunities a chance to happen.
What if you receive a message and you do not have the interest? It is not necessary for you to respond. This may sound like poor etiquette or rude but in the world of online dating it is not. If the person who messaged you has a good grasp of online etiquette and understands that it is not necessarily rejection then he, or she, will move on. Of course, you are not required to provide an explanation. If it helps, simply view it as being considerate of your time and theirs.
Communication is different in email messages than face-to-face. In face-to-face there is every opportunity to explain what you mean by what you say. In text messages there is not always that opportunity. Not everyone has the same background or reference criteria or life experiences. All of the jokes about he said and she heard and she said and he heard are humorous but in email messages they are sometimes close to real. The future communication between two people who have just met can be greatly enhanced by both parties sharing that further explanations are always at the ready.
Be appropriate in your messages. Don’t write anything in your messages that you would not say in a normal conversation if you were talking to the other person face-to-face. Keep in mind that creepy messages that go out will be met with creepy messages in return. Sexual innuendo is the same. If the new friendship begins to blossom there will be plenty of time for philosophies and opinions and passions about things dear to you. Let those occur in the natural course of things. In the beginning keep it neutral. Eventually, you will both want to know more and you will learn in the discovery.
If a relationship is started and you decide it’s not for you then it is okay to send a message and say that you enjoyed getting to know the person but the relationship does not seem to be a good fit for you. Online dating etiquette allows texts that are “break ups”. Do not play games or play with anyone’s emotions or lead them on or mislead someone about your intentions.
It is appropriate to leave your online dating profile open while building a new relationship. Requests to close your profile are not appropriate. Eventually, you and your new interest will be able to decide if, and when, to close your profiles. Talking to more than one potential match is totally acceptable as long as you haven’t made a commitment to be exclusive with anyone.
In the real world it is always polite to ask about friending or tagging or a phone call. It is the same online and you are in control of that privacy. You are also in control of your comfort level if the requests come too early.
Meeting someone new is exciting. If the heart is touched it is more exciting. But keep your head and remember that the journey of discovery of two people is one of the most wonderful journeys the two people can make and in a sense it is a journey that never ends.
Remember, if you receive messages that violate our standards for proper etiquette or otherwise make you feel uncomfortable we want to know. Please report the abuse and share with us the message(s) that were sent so we can take appropriate action.