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...
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.