Mind Your Manners: The Inner Circle Introduces Online Etiquette Pledge

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The good, the bad, the ugly - it’s all part of the online dating experience. At their best, dating platforms help people connect and communicate with compatible partners they might never have met otherwise. At their worst, dating websites and apps are ground zero for ghosting, curving, catfishing, orbiting, breadcrumbing, prowling, pocketing, scrooging, cookie jarring, you-turning and countless other cutely-named but distressing dating behaviors.

Dating services are taking an increasingly strong stand against users who have forgotten their manners. Bumble has led the charge for years, making headlines by banning mirror selfies and profile pictures with deadly weapons. Other companies followed Bumble’s lead. Tinder asked users to swipe left on tiger photos. OkCupid introduced a Member Pledge to encourage more civil conversations. Grindr launched an initiative to curb racism and discrimination on its app.

The Inner Circle is the latest dating service to join the movement. In a member survey, the company found that 98 percent of female members wouldn’t date someone who is attractive but has poor manners. Eight-three percent of male members agreed. In response, the company introduced an online pledge that asks users to commit to conducting themselves in an appropriate fashion while using the platform. The Inner Circle teamed up with etiquette expert Jo Bryant to create a series of guiding principles all members must abide by if they wish to continue using the service.

David Vermeulen, CEO and founder of The Inner Circle, said, “The impact we have on others’ feelings is far greater than we think. Sometimes when there is a device that replaces face to face interaction we forget about our manners. Today’s launch of the etiquette pledge communicates honesty, respect, authenticity and ultimately compassion.”

Bryant’s modern guide to manners includes nine rules for dating with decorum. Amongst them are Be Real (“pretending to be someone you are not is misleading, hurtful and a waste of time for everyone involved”), Be Decent (“keep it clean or you will offend others, as well as alienating and embarrassing yourself”), Be Reliable (“good manners, respectful behaviour and a positive outlook always give you a head start”) and Be Respectful (“the essence of good etiquette is to treat others as you would wish to be treated”). Read the full list here.

“We hope this pledge will benefit more than just our members and that, by committing to good etiquette, singles around the globe will be united,” The Inner Circle announced. “We want to set the standard for safe, respected, and valued dating experiences, online and offline, and we want to inspire fellow dating companies with our guidelines for user behaviour.”