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Etiquette is not a bunch of stuffy and arbitary rules. Instead, it is a collection of actions designed to make others more comfortable. Since online dating can hold a lot of trepidation for anyone, good etiquette can go a long way. Remember our tips to make the people who you are chatting with feel more at ease and to make it more likely that you will find a match.


Your conversation really starts before either of you say hello. It begins when an interested someone reads your profile. To ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and that the conversation goes farther than this, make sure you aren't making any etiquette errors in what you share there.

Your profile is not the place to talk about exes.
Yes, the people who you dated in the past shape what you want in the future. But, this is not the place to mention that you will not tolerate another two-timer who is always hiding what's on his phone.

Don't post challenges.
No one wants to see a note that says "only message me if you're not like every other woman on here," or something similar. Similarly, "no fatties" and "no short guys" do not have a place on your profile. While it is perfectly fine to have preferences, putting them out there in a rude manner won't just turn away the ones you don't want. It will also offend those who you do.

Make sure your pictures are yours and recent.
It doesn't matter how good that five year old picture looks; it does not belong on your profile. Likewise, you should never portray a photo that is not you as one that is. Doing either of these just leaves potential matches with mistaken ideas of what you really look like. And, since they're going to see for real when you finally meet, it's a move that doesn't give you any advantage. Be honest about yourself so that the people who you connect with are ones who want to meet the real you.


Your first message may be your last if you commit a faux pas in your messages. Make sure that you do not overstep any boundaries to ensure that you do not drive the other person away.

First and most importantly: do not open with a dick pic. No stranger wants to be introduced this way. There may be a chance that he or she would like to see it later, but it's just not the place to begin a conversation. Or even to continue one unless you have been explicitly told that this sort of picture is wanted.

Do not start with sexual comments. These can make many people uncomfortable.

Compliments about someone's appearance can be hit or miss. Some people are flattered while others feel uncomfortable with this sort of beginning. To play it safe, start by commenting on something on your match's profile. For instance, if you are both into science fiction, this is a good opener.

Above all else, do not just try to start a conversation with "hi" or "sup?" This puts the obligation to carry the conversation on your match. Since you are the one who reached out, you should also supply an opening gambit that can make the conversation smoother.


Online dating is not a place for cold feet. It is impolite to string someone along for weeks without making a firm plan to meet. It's best to offer to meet after one or two phone calls.

A first meeting should always be in a public place. This makes everyone involved feel safer. Everyone should have their own transportation, as well.


As with your profile, a first date is not a place for negativity. Don't bring up your ex. Do not talk about the things that you hate that other people have done on dates. This will only make your date feel self-conscious.

Be sure to ask your date questions. It is important to show curiosity about the person who you are meeting. However, avoid falling into the trap of asking one question after another. This can feel more like an interrogation than a first date. It is better to ask a question, listen to the answer, and then provide an insight or an experience of your own.

There are different opinions on whether it is ever appropriate to discuss religion or politics on a first date. Many strict etiquette guides say that these topics are verboten. However, more modern thinkers often say that learning whether you are compatible in this area is a good thing to do right away.


Old fashion gender rules dictated that the man would always pick up the check on a date. However, many people today are not as hung up on gendered expectations.

Some people feel that the most equitable way to handle the question of who pays is to ask who offered the invitaion. The person who asked the other out, in this case, can be the one who pays for the date.

Picking a small outing like coffee or ice cream is also a good approach. This way, no one feels like they're being taken advantage of, even if the evening does not end with any sparks.

At the beginning of a date, feel free to offer to go dutch if that is what makes you most comfortable. This way, no one has any expectations. If you are a woman, saying it up front can help avoid mixed signals. Many guys may conclude that you are not interested if you offer to pay, when you are just more comfortable ordering a pricey meal that you pay for yourself.

In any case, this is an area where there are no longer any hard and fast rules. Be flexible and communicate to ensure that everyone is comfortable.


Online dating also involves some tricky etiquette when it comes to seeing other people. When you first start seeing someone, it is best to assume that they are also going out on dates with others. It is best not to get upset or jealous, as there is no reason to expect exclusivity at the start of a relationship.

If the relationship has become intimate, both safety and manners demand that you disclose whether you are sleeping with other people. This way, everyone can make informed decisions about the limits and their health.

And, of course, it is necessary to deactive your profile after you have decided to date exclusively. While you may be keeping it just to keep in touch with a few people with whom you hit off as friends, the person you are dating will probably not feel comfortable with you appearing available.


It happens to us all. We message someone who looks perfect for us... and then there's silence.
Or, we send a few messages back and forth, only to get ghosted or told that we are not the one.
We go on one date, then never hear back.
Rejection is just a part of online dating. Dealing with it gracefully is the part you can control.
We've all seen the screen shots of text messages from people who have gone on rampages when they were rejected. Do not be the next viral story. It is never okay to excoriate a near-stranger for not liking you as much as you like them.

