Psychology of Online Dating

Next up in our Beginners Guide to Online Dating we have Madeleine Mason.

Madeleine is a psychologist and director of dating expert company PassionSmiths. She helps people struggling in their dating and relationship life, seeing people in private one-to-one sessions or via Skype. She also runs seminars and events, regularly contributes to Psychologies magazine lifelab blog and is editor of the Vialucci Magazines Romance Section.

Madeleine has written about the psychology of online dating and is well worth a read, for the full transcript visit the Beginners Guide to Online Dating

ONLINE DATING IS JUST ONE WAY OF MEETING PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU USE APPS OR WEBSITES. IT IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENT THAN GOING TO A CLUB, EXCEPT YOU NEEDN’T GO OUT, DRESS UP OR GET DRUNK TO MEET ANYONE. AS WITH CLUBS, LOOKS MATTER, AND THOSE WHO HAVE PUT MOST EFFORT IN AT LOOKING THEIR BEST ARE MOST LIKELY TO MEET SOMEONE. SOME PEOPLE MAY BE SINGLE, OTHERS PRETEND TO BE, SOME PEOPLE ARE GENUINE, SOME ARE NOT. THE SAME GOES FOR ONLINE DATING. IN THIS SECTION I WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH THE TYPICAL EXPERIENCES YOU WILL ENCOUNTER AND HOW YOU MIGHT DEAL WITH EACH PART OF THE ‘JOURNEY’ ON DATING ONLINE

Drawing on the analogy of ‘going out’ where you start the evening with hopeful anticipation of meeting someone you fancy, the same applies to when you start out with online dating. The beginning is often filled with hope that there is someone out there for you, and more often than not there is, but you need to put in a certain amount of time and effort in creating a great profile and contacting people. The quality of the profile reflects how serious you are about meeting someone. If at a conscious level you think you are ready to meet someone, but create a mediocre and sloppy profile page, you have set yourself up for failure. Don’t do it. Nobody can see your great personality behind lousy photos and self-conscious declarations of ‘I’m not sure what to write here’.

Tip: Use the goldilocks principle of not too much information and not too little

As with most beginnings, you are likely to feel excited, something lies ahead, it could be great, but you don’t know.
For anyone who has tried job hunting, you will learn that the process of meeting someone online is not too dissimilar. Knowing what you are looking for is key. Some of my clients fall in this category where the chief complaint is ‘I keep meeting the wrong person’, ‘why do I always attract the weird ones?’ or some variant. The trick is being clear about what you are looking for, being ok with asking for that and most importantly not being needy about it. This demonstrates confidence, and confidence is attractive.

As with in a club or indeed a recruitment process, you will be rejected. Some people simply don’t reply to your advances, others may actively decline. Do not take it personally. You do not know what is going on in people’s lives. Some may have just met someone from the site, be busy with work, out of credit on their subscription, in need of a break from online dating, inundated with messages, lost their cat, getting back with their ex, whatever. Treat each non-answer as that and move on.

For those contacts you do engage in, unless you are looking for a pen pal, get the communication offline as soon as you feel comfortable with the person or know enough about them for you to want to meet them. Flirt and banter is fine, but if this continues indefinitely you risk disappointment when you meet. The brain has a habit of ‘filling-in-the-blanks’. Any incomplete information you have about someone, your mind is likely to conjure.

Thanks Madeleine! I hope you are all enjoying the series, if you cant wait for next week, then head over and download the full Online Dating Guide

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