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Should I Give My Online Date My Phone Number?

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Ask the Cyber-Dating Expert

Dear Cyber-Dating Expert,

My new profile is starting to get more attention and I’m excited about it, but I’m confused about phone etiquette.

What should I do when a guy I meet online asks me for my phone number?

I’m a bit squeamish about giving my number out to someone I haven’t met. One guy, who seems nice, has asked for it so we can talk this weekend.

Another guy just gave me his number. Do I have to reciprocate and give him mine as well, or should I just let him know that I’ll call.

~Confused

Dear Confused,

As a woman, I can understand why you’d like to keep your phone number private from someone you haven’t met.

There’s no reason to give out your phone number so quickly. I always recommend signing up for a free Google Voice phone number for dating. It’s simple to do. Just go to Google.com/voice. You will be assigned a phone number that isn’t associated to your name in any phone directory. You can have the calls forwarded to your cell phone.

This way if anyone who bothers you keeps calling, you can block their number or have the option to change it to another Google Voice number for dating.

Having a Google Voice number protects your identity and should solve the problem.

Phone number exchanges are really very personal. Some women prefer to give out their number so the men can call them. Others like to take control and do the dialing.

My suggestion is to ask the man for his number and what times are convenient for him to talk. If he doesn’t answer when you call, leave a message and say you’ll call back later.

As far as reciprocating, you don’t have to give out your phone number when a man provides his. See how the conversation goes and if you’re comfortable, then yes, give him your CELL number. He doesn’t have to know it’s really a Google voice number. It’s your secret for now.

If someone asks for your number, let them know you’d be happy to call him and ask for his number.

If all goes well on your date, you’ll be happy to exchange numbers with the man who you’d like to add to your date calendar.

Happy Dating!

Do you have a question for Julie Spira?

Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, sign up for the Free Weekly Flirt, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.

Read Julie Spira’s bestselling book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Winks, emails, and IMs — oh my! Online Dating Etiquette

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Ask the Cyber-Dating Expert

Yes ladies. Men do take online dating seriously.

After creating an irresistible profile for a newly widowed male client on Match.com,  he decided it was time to put all ten toes and suddenly realized he needed a lesson in online dating etiquette.

He’s a terrific catch, signed up for the Totally in Love plan, and actually wants to meet an age-appropriate woman and wonders, what is the proper online dating etiquette? Within 24 hours he was bombarded with emails, winks, and IMs. He already has a date on the calendar with a highly educated woman who lives close to him. He’s on the right digital path.

I told him to get ready for the ride and showed him how to get organized.  I knew he’d get a lot of initial emails and views to his profile. He wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming response from women interested in meeting him. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, he decided to embrace the process. He wanted to know how to put his best foot forward to be successful. His questions were ones that many singles are confused about when they first join an Internet dating site. All are worth sharing.

1. I haven’t responded yet to the 3 or 4 women who’ve “winked” at me.  What’s the proper etiquette?

When a woman winks at a man, she’s signally to him that she’s open to communicating. Generally, it’s her way of saying, “check out my profile and if you’re interested, please email me.” What she won’t probably want is to be winked back in return, so if you like what you see, read her profile and find something unique and interesting to write about and put that in the subject line. This way you’ll have a greater chance of receiving an email in return from her.

2. Same thing with the women who’ve e-mailed me.  What’s considered good, what’s simply appropriate, and what’s rude?

If you’re interested in someone who has emailed you, read her profile and write back in a timely manner. Remember, you’re not the only guy she’s communicating with and a prompt response will not only be appreciated, but will put your name on her date card.  If you’re not interested, you can either ignore the email, or thank her for writing to you. If her profile isn’t inline with what you’re looking for, you can politely point that out and wish her the best. The only way you’d be rude is if you insulted her, which I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do.

3. A couple of women have IM’d me while I was online.  Personally I find that really intrusive, even obnoxious.  For that reason, I’m highly reluctant to IM anyone else.  But I don’t know how the game is played.  Again, what’s the proper thing to do?  Can I just turn off my IM capability?

Instant messaging isn’t for everyone. While it can be fun, flirty, and instantaneous, some might find it annoying. To remove the IM feature, log onto your account, click on Account in the upper right hand side of the profile and in the dropdown menu click on settings, and then click on Instant messenger. This is where you can both turn off your instant messaging and IM alerts.

4. What’s a polite but clear way to express disinterest (for example, if I decide I’ve got no interest in meeting someone who contacts me first)?
There’s no perfect answer to this question. While you might want to appear like the nice guy and let them know that you don’t think you’re a match, they might be offended and insulted. If you ignore them, then they’ll wonder why they’re being rejected. You can take your time before you quickly push the reply button to the email and do what you feel is right for you, but remain polite. After all, she might have a friend to introduce you to if you’re a genuine guy, so don’t close the door completely.

Do you have questions about online dating? Visit CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice,  like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert and subscribe to our Weekly Flirt.