Making ContactWritten by Carole Lipari
Whether you're sending a note to a member of an online community or responding to an online personal ad, how you start an e-mail relationship can determine whether it will ever become more than an e-mail relationship. Here are some things to think about when making first contact:
Don't Send Form Letters Obviously some information in your introductory e-mail will be same no matter who you're sending it to. Your location, age, profession and other details you may wish to include are relatively constant. Just make sure you add that personal touch to your message. It's always a good idea to mention what about person you're writing to compelled you to respond to them. No one wants to feel like they've been caught in a huge net someone tossed into cyberspace to see what they could catch and no matter how carefully you word a form letter, they almost always read like form letters. Also, you may end up contacting same person a week later from a different personals site and receiving same form letter twice never makes recipiant feel special.
Be Honest Of course you want to highlight your best qualities when introducing yourself to someone you're interested in but there is no easier way to sabatoge an online relationship than lying. This also includes exagerating, implying something false and being non-specific enough to avoid truth. You don't have to provide unflattering information in first e-mail but you shouldn't address a subject if you don't want to be honest about it. The "real" people, ones you want to meet, don't expect perfection. In fact, if someone seems too good to be true, they probably are. So be honest, be yourself and start off on right foot. What might begin as an online flirtation could turn into real thing unless you've built yourself an image you can't live up to.
Improve The OddsWritten by Carole Lipari
What are statistics on successful online matches? No one really knows since making a connection on Web is such a private and personal matter. From articles in media and success stories spread by word of mouth in chat rooms and forums, we know that many couples are getting together in real world - some even making a lifelong commitment. But for each success story, there are at least a few online relationships that didn't make transition to offline. These tips may help you stack deck in your favor and improve odds.
Keep It Local Although Internet allows us to meet people from all over world, best chance for making a successful online to offline transition is to start with someone in same geographic area. The stories of couples who got together (and stayed together) despite thousands of miles between them may be romantic but they are few and far between. While some singles seem to seek out a long distance relationship, they might actually be seeking comfort that built-in obstacles provide. Online-only relationships can be great for those who are looking for fantasy but if you are seeking a real offline relationship, best to start with someone relatively nearby.
Make Communication A Two-Way Street Just as in real life where opposites often attract, many online couples have a "talker" and a "listener". The listener asks questions, offers advice/support and will hang on every word from talker. Sounds great in theory to have someone you can tell all your troubles to, share your successes with and who will be there for you whenever you have time to sit down at computer. The problem is once these one-sided couples leave online world and have that first date, talker knows virtually nothing about listener. It's better to give up a bit of spotlight and get to know your chat partner now so you don't end up seated across table from a complete stranger later.
Keep It Honest How tempting it is to stretch or hide truth from someone you only "see" online! Trading photographs is a good start but trading information is important too. Of course you shouldn't give out personal information to just anyone online - it isn't smart or safe to do so - but if you are involved enough with someone to consider meeting them away from computer, it's important to be honest about yourself and your life situation. We've all heard stories of couples who spent months online together only for one half to find out other is older, younger, married or even a different gender than what they always claimed to be. So keep your own end of conversation honest and pay close attention to what you're being told (and especially what you're not being told). When that little voice in your head tells you someone is too good to be true, they just might be. Don't let wishful thinking keep you from asking important questions or trusting your instincts.