Guide to Sport Dating: 7 Tips for Online Dating with a Purpose
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Be the athlete, not the cheerleader, for success with online dating
Find your online dating match by bringing your A game
Recounting my adventures in online dating to friends recently, I may have used the term sport dating. Okay, so I’m a sport dater.
What is sport dating? I can tell you that it’s not about keeping score or scoring — it’s about dating with a purpose. It about enjoying the experience, but not settling on anyone who doesn’t keep you on your toes and learning more about what you want along the way.
1. Don’t Lie About Your Stats
If you smoke, indicate that you smoke. If you’re not looking for a relationship, let people know. The truth will come out eventually.
I dated an individual this summer who answered "no" to the smoker question and then discovered that he was a chain smoker when he was drinking. When I asked for clarification on the matter, he told me he didn’t want to smoke.
Another individual on Plenty of Fish (POF) sent me a clever, enticing message with a P.S. I have a girlfriend, though he clearly checked single on his profile.
2. Bump, Set, Spike
Be the athlete, not the cheerleader. Don’t wait to be approached, pitch yourself. Ask compelling questions that can’t be left unanswered. Dating expert Christian Carter suggests bringing out the big guns and asking a man what attracts him to a woman.
3. Find your Opponent’s Weaknesses
Google is your friend. If you’re able to get your date’s full name, you might be interested in scoping his online persona. This is fair game these days. Does his Facebook profile reveal that he’s a party guy?
Googling one POF candidate, I found a video of him on YouTube telling crass jokes at an amateur comedy night. Essentially, I decided I could handle his lewd humour because, more importantly, he made me laugh. But at least I knew what I was in for.
4. Keep the Ball in the Air
If you aim for McDreamys and not just gamer shut-ins, then you’re going to have to play a good game. Don’t ask mundane questions, even if you want to know the answer (i.e. What do you do for a living?) Be different. Do the opposite of what’s expected.
On a first online date in English Bay, I brought two faux champagne bottles full of confetti to pop open. I confess, it would have been more fun if the date had been worth celebrating. I was initially trying for roman candles for a bad fireworks joke, but apparently those are illegal in Vancouver 364 days a year.
5. Tend the Goal
If you’re looking for something long-term, pace yourself with regard to how much of yourself you’d like to share. The less attached you are to a specific outcome, the better you’re able to maintain a clear view of what you’re getting into.
A certain amount of testing the waters is necessary, but keep your supermarket taste-testing manners in place. (Have we switched metaphors?)
Steve Harvey, author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, recommends a three-month probationary period. This might sound traditional, but if it keeps the emotional floodgates on lockdown, it serves a purpose.
6. Replace Your Divots
How do you break it off with someone you respect? Honestly and swiftly. The truth may hurt, but being strung along hurts a lot more.
If you need to break it off with someone, choose a neutral environment and lay it on the line, focusing on the mismatch, not on them.
Alternately, I’m not against sending an email to let the person know where you’re at with an enclosed offer to talk later. You can’t control a person’s reaction, but you can diffuse it.
The disappearing move — I've done it and had it done to me is just poor sportsmanship.
Keep in mind, this is online dating — not online friend-making. Don’t feel obliged to maintain false friendships after the dating is called off.
7. Get up after You Take a Hit
If you get dissed, venture back online sooner rather than later. Do an advanced search, plug in your favourite interests and see who might be more fun to play with in the next round. You’re more likely to win from the field than the bench. My single friends and I are fans of the term: Next!
Sport dating is all about finding a worthy match, so bring your A game and don’t believe the fading stigma that online daters are socially challenged hermits. People who are willing to post themselves online are open-minded and willing to take risks, and that’s attractive.
Michelle Kay is a citizen of the world. Aside from creative writing, she has an affinity for activism, concept art, film and choreography. Read one of Michelle's short stories.