Dear Aunt Bossy,
What do you think of meeting people through online matchmaking services? I know to be careful, but what do you think my odds are of finding someone?
Given that I have a number of friends who have successfully married after meeting on Match.com and lifelong friends whom I met through Facebook, I know it can work.
However, I am generally astute about people, and very good at reading between the lines, but have chosen some friends, in person, even recently, who have turned out not to be what I thought, so everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt.
At the start, when you write your own profile, be sure you show your personality. Liking to walk on the beach and cuddle does not put you in a unique position. Be honest, so you can save time and energy by pursuing people who at least pretend to like what you have to offer.
A “few extra pounds” is meaningless. Take a chance and post how many, or show a picture that makes it obvious. You certainly don’t want someone who is not interested because you are skinny, or overweight, or short or tall. Be specific, but present yourself in your best TRUE light.
Do not lie. If you meet a date, he or she will not forgive you if it is obvious that what you presented is false. You cannot redeem yourself from that kind of subterfuge. By the way, if you are very strongly tempted to lie about your assets, you need more than a date, you need some serious counseling.
Be very, very sharp when you assess profiles. Compare the writing in their profile with the other written messages. I saved a dear and intelligent friend from a BIG Match.com mistake by pointing out that the same person did not write the profile and following message. I also pointed out that the video chats, which were slightly out of synch with his words, were altered YouTube videos from the person he was impersonating. There are professional groups sitting in big rooms in foreign countries typing away while an “expert” who speaks English circulates to help them compose their seductions.
Beware of sob stories. Widowers whose wives “died in childbirth” are a dime a dozen on these dating sites. Women in distress know no bounds.
If you don’t feel you are savvy enough about writing, find a friend who is and have that person assess. Also check the pictures carefully for any indication of phoniness. This is not easy, but at least try.
Need I say “Google,” “Facebook,” “LinkedIn,” and “Twitter”?
These sites are where you find out if your potential partner is married. In fact this can expose a person as both married and stupid enough to think one can hide on the Internet.
In preparing for this article, I joined a dating site for three days, and was horrified at how many local married men have their pictures up there, and insist that they are single. (Next column I will write about some of the other horrors, but I don’t have that much space this time.)
When I was researching my friend’s “beau,” I found pictures of his wife, family, home and the Facebook post by his wife with the air bnb mansion where his wife said they had spent the weekend. He sent the same picture to my friend and said it was his house.
My friend is an intelligent, educated woman, but she bought his act hook, line, and sinker. She was devastated.
Do not arrange to meet anyone you have not spoken to on the phone. You will be astounded at how quickly people show their true intentions. Your first meet should always, always be in a public place, preferably one where you do not have to walk through an enormous parking lot to get to the meeting place. And, please, always let at least one person know where and what time and who (at least who you think) you are meeting.
This sounds as if I have targeted my thoughts to women, but I have not. In our society, men are targets for all kinds of things, and can easily be drugged, kidnapped, or scammed.
I don’t want to discourage you, because I have seen some real love and friendship stories come to life on these sites. If love were easy to find, you wouldn’t have to be so careful.
And, yeah, do not expect to find your “soul mate” overnight. Try to find people with whom you can have a good time, talk, laugh, and then see where that leads.
Good Luck. Let me know what happens. Let me know what I should wear to the wedding.