The Rules of Online Dating




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Playing the Game

After a successful opening and getting their attention how do you build attraction and get a date?

A few months back I came across a girl whose online demeanor seemed like the perfect match. She seemed down to earth, pure-hearted, well-traveled, exotic etc. in other words someone I could just be myself. I naively thought to myself that I wouldn’t play the usual courtship/mind games that I normally would. In the beginning it seemed amazing, we were getting along well and my heart and mind was set on pursuing this girl wholeheartedly. I was wrong! The complete absence of mind games made the ‘chase’ dull and meaningless. She quickly lost interest and went on to avoid me.

Now you might be thinking I am just inexperienced or just lack ‘game’ with this particular girl – that may be true however it made me realize one important unspoken rule when it comes to dating. Regardless of the person’s nature or virtues there always needs to be some kind of chemistry for the relationship/courtship to progress. This is where the concept of ‘mind games’ and ‘the chase’ are essential for creating the chemistry to bond two people.

Women love to play mind games (even though they never admit it) and men love to chase. It’s this inherent evolutionary mind-set that underlies all successful relationships. Let’s look at some of the essential principles and strategies that must be understood to be successful at online dating. Mind you the scope of this article only covers the relationship until the dating phase.

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The Key Strategies to Build the Relationship

Talk About Common Interests and Passions

Asking someone about their interests and passions may sound mundane however it is usually a great way to relieve some of the awkwardness that comes with chatting to a complete stranger. Talking about your common interests and passions builds rapport and a strong foundation in which you can build trust and hence the relationship.

The key thing to remember is to be genuine, feigning interest is off-putting and does neither of you any good. If you don’t have common interest then you can always be curious and open minded about their hobbies. Better yet, you can enjoy the hobbies together!


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Playing Hard to Get

Acting nonchalant, detached and apathetic are all tell-tale signs that someone is playing hard to get or is genuinely disinterested. Often used by women to qualify men it creates a powerful anticipatory effect in the pursuant and can intensify the relationship. It signals to the pursuant that they are not ‘easy’ and that they are also desired by others. After all people want what they can't have.

Like everything in life, it’s about finding the right balance. If you play too hard to get you may appear snobbish and if you are not playing at all you may appear ‘easy’. It’s important to play hard to get so that people won’t treat you as ‘easy’ however don’t abuse this manipulative technique. 

It’s about pulling someone in just enough to create interest and pushing them away far enough for them to come running back. Some simple ways to play hard to get may include: Taking your time to respond to messages, not returning phone calls, one word answers, refraining from showing interest in the other person etc.

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Add Value

If you want to succeed with anything in life you have to learn how to add value to people’s lives. In the context of online dating, if you want a successful relationship then add value to other person’s life. Adding value can mean almost anything however let’s loosely define it as enriching other people’s lives through your abilities.

Whether you are making them laugh, opening their mind, entertaining them with your unique anecdotes or protecting them, adding value is the key to building relationships. Think about it for a moment, we tend to move away from people who drain our energy and move towards those who enrich our lives. It’s exactly the same with most healthy relationships. Find your own unique value-add and share it with your potential partner. Make sure they offer some sort of value-add otherwise you will feel used.



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Be Your Unique 'Genuine' Self

Despite having this drilled into us in our developing years every one of us is truly unique. Trying ridiculously hard to be anything but your true self is a waste of time, energy and downright ridiculous. You may get away with wearing the façade of success and perfection in the beginning however sooner or later the cracks will start to show.

Embrace it! It may sound counter-intuitive but embracing our true selves actually makes us far more attractive to others. It’s the unique blend of personality and experiences that creates a truly individual cocktail that no one else can ever have or replicate.

It may be frightening to show our true self to our potential lover however just remember if you can’t be yourself around others then you are just living a lie. Besides, if they can’t accept you for who you are then most likely you two aren’t meant to be.


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Add Shades of Mystery

It is the mystery that compels us to search and understand. In the beginning of every relationship the mystery is in the form of discovery. If we knew everything about someone or something we lose the motivation to discover.

Talk about yourself less and put the focus on them. That way they feel important and you create mystery. There are many other ways you can add mystery however not everyone appreciates vague answers, radio silence, ambiguity and surprises in the same manner. Find a comfortable balance of mystery to keep the interest and desire burning strong.

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Qualify Them

Qualifying someone is a subtle psychological tactic that subconsciously puts you in a position of power or authority. It is essentially sub-communicating to a person that they need to prove themselves to you. Some examples of qualifying someone would be asking them to describe themselves with only 3 words, playfully teasing the other person (i.e. “you’re a player”), or simply asking them if they are fun to be around.

The reason qualifying is so effective is that it indirectly makes the other person want to prove themselves or ‘work for it’. Use this tactic sparingly as it appeals to people’s insecurities of not being good enough.

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Going With the Flow

On the other side of the 'Playing hard to get' is the more sensible strategy of 'Going with the flow'. Going with the flow removes all expectations and relieves the tension in the air. It allows for the relationship to naturally flourish or perish, often the former rather than the latter.

Instead of figuratively holding your cards close to your chest you communicate freely with one another without expectations. This strategy works best when both parties act without expectations.

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Move Offline

Moving offline may be a misnomer, instead of actually going offline you move away from online dating platforms on to more personal platforms, i.e. Facebook, Whatsapp etc. What you are essentially doing is moving away from the realm of random online strangers to the realm of familiar friends.

As soon as you can you should move to a more personal platform to continue to build the relationship and ultimately meet in person. It is far easier to schedule a date when you are seen as familiar as opposed to being a random person online.

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Datum laatste wijziging: 11-02-2022

Aanmaakdatum: 11-02-2022

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