While most people are well-aware that there are some rules they have to follow when talking to other people in real life, they often feel surprised when they understand they have to be polite online as well.
Does online dating etiquette even exist?
For sure, online dating etiquette exists. It's like a set of polite and respectful rules for how to behave when looking for love or making connections on dating apps and websites like Dating.com. It’s not just about saying “please” and “thank you” (which is also great, by the way), but also about reading the situation and acting accordingly - no pressure, no weird attempts to get closer to someone when they’re clearly not interested.
Just like in real life, following these rules can help you make a good impression and have better experiences when meeting people online. Here are some simple examples of online dating etiquette.
Being polite is a must both online and offline
Use polite language and treat others with respect. Even if someone doesn’t look exactly attractive to you, or doesn’t seem to be attracted to you, it’s not a reason to insult or threaten them.
In many cases, online dating etiquette is based on not being too clingy or too aggressive. Tame your temper and be patient.
If someone messages you, it's courteous to respond, even if you're not interested. Ignoring messages is considered impolite.
For sure, you don’t have to answer anyone if you don’t want to - but it’s better to at least say that directly, so you won’t waste someone’s time.
It's important to be truthful in your profile and in your conversations. Don't pretend to be someone you're not.
It’s just one of the basic online dating rules, but it’s also the one that people neglect the most. In fact, lying online won’t get you anywhere - your potential lover will quickly understand the truth as soon as they see you in person. Therefore, be better than that - be honest and clear, so you will waste neither yours nor anyone else’s time.
Everyone has boundaries
Everyone has their own comfort levels and boundaries. Be mindful of these and don't pressure others to do things they're not comfortable with.
While some people are interested in hookups and short-term relationships, others are not - and it’s not up to you to convince them otherwise. The same goes with nudes or sexting - lots of people aren’t into these things, and you shouldn’t push them.
Ghosting isn’t OK
If you're not interested in someone, it's better to politely let them know rather than suddenly cutting off contact. Ghosting can be hurtful.
It’s especially confusing when someone stops responding when everything seems alright. If you have low “social battery” or just lost your interest, then just say it - no one likes being confused or ignored.
Safety matters the most
Be cautious with personal information and meet new people in public places for safety reasons. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to know someone’s address or invite them to hang out at your place too soon - it might be seen as potentially unsafe or threatening.
Does online dating etiquette matter?
If you’re new to the concept of online dating, then you might not be sure if online dating rules actually matter that much. It’s way too easy to message hundreds of people a day and stop talking to them once you understand that you have no chemistry, so why bother?
In fact, the etiquette of online dating is something that can almost guarantee or destroy your success completely. Most rules of online dating are based on common human interaction rules, and you should follow them just to be seen as polite, pleasant, attractive, and intelligent. If you don’t want to be polite or pleasant, then potential partners won’t be interested at all.
There are a few things that people who respect the etiquette of online dating can enjoy.
It shows respect for other people. Treating others with courtesy and kindness, both in your profile and in your interactions, creates a positive and respectful environment.
Moreover, good manners make other people respect you, so you won’t face ghosting, insults, or mockery online. People just like individuals who are nice, funny, and know how to behave with others, so if you know the etiquette of online dating, then everyone wins.
Good etiquette can enhance your online dating experience. It makes you more approachable and increases your chances of forming meaningful connections.
You probably don’t want to experience online dating that is full of fights, insults, awkward situations, or rude answers. If you want it to be pleasant and fruitful, then provide the same experience to others.
Etiquette often includes safety precautions. Following these guidelines can help protect you and others from potential risks associated with online dating.
Sometimes being rude online can lead to stalkers following you, or just insulted people wanting to “talk to you in person”. You don’t need this experience, so don’t provoke anyone to be rude or threatening to you.
Etiquette encourages honesty. Being truthful in your profile and during conversations helps build trust and avoid disappointment when meeting in person.
Everyone wants to be seen as the best version of themselves - more attractive, more athletic, more successful, more interesting. Meanwhile, lying about who you are is not a solution, because your date will understand the truth pretty soon - usually the moment you meet in person.
Don’t waste anyone’s time and don’t waste yours - your perfect match will like you for who you are.
Proper etiquette promotes effective communication. Clear and respectful communication is key to understanding each other's intentions and expectations.
You don’t have to have amazing communication skills to meet someone special online, but being generally nice and ready to talk won’t hurt. Use your time to get to know someone better, try using humor and tell them something interesting about yourself, and you can improve your chances to succeed quickly.
Avoiding Hurt Feelings
It helps prevent hurt feelings. Online dating can be emotionally charged, and good etiquette can reduce the chances of causing unintentional harm.
Even if you don’t find someone attractive, it doesn’t mean that you should destroy their confidence or break their heart. Everyone wants to be happy, everyone wants to be liked by someone, and if you don’t think that you like that person, then just move on and keep on looking for someone special. You don’t have to break someone’s dreams of being loved.
