How To Navigate Online Dating In Your 20s

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Shorter Version


 

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“Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen.”

~ Henry Cloud

Dating online or in-person in your 20s is quintessential. It is a perfect example of being young, independent, and free to do what you want – when you want to do it. You are at peak condition – mentally and physically, so why not jump into the seductive dating pool. Yes, you’re busy and you’re living your best life, right? But something is still missing…

Perhaps, it’s a partner or at least a few dates.

Well, the good news is…

Online dating is becoming more and more popular amongst Millennials and Generation Z’ers. And, the great thing about online dating is it’s accessible, comfortable, fairly easy, and limitless. All you need is Wi-Fi or data and a computer, smartphone, tablet, or something that functions similarly. 

Once you have those two pieces, you can meet and connect with eligible 20-something singles all across the globe. Thus, your dating possibilities are vast, exciting, and unlimited. But…it’s not easy to navigate online dating at any age, especially in your 20s.

The struggle is real

Online dating in your 20s sounds like a safe, fun way to meet new people and/or possibly meet someone you will fall in love with, but is it really? The truth is, trying to navigate online dating in your 20s can be tricky and downright rough in some cases. For one, it’s not always easy or safe. Sometimes, it’s not even fun. But it can be – if you take certain precautions.

When you’re young, your emotions fluctuate from day-to-day. As a result, you’re more likely to let your guard down when you should reinforce it, trust when you shouldn’t, and believe that people’s intentions are always good when that may not be the case. This applies to real-life and online interactions. So although online dating in your 20s can be the start of something truly beautiful and special between you and someone else, we live in an age where it’s “fun” to catfish people.

It’s also popular to stalk, troll, and bash people online. So, you have to be cautious when dating online, especially if you want to meet your online suitor in real-life one day.

Understand that some people aren’t who they appear to be. So, until you know for sure, you must remain cautious.

Be honest and authentic

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not because it will backfire on you. This happens a lot on social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram, but it also occurs on dating apps. There is this notion that to be loved, you must be sexy, smart, successful, wealthy, thin, beautiful or handsome, and muscular (for men) or curvy (for women). Basically, the belief is you must be perfect to be popular and you must be popular to gain online likes, followers, and suitors. It’s unrealistic but it causes many online daters to lie or exaggerate their lives to impress others.  

It is also important to refrain from meeting online suitors too quickly and/or in secluded places, like someone’s home, an abandoned building, or even in someone’s car. Think before you act. Don’t automatically take online suitors by their word. Do some research on them, especially if something doesn’t sit right with you.

Still, online dating can be a wonderful experience if you engage in it the right way. The good news is with this article, you’ll be able to navigate online dating in your 20s like a pro in no time at all!




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Actionable Steps


 
1

Be honest about your expectations when dating online

Be honest about your expectations when online dating in your 20s; don’t sugarcoat or lie about what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for a long-term relationship, don’t put on your dating profile that you like “getting to know lots of people and partying.” Or, if you aren’t ready to settle down, don’t put down that you’re “looking for that special person.”
 
If you want a serious relationship, say that on your profile page. If you want a casual dating situation or a hookup, say that too! Being honest about your expectations will help you avoid misunderstandings and ensure that you and your online suitor(s) are on the same page. No one wants to waste their time on someone or something that will never be, so muster up the courage and tell it like it is.

2

Do not resort to catfishing

The worst thing you can do is to pretend to be someone or something you’re not to impress others. Catfishing is not only deceptive and hurtful; it’s also criminal in some cases. So, regardless of if you think you “measure up” to what society deems attractive, successful, sexy, wealthy, popular, or intelligent, show your real self. More specifically, put a real picture of yourself (no filters or face or body-edited ones) on your dating profile. Be transparent.

3

Be cautious and aware

It’s easy to “fall in love” with someone online because you can tweak what you say to others online. In other words, a person can say all the right things to appeal to you when you’re not standing in front of them.
 
You love all the same things, right? You never argue or disagree, right? He or she is exactly what you’ve been waiting for all of your life, right?”
 
The thing is people can glean a lot of information from what you put on your dating profile and mimic your answers when you ask them questions about what they like or dislike. It could be the truth or it could be a total lie which is why it is so important to be cautious and aware when navigating online dating in your 20s.
 
If something feels “off,” there is a good chance it is. So, pay attention to your gut reactions, and don’t let your guard down too quickly. Make online suitors prove to you they are legit before you allow yourself to fall madly in love with someone you’ve never met just because you want that happy ending.

4

Get off the road to nowhere

If you know you’re incompatible with an online suitor, let him or her go! Don’t just hang on hoping things will change. You can tell pretty quickly if a relationship (even an online one) isn’t going to work. Be honest with yourself and the other person, and move on.

5

Read more about how to successfully date online

You can learn more about “navigating online dating in your 20s” by reading the following articles: How to Navigate Online Dating Like a Pro, The 14 Most Annoying Things About Dating as a Twentysomething, and Navigating the Online Dating Scene with a Strong Sense of Value.

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About the Author


 
Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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