Anyone who has done any online dating or listened to other singles knows that dating horror stories abound. You hear less about the successes, and there are plenty, believe me. I'm one of them -- I met my husband online. If people like me weren't finding love online, Internet dating sites would have gone out of business years ago.
But if there is ever a time for horror, it's Halloween. If you need a few lessons on how to scare the willies out of your cyber sweetheart, try some of these Trickster Tips. You won't even need to yell "Boo!"
How to be a Cyber Trickster:
1. Lie -- about your age, weight, height or marital status.
2. Post an old or deceptive photo. (Most men have learned how far a "glamour shot" is from reality, but not all...).
3. Start writing/talking about sex in the second email or first phone call.
4. Neglect your personal hygiene. Do not have your teeth cleaned in recent memory. Or take a bath. Or clean your nails. Or have your hair cut. Or your gray roots dyed.
5. Treat your first date like a trip to the laundromat. Dress accordingly.
6. Expect the worst and make it happen.
7. Take your time. Be late. Very late.
8. Forget your wallet.
9. Show up drunk or high, or proceed to get that way.
10. Say that you will call or email and then don't.
Scary, huh? Well, if you'd like to be more of a treat and less of a trick, avoid the boo-boos that so many others have made before you. Take some of these hints on being a Cyber Treat.
How to be a Cyber Treat:
1. Look like your photo.
2. Tell the truth, especially about things a potential mate would want to know (relationship histories, children and families, disease or disabilities, or financial difficulties, for instance). If you have a secret that keeps you from dating, you need my article "Do you have a secret? How to tell your sweetheart your worst"
3. Be polite, kind, responsible and prompt in your communications. Kindness and courtesy cost nothing.
4. If you are not interested in pursuing contact, say so in an email. Be tactful. This process is hard enough on everyone. Rude and nasty need to take a hike.
5. Do not continue contact or date if you know that this person is not for you, just because you don't know how to say "no" or don't want to hurt the other's feelings. It is cowardly, not kind. Exit graciously and free your date up to find someone who will appreciate them.
6. Take your share of the responsibility in keeping communications going and building a relationship. Dare to initiate contact, offer plans for meeting, and be ready to share expenses.
7. Show by your behavior that you treat the possible relationship as important. Groom and dress for meetings -- neat and clean go a long way, as does freshly barbered or hair-styled. Show up when you said you would. Offer to help pay.
8. Try to relax and don't push yourself in an attempt to impress. If you are interested in your date and ask questions, that will help you feel less in the spotlight.
9. Avoid alcohol and drugs -- one drink at the most. You need your senses totally sharp so that you can decide whether you want to see this person again. And no one is more attractive drunk or high.
10. Expect and insist on the same respect and honesty from your date as you are willing to provide for them. If your date misbehaves or you find that you have been lied to or misled, you are not obligated to see this person again or even endure the rest of the date.
Despite the "trick or treat" of Halloween, most of us want the treat part and would just as soon skip the trick. No one likes feeling tricked. If you'd like the option of a second date, improve your chances dramatically: make yourself into a treat.
P.S. If you are unsure if you are a "trick or treat" you could use my book "Find a Sweetheart Soon!" It will take you through all the ways that singles undermine themselves in their search for love, and help you design your solutions. There is nothing like being ready when the right person shows up. "Find a Sweetheart Soon!" will get you readier than you can imagine.
Kathryn Lord, romance coach and author, met her now husband Drew online. Out of the dating world for years, Kathryn conquered her fears, found her perfect mate and built a solid relationship. She put what she has learned into writing in "Find A Sweetheart Soon! Your Love Trip Planner for Women." A psychotherapist, Kathryn has been helping singles and couples for more than 25 years. She is on the web at Find-a-Sweetheart.com.