The First Rule of Online Dating

I don’t know about you, but there seems to be something of an unspoken etiquette that has sprung up around online dating. At least, around how you behave when you’re on a date that you’ve arranged through an online dating site, rather than necessarily how you otherwise behave on and use an online dating site.

In particular, it seems to be a bit of a faux pas to actually talk about online dating. All a bit odd, surely? I mean we’re all adults, we’re all here for more or less the same reasons and you certainly can’t “accidentally” create an online profile and start trawling through the site. Well, I’ve met a couple of people who’ve tried to tell me it was all an accident, or they were just curious, but that kind of denial usually comes attached to a wedding band.

It’s all a bit like Fight Club – the first rule is: you don’t talk about it. Try it some time. While you’re on a date that you’ve arranged online, talk about things that have been mentioned on the website and in general you’ll find that’s okay. It’s like talking about any one of the myriad weird and wonderful things we come across on Reddit, Memebase or the sidebar articles of the local paper. It’s all fuel for the conversation and a chance to show how well read, nerdy or in need of getting out more you actually are.

Try talking about the dating website itself though, and the odds are that you’ve just killed the entire conversation. Whether you talk about it directly or indirectly, you’ll probably find the other person suddenly pretending to have an attack of deafness, or a grimace and a change of subject. With many people – though, admittedly not all – if you actually start talking about other dates you’ve been on, or plans for future dates with other people then you can watch the date you’re on crash and burn.

And don’t even get me started on the perils of confusing your current date for someone else you’ve been seeing, casual dater or not.

We all generally seem to want to pretend that online dating is not a thing. To pretend that it doesn’t really exist as an element in our lives and that we’ve just happened to randomly meet each other in this bar, or at the bowling alley or wherever we happen to be at the time. We just happen to know an awful lot about each other’s history and taste in movies by sheer cosmic coincidence.

So yeah, keep on pretending, or not – maybe this can be another part of the etiquette – that the unspoken sign you give your date that all is not well is to start being overly open and expansive about your past dating history, how long it’s been since an online date has worked out and how much you’re looking forward to dating their siblings…

Perhaps not…