Online dating during the holidays creates a unique set of challenges and benefits. The good news? You will never lack something to talk about! Spiked Eggnog Always Reveals the Latest Family Secrets: Uncle Morris gambled away his savings with online poker and reveals office romances: Shy accountant and handsome IT nerd apparently share more than a passion for numbers! !
The bad news? You’re visiting mom and dad, a/k/a ‘the last people in America with dial-up access!’ Online daters must navigate the delicate balance of staying connected through technology while staying connected with people they’ve traveled hundreds of miles to visit.
Fortunately, keeping online romances going while traveling has never been easier! You can stay in touch via text, email, and update your social networking site anywhere in the world with a wireless signal.
Naturally, you’ll rather spend time chatting with friends and dating online than listening to Uncle Pat tell his WWII stories for the umpteenth time. His family would agree with you intellectually (they too have heard the same stories over and over again!) but you will offend everyone emotionally if you spend too much time on your computer.
The solution? Stay connected both in person and in cyberspace. With these three simple tips, you’ll enjoy the holidays while maintaining your routines… and maybe even learn something interesting from Uncle Pat!
TIP #1 – DO YOU HAVE A SIGNAL?
Plan ahead for time and privacy to keep your routines online.
Before your visit, research all your options for connecting. There are unlimited possibilities even in small towns. Check internet cafes, hotels, libraries, photocopy centers… even your mobile! If you’re not familiar with the bells and whistles on your phone, call your provider. They can tell you if your phone has Internet capabilities and/or can be used as a modem with your laptop.
Choose from several options for flexibility. If the library is closed, you can use the internet cafe and vice versa. Even if you’re lucky enough to visit someone with a big, beautiful computer screen connected to your blazing-fast computer, configured and ready to go, don’t be tempted to “borrow” it when you’re not using it. .
Nothing will turn you from a charming guest to an embarrassed pest if you unknowingly introduce a virus or press the wrong button resulting in the deletion of an important work file or wedding photos.
Some hosts may encourage you to use your computer to check your email, but change your mind when you reveal that you’re chatting with your dates online. It doesn’t make sense technologically, but some people are uncomfortable when you use their computer to date.
TIP #2 – FACE TIME AND THEN FACEBOOK!
Be proactive and spend ‘together time’ with those you’ve come to visit and then take some personal time to spend with those you miss! Depending on your family and friends, ‘together time’ may be in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Work around their schedule and keep everyone happy!
For example, your mom shops in the morning and cooks dinner early at night. During the day, she never misses her ‘nap time’, which is the perfect time for you to run some errands or hit the gym. Since she has done her research in advance, she knows that she can use the library’s computers between her wanderings or visit the internet cafe after working out.
Make sure you can access your email account from any computer. If you haven’t already, set up a separate online dating-only screen name that reveals your personality but never personal information.
These are great suggestions for a tennis player, artist, or wine lover! You want a screen name to attract the right attention and then easily discard it once you’ve met the love of your life, so you’re not bothered by past dates. All Internet giants offer FREE email accounts: Google, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
TIP #3: GET TO KNOW YOU
The last time you saw Aunt Betty, you were a twelve-year-old girl with pigtails and she reminded you of a librarian. You are now a modern career woman with an active online social life and she still reminds you of a librarian! During this brief visit, how much information is too much information?
If you are single, plan to be asked about your social life. It is a festive rite as traditional and unpleasant as fruitcake. Once you understand that the person asking doesn’t really care as much about your personal situation as if they’re just having a conversation (except for your mom, of course), you’ll find it easier to come up with an answer that will satisfy everyone.
“I’m dating several interesting people, including one person who is an arborist. I never knew such a career existed. Have you ever met someone who was an arborist?”
“I’ve been meeting people with a shared interest in tennis. I’m taking lessons now and I really love the sport. Aunt Betty, I heard you used to be a great tennis player.”
Interesting conversationalists steer the conversation to a topic that others want to discuss and then sit back and listen. Do you have to hide the fact that you are dating online? Definitely not! But just as you’d rather not know too much about Uncle Pat’s prostate problems or Cousin Paul’s love of women’s shoes, some family and friends may not want to know too much about your online dating.
What if they persist in hearing about your online dating experiences? Consider yourself an Ambassador of the Future! Don’t get too personal when explaining the great site you found for dating men with hairy backs. Stick to generalities like why online dating is so popular.
“Aunt Liz, I love online dating because it’s perfect for busy people and it allows you to meet someone before a physical attraction, which makes the relationship stronger.”
If all else fails, laugh! You didn’t pick your family, but here’s Cousin Pete putting his foot in his mouth again with gems like,
“Well, back in my day, only losers and prostitutes put up personal ads.”
Appreciate the festivities for the great stories they provide and then chat!
(c) Copyright – Karin Anderson. All rights reserved throughout the world