Meeting and dating online has, for a long time, been frowned upon because it was mainly seen as an act of desperation. However, as we get more tech savvy and the world becomes a global village, this way of meeting and getting to know someone is becoming more and more widely accepted.
Many people will also say that the ‘live pool’ is not bursting with numbers and in the bid to beat the ‘ukame” (real or imagined) many are bound to find themselves looking for cyber love, Facebook included, in the quest to find the ‘elusive’ Adam or Eve. That special someone is certainly not going to find you lying on the couch hogging the TV remote, rewinding Mexican soaps or watching the EPL (some effort is needed) and wondering if a mass exodus (to unknown land) of beaus and belles has occurred. (For those not versed in Kiswahili, ‘ukame’ means drought; in this case, we are not talking of rain, but of possibilities of dating).
I am sure you have read all the Dos and Don’ts about online dating and hook-ups (well, unless of course you have never been presented with this obvious challenge). If so, then you probably know about practising patience. This is because it takes time and unlimited patience to write emails, updates, maintain chats and Skype calls. Online dating is a NO sprint; you could sprint all the way to a mental break down after discovering your ‘fun-loving sensitive knight’ is nowhere near what he claimed to be and could actually be a social misfit (we will not even write the possibilities here ;).
Then there is the other advice about photos or rather an image of you. This seems logical; however, we need not mention that photos are not very reliable. Does Photoshop ring a bell? Yes, please do not post your photo of when you were 23; Eves, we know you think you probably looked your best then but we are in the ‘now’ and you don’t want him to think that he has been PUNKed! if and when you end up meeting; Adam will scrutinise you, seeing some semblance with your profile photo but wondering whether the photo was that of your younger sister or not! To Adams as well, do not puff up your biceps on the photo or stand on a stool to make her see how tall you are – you do not have to touch the sky to be likable :).
Another Do is about communication. When you communicate, talk about yourself without sounding like an egoistic soul (e.g. ‘want her to finish off my sentences’, ‘want him to have the energy of a stallion, etc ). State what you will bring to the relationship/union. Let the other person know a little bit about you (honesty is the best policy) unless you are ready to survive on spinach and carrot soup for months, now that you need to shed the weight you literally slashed off when you told her or him how much you weigh!
DON’T overestimate the time and magnetic chemistry online. Time online can seem like aeons ; consider that over chat or email, you may share and get to ‘know’ each other much faster because you are both out to win each other over, and are still in the state of excitement about meeting. However, you won’t really get to know if the person is your type or whether your personalities click and whether the sparks are not just caused by the friction between your IP addresses! ; It’s amazing how much people can reveal about themselves when chatting but not when they have to talk to each other. So you need to talk – I mean voice calls – at some point and meet the person and needless to say, this is where it can get very tricky.
DON’T get carried away by promises of what they say they can do; a romantic escapade with candlelight dinners, red roses and nights on the beach under a starlit sky are easy to type. Of course Adams know what Eves want to hear – have you watched the movie What Women Want? – so whatever he says, take it with a pinch of salt until you meet him.The same applies to Adams, do not believe everything what Eve tells you, no matter how sweet, innocent and sexy she sounds. Make your impression after meeting her. Exercise caution.
For those who are in relationships (assuming the ukame is not endemic) and you are relying on the internet to keep the relationship alive, here are some general tips:
Maintain regular chat dates no matter what the time difference is or the work schedules and keep your promises. This ensures that you give each other the time and attention that you deserve. It will save you the trouble of logging on all day waiting for your special someone to log on! Being apart is already a toll on the relationship, not knowing how your better half is doing for days is a relationship killer as you end up being strangers to each other and suspicion is bred.
Make sure that your chat is not always ‘heavy’ but be real and honest about how you feel. You are human and you go through different motions, talk about those as well.
Address insecurity issues. It is normal to feel insecure especially when you are relying on chat messages for updates. An update about an activity without disclosing the characters involved is not really an update and is likely to make temperatures and BP levels spike :). For example, say ‘I am going to meet Joe or Mary my head of marketing’ instead of ‘I am meeting a friend/colleague’. This way, she or he will know you have nothing to hide. Avoid interrogations. You are not the CIA.
Remember safety first. DON’T give out personal information which would put you in any form of risk.
As always, we are looking forward to hear your experiences, opinion and advice!