Online Dating: Better With a Buddy?

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Dating is an incredibly personal subject. After all, you’re a unique individual, and ultimately you’re the one who chooses to make a commitment with someone. Including someone else in the mix is another, unnecessary set of opinions and preconceptions. Thus, it may surprise you to find that including a trusted friend or family member in the early stages of the online dating process might not be such a bad thing.

A note: the key here is to find someone who is truly trusted, and preferably, someone who only builds you up and doesn’t harm your self-esteem. Writing an online dating profile is a vulnerable process; it’s hard to be honest with yourself if you’re too self-conscious or someone is actively bringing you down. However, if you do have such a trusted friend, they can be a boon to your online profile.

First, they can function as simply a second pair of eyes, a second level of proofreading defense. Just because your spellcheck doesn’t flag a word doesn’t mean you didn’t type the wrong word altogether - but an objective observer might spot such a typo before you do. You can bounce ideas off a friend, and they’ll give you feedback; together, you might figure out a more interesting or creative way to say what you want. In this case, two heads just might be better than one.

Choosing a friend who loves and adores you means they likely see the good in you - possibly positive attributes that you don’t see in yourself. If you’re having trouble seeing the glass as half full, they can be a valuable source of ideas and simple self-esteem boosts. When it comes to choosing a photo, they can help you choose one that really shows the “real you”; when you choose a photo yourself, it can be too easy to get hung up on the fact that your hair isn’t right or your smile is a little goofy.

They might also more easily spot red flags. When we start to think negatively about ourselves, chances are we don’t even notice it; as long as we’re not actively complaining, we think we’re fine. But little turns of phrase can be incredibly revealing to an outsider. A good friend can help you scan for these, and maybe even serve as a sounding board to address these issues.

Finally, a friend who’s clued in on your online dating progress is great to have when you start going on dates. You can give them the information about your first meeting and your potential match, and feel comfortable that they won’t give you a hard time. If you’re particularly nervous about safety issues, you can even have them “lurk” in the same public space where you’re meeting your date.

That doesn’t mean your friend will be a part of any relationship you enter, or even that they’ll have information and opinions about potential matches. Again, once a relationship forms, it’s between you and your partner. But forming an online dating profile can be daunting; if you have a supportive friend, there’s nothing wrong with having a writing buddy.