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Your ul­ti­mate guide to dig­i­tal min­gling Let Joanna Coles, for­mer ed­i­tor-in-chief of US Cos­mopoli­tan and one of the most con­nected women in the world, be your men­tor, with five pearls of wis­dom for meet­ing IRL...

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

Con­nec­tions are key

A lack of first­date chem­istry isn’t al­ways bad news. Joanna thinks we need to turn down the pres­sure and treat dat­ing apps as ‘in­tro­duc­ing tools’ to ex­pand real­life so­cial net­works: ‘They can in­tro­duce you to peo­ple who may, in turn, in­tro­duce you to some­one – maybe their best friend, brother, col­league or cousin – who you de­cide is spe­cial.’ Ex­cuse us while we hunt for Chris Hemsworth’s cousin on Tin­der...

Make the first move

Granted, walk­ing up to a stranger is ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing, but the semi­anony­mous world of in­ter­net dat­ing is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to take ini­tia­tive. Joanna points out the ab­sur­dity of leav­ing your ro­man­tic sto­ry­line to fate or the whim of other peo­ple. ‘When you feel a con­nec­tion and see some­thing you want, take steps to­wards it. Don’t sit back and put your trust in the uni­verse,’ she says. Plus, re­search shows that women are 2.5 times more likely to get a re­sponse than men are when they make the first move* – odds we can cer­tainly get be­hind...

Don’t fill in the blanks

It’s nat­u­ral to hope for the best in the run­up to a first date, but try not to jump to con­clu­sions about your matches. Cy­ber­psy­chol­o­gist Dr Mary Aiken warns, ‘You only get cu­rated pieces of in­for­ma­tion about an­other per­son, so you have the ten­dency to fill in the blanks with pos­i­tive at­tributes.’ In other words, it’s pretty un­likely that the mys­te­ri­ous man you matched with was too busy sav­ing drown­ing kit­tens out­side a hu­man rights con­fer­ence to write his Tin­der bio.

Al­ways put safety first

Ac­cord­ing to Joanna’s book, Love Rules, the ‘dis­so­nance be­tween the on­line/real­world re­la­tion­ship’ of­ten found on dat­ing apps could ex­plain the sixfold in­crease in sex­ual as­sault as­so­ci­ated with on­line dat­ing.** What’s more, it’s re­ported that ‘71 per cent of those re­ported as­saults took place

on the first date and in the vic­tim’s or the of­fender’s home.’ The les­son? Make sure you meet in a pub­lic place, and get their full name so you can have a scroll of their so­cial­me­dia pro­files be­fore­hand.

Man­age your ex­pec­ta­tions

On­line dat­ing can make find­ing new part­ners feel ef­fort­less, but that doesn’t mean every date will sweep you off your feet. Love Rules urges daters to be pa­tient, be­cause ‘it’s in those awk­ward, get­ting­to­know­one­an­other mo­ments in real­life places that love starts to blos­som.’ Words to re­mem­ber next time that first kiss ac­ci­den­tally be­comes a first head­butt.

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