Welcome to Day 19 of 30 Days of Dating Advice for Intellectual Badasses! Yes, we’re venturing into the crazy world of online dating for a few days. I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person who said online dating was easy. Sure, it’s easy to sign up and toss up a profile; it’s a lot harder to actually make it work to your advantage.

In this day and age, it’s hard to avoid online dating. Everyone’s doing it. That’s why Changing Your Game, my book for men, includes many chapters on how to succeed at online dating. I’m also finished with my online dating book for women: Find The Love of Your Life Online. And one of the very first things I tackle in the book is one the fundamental reasons people struggle with online dating:

They have unrealistic expectations.

And why shouldn’t they? When you’ve dated conventionally your entire life, it’s easy to assume the same rules apply when dating online. But many of them don’t. Here are a few things many people learn the hard way when dating online:

 

Dating Online Means Dating a LOT of Strangers

Humans are naturally wary of strangers. It’s an evolved survival mechanism. Thus, online dating – which involves interacting with and dating strangers – can be uncomfortable, especially at first. This is especially true for women, who have their safety running in the back of their minds.

 

Dating Online is a Numbers Game

In conventional dating, you’ve met the person and developed at least some interest in him or her before you go on a date. Thus, the weeding out process begins before you go on any dates. Online dating is different: you have to go out with someone to even know if there’s interest. In other words, the weeding process often occurs during or after a date.

What this means is that you have to chat with and go out with far more people than in conventional dating, and it takes weeding through a lot more people before you find a “good” one. This can be overwhelming for many people, especially Intellectual Badass who’s shy, introverted, or inexperienced.

 

Dating Online Means Juggling

In conventional dating, it’s uncommon to meet someone with whom you experience enough mutual interest to warrant a date, and even rarer for this to happen with multiple people at once. But online it’s nearly a guarantee. Some people find this overwhelming as well; others are put off when they find out their date is dating others or still logging into their accounts.

 

First Dates are Different

The conventional first date is dinner, possibly more. And why not? You’ve probably already established mutual interest and a longer, more involved date is warranted. When dating online, first dates are shorter, less involved, and cost less. Really, a first online date isn’t a date at all – it’s a “meet-and-greet,” an opportunity to meet someone and decide if a date is warranted. If you view it otherwise, it can raise expectations too high.

 

A Profile vs. a Person

Anyone who’s dated online knows that people don’t always match their profiles. Sometimes this is because people are intentionally deceptive – an unavoidable part of dating online – but often it’s because you cannot capture a person in a pic and two paragraphs. This is true even if the profile is well done (and most aren’t).

 

Men: Not Getting Replies is Normal

One of the things that men struggle with most is that they send out emails and don’t get responses, or meet women in person who don’t feel “chemistry” and don’t want a second date. As annoying as this is, it’s par for the course. What many men don’t realize is that, in this environment, women are often slower to develop interest. A man can form interest or attraction for a woman based on a photo alone; women can too, but it’s far more common that they must interact with a man for a while before they develop interest.

 

Women: Getting Emails from the Wrong Men is Normal

Yes, you will get tons of emails from men old enough to be your father, men making sexual remarks, men who live across the country, and men who clearly don’t fit your criteria. Many men have learned to spray out emails in order to increase their odds of getting a response.

 

Comments? Let us know about your online dating experiences!