Many people appear to be unsure about online dating. They are unsure about what to do, how it works and what the rules are. As a result they shy away from looking for a date online. In reality the process and etiquette for Online dating are exactly the same as traditional methods of meeting people.
Traditionally the dating process starts in public spaces such as wine bars, clubs and parties etc. or semi public places such as the work place or an introduction via friends or family. At these social gatherings people might see a person they are attracted to and will gauge whether the other person is equally interested in them. This usually takes the form of reading body language or establishing eye contact. With dating sites the process is pretty much the same. You login and start searching for profiles of people who share your interests and who you find physically attractive, then you send them a wink. Then they can look at your dating profile and if they like what they see they can wink back. Now you know that there is a shared attraction.
When a shared interest has been established, it is time to introduce yourself. In a traditional setting you would approach the other person and say something such as “Hello, my name is”. On the internet the only difference is that the first introduction is done using a dating service messaging system or e-mail which is supported up by your profile on the dating site. With online dating you can keep personal details such as phone numbers private until you know the person a little better, and can take more time to get to know them before committing to a first date.
The initial date is the same whether you met at work or on a dating site. It is the first time you have both gone out together. You might meet for coffee or drinks, you may go to the theatre or a gallery. At the end of the date you will say your goodbyes and might agree to meet again, then go your separate ways. At this point it is quite common for people to start asking themselves if the person they went out with liked them and enjoyed the date or were just being kind. Many online dating sites have a facility that lets you send virtual presents in the form of small images of chocolates or e-cards and so on. Many people are uncertain what purpose these serve or when to use them. Personally I think that they are a great way to tell someone that you enjoyed the date and would like to see them again. If they reply thanking you then in all probability they feel the same way.
Once that first date has been lined up people often find themselves asking two questions. First, is it time to take down my dating site profile? Second is it acceptable to arrange to meet other people if I have arranged a date with someone? With regards removing your profile, I would suggest that it is too early to do this, after all at this point in time you are just acquaintances. That first date could be the start of a long and happy relationship but then again it could be the only date with that person. As for meeting with other people it is quite acceptable to do so at this stage for the same reasons that you should not take down you profile just yet. Removing your dating profile is something that you should do when you feel that the person you have been dating is someone that you would like to develop a closer relationship with. When you get to this point you should talk about this with the person you are dating and decide that you both want to move the relationship to the next stage and that you will both delete your profiles. This is also the point at which you should stop arranging dates with other people on the site.