Often, a rejection is not a rejection of us, but rather a rejection of the circumstances. A few of the reasons for rejection that you should not take to heart:

• He does not feel ready to date someone who has kids.
• She felt that there was no chemistry when you met.
He has been on a few dates with different people and has gotten serious about someone who he met.
• She decided that you two did not have enough in common when it came to spiritual or religious beliefs.
• He got busy at work and just doesn't have time to talk or meet.

The best way to handle a rejection is just to move on. If there is an opportunity to send a message, send a quick thanks for the chat or the meal and wish them luck in their future endeavors.

Do not ask for an explanation. No one owes you a full list of the reasons that they are not interested. In many cases, they may have painful things to disclose, so it would not make you feel better if you knew.

If they block you, do not attempt to get around it by making a new account or messaging them on another platform. While you may just have wanted to explain yourself, to them, you're going to look like a potentially dangerous stalker.

How to Do the Rejecting
In many cases, it is no more fun to be the one doing the rejecting instead of getting rejected. Proper etiquette may not be any help for disappointment, but it may help sooth the sting a little.

Never no show, for a date. While this will effectively communicate that you are not interested, it can mean a great deal of cost and inconvenience on the part of your date. If you plan to cancel, do it as early as possible before a date.

In most cases, it is not necessary to give a reason that you are not interested. Your reasons are personal and you do not have to share them. And, in some cases, sharing a reason can make it worse. The other party may try to reason or argue with you about your decision. Better to avoid any unpleasantness.

You are not obligued to keep talking to someone after you have made your disinterest known. While you may feel bad about cutting off contact, further conversation is not required under proper etiquette.

If a person becomes threatening or hostile, you can block them without a second thought. You have no duty to continue to talk to someone who has treated you badly or made you feel unsafe.


If you get through a first date with your chances intact, it's time to consider contact after the act. The old rules about waiting three days to call are no longer valid. In an era where everyone is near a phone all the time, we're expected to get in touch much sooner after a date.

A text to assure that your date got home is often appropriate. Try not to send a message too late in the evening, however. A good night can be ruined by being woken from a sound sleep.

A text the next morning is always a good idea. No need to write a novel. Just say that you had fun and you are looking forward to a chance to see each other again.

While some people find a post-date phone call really charming, others have become more used to texting or online messaging and prefer that to calls. Feel out preferences early on to ensure that you are getting in touch in the best way.


Chances are that you will communicate by text with someone who you are dating more often than you will by phone. Many people find texting more convenient, so they prefer this method of conversation.

As with any other type of communication, it's important to follow the rules of etiquette while you are texting.

Watch your spelling and avoid text speak abbreviations. You have a full QWERTY keyboard, use it to make full words.

As in any other messaging application, wait for an invitation before sending explicit texts or photos. Some people enjoy them, others do not. While you'll never lose a chance with someone because you didn't send a picture of your penis, you just may if you send one to someone who doesn't want one.

When you receive a text from someone who you went on a date or two with, try to respond quickly if possible. Do not put the text away for later in an attempt to make yourself look busier and less available. Game playing just makes people irritated.

On the other hand, it is not necessary to keep up a text conversation when you truly do not have time. No one should expect texts while you are at work or while you are driving.

If you are waiting to hear back from someone, don't send repeated texts. They'll see them all when they have their phone and are ready to chat. Even if there is a chance that they are deliberately ignoring your texts, it still doesn't help to send them more.


It's more than deciding when and whether to go "Facebook official." Your actions and posts online can have a serious impact on how things work out between you and the person who you have been seeing.

Some people are not comfortable having their personal life dished about online. While you may feel that "hot date last night! :)" is an innocuous enough statement, it may make someone else uncomfortable to be referred to at all.

Think carefully about what you have on your social media profiles and how well they represent who you are. A few photos of you and some friends partying may, to you, look like a look at a rare evening get together. To someone who does not know you well, it can look like you are more of a handful than they are comfortable with.

Also, there are a lot of jokes that play one way in a tight group of friends but look awful to someone outside looking in. If there is a chance that something can be easily misunderstood, it may not belong on your timeline.

Do a bit of cleaning up before you start online dating. Look at what is visible to people who you have not added to your friends list. Imagine how your friends-protected posts would look to someone who does not know you well.

By putting your best foot forward online, you can avoid any awkwardness that comes from a bad impression.


As long as you make a habit of thinking of how things will look and feel to the other person involved, online dating etiquette is easy. Always be considerate of others' feelings, even if you decide that they are not a match or vice versa. By coming from that sort of positive attitude, you can avoid online dating etiquette gaffs and have a better experience dating online.