In the world of online dating misrepresentation is at an all time high. Janice, a fitness enthusiast, was excited about her e-mail exchange with Rob. He seemed to share her interest in fitness and the outdoors. They wrote about mountain biking, skiing and golfing. Rob suggested an interest in these activities, but never mentioned once having engaged in any of them.
When Janice and Rob met it became apparent that he was not a fitness or outdoors enthusiast. In real life he also looked much older than in the picture that accompanied his online profile. He had misrepresented himself to impress Janice. Needless to say, they parted after their first face-to-face encounter with mixed feelings. Discovering incompatibility in e-mail exchanges becomes much easier if you follow these tips:
While mingling among singles in a highly competitive environment you may be tempted to paint your very best picture. Putting your best foot forward does not mean inflating your image or exaggerating in your profile. The key to finding a compatible love is being authentic instead of pretending to be what you are not. Being real may not guarantee a huge number of online dates, but if you are serious about, love the bottom line is quality, not quantity. To find a like-minded date, don’t play games. When your profile rings true, you will probably attract someone who is also truthful.
DIG DEEPER once you have begun your email exchange.
Ask questions about his or her life, values, beliefs, hobbies, likes and dislikes. Rephrase your questions in subsequent e-mails and compare the answers. Continue to go back to the person’s profile and look for discrepancies. For example, to verify a person’s age, ask when they either left high school or graduated from university. To find out if he or she really loves hiking, ask where they usually hike. To check employment, ask what he or she does during a regular workday and if they enjoy their work. Aaron believed he was e-mailing the kindest girl until he asked Kyra about her relationship with her sister. Kyra electronically flew off the handle calling her sister names. Aaron new then that he did not like the other Kyra he had just been exposed to. The only thing you risk by asking questions is that your new e-mail friend will drop “out of the loop.”
BRING UP ISSUES that are important to you.
If one of your priorities is family, talk about your respective families. It won’t take long to find out if this is a shared priority. If you love traveling, raise this topic to see if there is excitement or if he or she has even boarded a plane. Perhaps education, knowledge or current issues are of great interest to you. In that case, raise these matters in your dialogue to probe his or her awareness and interest. A healthy lifestyle might be important to you. Talk about it! There is no point in involving yourself with someone with no interest in a healthy lifestyle. Whatever your values, beliefs or worldviews, use the e-mail exchange to reflect on these issues. Read between the lines. We all have a tendency to read or see things we like, even when they are not there. This practice will help you to determine compatibility early in the game. Shared values are important ingredients for long-term commitment.
REMEMBER the reason why you are meeting someone online.
If you just want to increase your circle of friends, by all means have fun and meet everyone. If you are searching for the love of your life, be selective and dig deeper. Don’t waste each other’s time. Far too many singles have depleted their dating energy by e-mailing all night long with people who they would never introduce to their parents. Be smart and cut to the chase!
© 2005 Allie Ochs, Relationship Expert, Coach, Speaker and the Author of “Are You Fit To Love?”