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How to Be Interested but Not Overly Persistent While Online Dating

by Karen L. Blair

Online dating has become more and more popular over the past decade, but the process of how to date online can seem unclear or confusing to many. One aspect that can be particularly challenging for online daters is the regulation of contact so as to communicate an appropriate amount of interest but not appear to be overbearing or clingy. Finding the right balance is further complicated by the fact that the right balance differs for each individual, and therefore no single rule will work for every online relationship.

Find the Right Balance

The early stages of communication set the tone for the relationship.

Begin communication with a new partner briefly, but with enough detail to show that you read the individual's profile and are interested in that person specifically. For example, introduce yourself and mention a few things that you think you have in common or that you found interesting while reading over the profile. Include a question or two, but not many more, so that the individual can easily respond to your message.

Sending too many messages too soon can be overwhelming.

Match your communication frequency with the other person. Once you have begun to communicate with someone, try to find the appropriate balance between showing enough interest and not being overly persistent. This balance will be different for everyone and for every combination of two people. Try to work with a 1:1 ratio, such that for every message you receive, you return one message. Try not to send a second message until you have received a response. Using the 1:1 ratio of communication allows you to send as many messages as the other person is sending, which may be multiple messages a day or only a few per week.

Following the cues the other person gives can help avoid miscommunication.

Pay attention to the cues the other person is giving to you. If the person you are communicating with sends one-word or one-line answers, whereas you consistently send novel-length answers, it may be a sign that you do not share the same interest in communicating with one another. Try to match the length of your messages to theirs. The other person may simply prefer to communicate through frequent short messages, or the other person may not be very interested in communicating.

Tip

  • Include interesting pieces of information about yourself in your online profile; this will give others something to mention when they send you a message.

Warning

  • Don't assume that just because a person has not answered your message he or she is not interested. Give the person some time. If you still don't receive a response, avoid sending a message accusing the person of ignoring you - this is a red flag that will deter further communication.

About the Author

Karen L. Blair has been professionally writing since 2001. Her work has been published in academic journals such as the "Journal of Sex Research," "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" and "Psychology & Sexuality." Blair received her M.Sc. in psychology at Acadia University and her Ph.D. in social psychology at Queen's University. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow and research consultant.

Photo Credits

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