By practicing good online dating etiquette, you can build your own confidence and self-esteem. It encourages positive interactions, which can boost your self-worth.
While dating online, you can be surprised at how many people actually find you attractive. Without dating platforms, you won’t probably ever meet them in real life, though. So it’s time to know your worth and understand that you actually look better than you might think.
Some things changed in the last decade
While online dating stays generally the same these days, there are still a few online dating rules that have changed in a decade. Therefore, mature people who’ve tried online dating before might feel confused while looking for a partner online, and that’s why younger singles often see online dating differently than older people.
Online dating has become popular as ever these days - so younger singles know the etiquette of online dating almost subconsciously. Now, let’s see what trends are pretty popular in the world of internet dating nowadays.
Online dating has become more accepted and popular. It's not as unusual as it once was, so more people are trying it.
In the past, online dating was mostly about hookups - and that’s why lots of people didn’t treat it seriously. Nowadays, most singles have their profiles on multiple dating platforms, and it’s pretty normal for them.
Moreover, dating platforms have become pretty useful for long-term relationships. That’s why it’s important to know the etiquette of online dating - so you can create a good first impression on your potential long-term partner.
Mobile dating apps like Tinder have become very popular. They've made it easier to find and connect with potential dates.
You don’t have to use old and poorly designed dating sites anymore - it’s way more convenient to use an app and to stay in touch with your potential lovers wherever you are. Nowadays it’s quick, convenient, and intuitive, so everyone can enjoy it.
Many people are now open to more casual relationships. You don't always have to be looking for a long-term commitment.
With technology improvements, video dates have become more common. People now sometimes have virtual dates before meeting in person.
That’s something that people from the past couldn’t have even imagined! Nowadays, you can not just look at another person’s picture, but also talk to them via the internet easily before you even meet in person.
It’s a perfect opportunity to fight your anxiety and shyness, and see whether you actually have chemistry between you and your potential lover.
People are more aware of safety. They're cautious about sharing personal information and often meet in public places when they decide to meet someone in person.
It’s mostly connected with the fact that people now can share their negative experiences easily, and lots of people will see and remember them. Therefore, online dating rules are strongly based on safety now, and neglecting them is often seen as a huge red flag.
There are now many specialized dating apps for different interests and communities. It's easier to find a platform that suits your specific preferences.
If you’re looking for a potential partner with similar interests, it’s way easier to find one on a special dating platform that’s dedicated to people like you.
Some people take things slower now. They spend more time getting to know each other online before rushing into in-person meetings.
The etiquette of online dating is now strongly based on the idea that serious relationships should be slow-paced, and even shorter romantic adventures often require some communication in advance. Therefore, be ready to chat for a while at first - your potential love interest needs to know you better.
Dating rules that don’t work online
While most rules of online dating came straight from regular dating, some real-life dating norms don’t work online. If you’re new to internet dating culture, then it’s better to learn the differences in advance, so you can make your online romantic experience more pleasant and productive.
So, there are some rules of online dating that differ from the real world a lot.
Playing hard to get
In traditional dating, playing hard to get can create intrigue. But online, it might lead to misunderstandings or the other person losing interest because they have many options.
Most people who come to dating platforms aren’t interested in playing games - they want effective, encouraging, pleasant experiences, so if you feel like the other person isn’t involved or interested, they just leave.
Moreover, modern singles respect other people’s “no” more, so they won’t push you.
Waiting for the other person to make the first move
In traditional dating, it's often expected that one person makes the first move. Online, it's okay for either person to start a conversation.
Therefore, if you want someone to talk to you, then message them first - and see what happens next. It’s especially useful for matching platforms, where you can only message to people who’ve already liked you in the first place.
Strict gender roles
In traditional dating, there are sometimes rigid expectations about who pays for dates or who plans them. Online, these roles can be more flexible, and discussions about these topics are common.
If a lady wants to be more active, then it’s her time to shine!
Holding back information
In traditional dating, you might reveal personal information gradually. In online dating, being open and honest in your profile can be more effective.
While it doesn’t mean that you should overload your profile with unnecessary information, you should say something about your age, occupation, kids. It’s important to know about these things for your future love interest, so don’t make them wait.
Being too formal
In traditional dating, formal manners are often expected. Online, being a bit more casual and friendly in your messages can help break the ice. Modern rules of online dating don’t want you to be too tough or emotionless - so use emojis, send memes, use humor, and be positive!
As you can see, the etiquette of internet dating is based on pretty simple things - politeness, honesty, respect. If you want to be liked and loved by someone, you have to be likable, and the first step is to act nicely and friendly.
While lies can help you to get someone’s attention at first, it soon becomes obvious that it doesn’t get you anywhere - so be straightforward about who you are and what you want online. That can increase your chances to succeed a lot, and your best potential partner can find you sooner as well.
Internet dating platforms give you hundreds of chances and opportunities, so relax, stay positive, and go for it!