Top Ten Rules of Netiquette for Online Dating

+ enlarge

Online dating has certainly changed since I created my first profile sixteen years ago. We’ve gone from dial-up to WiFi, bulletin boards to mobile dating apps, and everything in between. But one thing certainly hasn’t changed—the rules of netiquette for online daters. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or are trying to decide whether to add that date to your calendar, these simple guidelines will help you be more successful while looking for love online.

1. The Google Rule
: Googling your date. We all do it. It’s just too easy to find out the juicy details of the person you have on your date card. If you do decide to do a search to be more comfortable that the profile matches the person behind the keyboard, please don’t tell your date he or she has been “Googled” on your first date. When someone brags about the fact that they did a background check on you before your first date, one could be perceived as a stalker. If you choose to “Google” a date, it’s best to keep it to yourself.

2. The Ex Rule: Never discuss an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or ex-spouse on a first date. If your date insists on talking about spousal support or how happy they are that their payments are about to end, change the subject, or run. He’s just not over her or him.

3. The Cut-Off Rule: Authenticity Matters. I urge singles to be honest about their age and weight in their profiles. There’s nothing more disappointing when you don’t recognize your date. However, we all know that some people want to fit into a search and age is one of the biggest misrepresentations in a profile. If you feel compelled to stretch it, please don’t subtract more than 5–10 pounds off your actual weight or 5–10 years from your age on your online dating profile. I can’t force singles to tell their correct age online, so if you do choose to subscribe to this cut-off rule, please come clean about your age either on the phone, in the body of your profile, or on your first date—especially if you want to make it to a second date.

4. The Food and Beverage Rule: Sharing food and feeding each other on a date is fine once you’ve known someone for a while. But if you suggest sharing an appetizer on a first date or agree to meet for coffee without the intention of ordering a beverage, you’ll be looked at as cheap. I recall one date who brought his own bottle of water to the coffee bar and another who refused to ask if I was thirsty and didn’t offer to buy a beverage. Another date made a point of asking what my favorite cuisine was so he could select the perfect restaurant for dinner. He refused to order food after we sat down at the table. Neither of them made it to a second date. If it’s a date for coffee, lunch, or dinner, it usually requires that something is ordered.

5. The Valet Parking Rule: It’s gentlemanly and chivalrous to offer to pay for the woman’s valet parking on a first date, especially if you like her and want to see her again. Is it worth standing on ceremony and not paying $5 for parking? It’s typically much less than the cost of the next cosmopolitan. You’ll get extra bonus points if you ask the valet parking attendant to bring her car first. Even if you aren’t interested in a second date, she will remember this kind gesture and may have a friend to introduce you to. Make a great first impression.

6. The Body Parts Rule: Don’t discuss cosmetic surgery, vasectomies, or anything that personal in nature regarding your body parts. Yes, this does come up on first dates. I have to wonder why?

7. The To-Go Bag Rule: Don’t ever take your food from a first date to go in a doggy bag. And even more importantly, don’t request your date’s food to go in your doggy bag as well. The man who asked for the remains of his pizza crust “to go” along with the scraps of his date’s salad didn’t make a good impression.

8. The Marriage Proposal Rule: Don’t give or accept a marriage proposal online or in a text message. If you think this hasn’t been done this before, give me a call! Falling in love from your keyboard or iPhone isn’t really love. It’s a false fantasy that you are in a relationship.

9. The Break Up Rule: Never break up with a significant other in an email or a text message. It’s just common courtesy to have a conversation and preferably in person. Do you really want to go down in history as the one who frequently dumps their dates in an email or text? Sure, celebrities are ending relationships in text messages and on twitter these days. But is it right?

10. The Send Button Rule: When in doubt, don’t push the send button in an angry or emotional email that you’ve written if you’re upset at your date. Sleep on it or send it to yourself instead. You can’t take it back. Your date’s revenge could be in forwarding your email all over the Internet. If it gets indexed by Google, you’ll have a hard time finding another date.

Originally Published on


Loading comments...