Navigating the New Frontier of Online Flirting

Since the popularization of the internet, the dating and hookup scene continues to evolve with technology's advancement. Sexting is nowhere near a new concept; it's actually as old as pagers. With the social media explosion that's taken place over the past couple years, it's difficult for some people to keep up with all the new ways to flirt, as well as the unspoken rules of digital courtship. Since sites like Tinder and becoming responsible for more relationships and hookups each day, it's important to know the ins and outs of online flirting.

  1. Building your Profile

    Posting Pictures: When choosing your profile pictures, obviously choose the most flattering pics. But refrain from using all selfies. Show off your body in a full-length picture with friends. Post pictures of you out doing things. It's a way to show someone what you're interested in without having to spell it out; it's also a way to show them that you're not boring. Also, make sure you throw in a solo photo. If all your pictures are of you with friends, no one's going to know which one you are. Oh, and all you super ripped guys out there, try to limit yourself to ONE shirtless picture. We get it. You're hot. And please for the love of God use your own photos. There is nothing worse than a catfish.

    Link your social media: On Tinder and similar sites it's never a bad idea to link your social media! There they can scope you out a little more before swiping right. Plus you're likely to gain a bunch of followers!

    Give them a sneak peek: List some fun facts about you. Listing your major, your sports teams, and things of the like will give you something to talk about. Plus imagine if you, a devout Yankee fan, found out the person you've been messaging is a Boston Fanatic. Work your favorite quote into your profile along with a witty comment about how "if you wanna know more, message me!

  2. Chatting them up

    The first message: If you're going to start the conversation don't start off with a boring "hey". That may work in person at a party, but that isn't going to cut it online. You've got to step your game up. Start off asking about something they've listed in their bio - that's what it's there for after all. Ask them a good question to start off, like what their favorite Beatles song is. Everyone has a favorite Beatles song. Or start off with a cute joke - personally, I like puns - creativity is key. Everyone likes someone who can make them laugh. However, steer away from vulgarity at least at first. It's unsettling to be met with immediate sex jokes, especially for a lot of girls.

    Keep the ball rolling: It's easy for a conversation to go dead quickly, especially online. You need to make sure they're interested in you with all the distraction out there on the internet, especially from other potential suitors. Asking questions is the easiest way to do this. Ask them about where they took their new photo, ask them about something in their profile, or even ask them what they're doing today! Unlike physical flirting, you've got time to think up thoughtful responses.

    Compliments: It's okay to compliment someone online. However, it’s not wise to open with one. They obviously know you think they're cute since you're messaging them. Sparingly pepper your conversation with a little praise; this keeps you from becoming annoying and also allows them to see that you're not only concerned with looks.

    Three message rule: There may come a time where you don't get a reply. Maybe they forgot to hit send or maybe they're doing literally anything else with their time. Don't be that guy who sends forty unanswered "hey" messages. Follow the simple three message guideline: Follow up your unanswered message with one more, then wait, then several hours or a day or so later it's safe to message them again. If they don't reply after that, then that's it! Don't message back until they respond or risk looking like a stalker.

  3. Meeting in Person

    Asking to meet up: Be patient when setting up a date, unless you're already at their place hooking up. In that case, congrats on the sex. But for those playing the long game, let them get to know you better before you're inviting them out to dinner. A great way to make sure you're not getting catfished is to skype or facetime beforehand! That way you can be sure they're a real person and not a lizard monster. But when you do finally set up a meeting suggest something like coffee or fro-yo (bitches love fro-yo) in a public place. That way you can feel safe and a whole lot more comfortable meeting this person in the flesh. And if they say no, give them some time! They might not be comfortable with you yet. Give them a couple of days or a week before suggesting it again. If they blow you off several times you may want to stop trying; it's likely they're hiding something like that they're an 80-year-old man or reptilian.

    Have the upper hand: If you're anxious about a potential catfish, get there a little late and ask them what they're wearing. That way if you spot someone in a blue sweater that looks nothing like the person in the picture you can make a run for it.

    Have an out: Some people have mastered the ability to be charming online but are incredibly awkward or rude in person. If you find that your date is rude or creepy or crossing some serious boundaries, it's always a good idea to have an out. Before meeting let your friend know you're meeting someone from the internet. Tell them where you'll be, when you'll be home, and have a safe word to text so they can call you and feign an emergency. Use this strategy as a crutch if you can't bare getting up and walking out on your own. Also, tell your friend if you don't text them before whatever time to have them call you to check in and make sure you're okay.

    Push past the awkwardness: Meeting people in person that you've been talking to online is super weird. You feel like you've known this person but at the same time, you feel like you don't. You may find yourself feeling uncomfortable. But flirting online is usually done with the goal to actually meet up! So take a deep breath and relax. Buy them a cup of coffee, sit down and continue some conversations you've had online!

    No matter what site you're on there are three things to remember when online dating: People lie, don’t be creepy, and be safe. There are plenty of catfish out there - there's enough of them that MTV made a show about them. People are going to lie about who they are and what they look like, be prepared for it. It's easy to come off as creepy online, especially when there're so many pictures to like and tweets to retweet. Control yourself, don't be a creepy cyber-stalker. And lastly, be safe. The fact of the matter is you're meeting someone off the internet, where you can pretend to be anything and anyone - including a normal not-crazy person. Be safe and tell your friends where you are. But have fun! The internet is a place of countless possibilities and thousands of single people looking for exactly what you're looking for. So go fourth and swipe right!