Internet Dating: The dos and don’ts! | The Student Pocket Guide
by Neela Kumar

Technology impacts on every part of our lives, even our relationships! Internet dating is becoming more and more popular for the average busy single, as you can check out people on the go wherever you are, whenever you want. However, no one really gives you the 101 of how to “internet date”, simply because it’s not the same as meeting people in real life (in some ways it’s easier). Here are some dos and don’ts of how to be a successful online dater:

Signing up

Do: Firstly consider the different types of sites out there and the costs to sign up. There are loads out there now suited to specific needs whether that be race, field of employment or age. A bit of free research won’t go astray as some even allow you to review your matches before you sign up.

Don’t: Sign up to loads and pay for all of them as this will add up! It’s unlikely you’re going to need that many.


Do: Upload a nice, flattering photo and make sure you smile! It’s a really attractive quality that will instantly draw attention to your profile. Also, make sure it’s of you solely; no one wants to see an ex in a dating profile picture!

Don’t: Put up a revealing photo, or put up one that looks like a mug shot! Also, definitely don’t Photoshop or put up a fake photo – they’ll find out if they meet you! As well as this, make sure that the photo isn’t out of date – a recent one is best.


Do: Keep it interesting and write out your hobbies and interests. Write what it is you’re looking for and a bit about yourself and your physical appearance. If you’re that kind of person, a good joke will make people smile when reading it. Use positive language – everyone loves an optimist!

Don’t: Seem overconfident, but don’t be too modest either – self confidence is key! Don’t put all your woes and problems in there as it’s not going to be attractive if you’re negative. Also, being desperate won’t work in your favour so don’t come across as too needy.

Sending Interest Messages

Do: Send messages to people if you are interested and keep it positive. Some sites have a default message that they send out to people if you’re interested in them, but you can always personalise these as it’s a nice touch.

Don’t: Be too direct or seem too needy, and as above, don’t offload too many of your problems straight away. Don’t make things up or lie about yourself and definitely don’t hark on about future marriage or kids!

Getting In Contact

Do: Swap numbers/social network addresses if you feel you want to contact them outside of the site. Talking is always a great way to see if you have chemistry and even video calling before you meet might be nice.

Don’t: Give out any personal information like your address or work details. You don’t know who you may be meeting sometimes, so it’s better to be safe online.

Arranging a Meet-up

Do: Meet up if it’s time (and only if you’re comfortable) in a public, crowded place such as for coffee or lunch. Make sure to meet up somewhere in between where you both live if it’s convenient or if they live far away. Do let a friend know who you’re meeting, when and where as it’s always better to be safe.

Don’t: Go to their house or invite them to yours or your place of work because if things go wrong this could be awkward.

The First Date

Do: Keep to neutral subjects and talk positively about yourself. It’s also important to listen to them, so try to keep a balance of both. You can talk more openly about things you couldn’t online too. Arrange another date if it goes well, but if not then have an emergency contact to call or text you just in case you want to leave if things start going wrong.

Don’t: Leave or stand them up if you don’t find them attractive – always be polite and wait until after the date (as above, you can always cut it short). Don’t be too clingy or forward, and don’t put all your hopes into it – it’s only a first meeting! Don’t get angry or upset if you have a difference of opinions, sometimes people seem different online to real life.

After The First Date

Do: Talk to them again if you like them and arrange another date. Let them know you had a nice time! If you didn’t, then let them down gently and wish them luck for the future, but be careful unless they get upset. It’s best then to just block their numbers or delete them if this happens.

Don’t: Be offensive and never contact them again, everyone deserves to know and don’t lead them on. Also, don’t become too clingy now and make sure you’re both contributing to the communication.


Do: Discuss after a while if you’re going to be exclusive. You both started on a dating site so it’s likely that your partner’s profile may still be on it. You need to talk about this if you want to start a proper relationship. If you have other people interested in you then let them know you’ve found someone else.

Don’t: Stay on the site or show interest in other people’s profile’s whilst in an exclusive relationship. It’s similar to cheating if you’re in contact with other people who you are interested in – it’s a bit like having your cake and eating it!

Internet dating isn’t always for everyone, so don’t worry if it doesn’t work out! There are plenty more fish in the sea and lots of single people out there. Not everyone will have a success story or enjoy it, but it’s certainly worth a try!