Deciphering the World of Internet Dating Communication

Every so often I see a “poke” on my Facebook page from my editor. I always joke that poking does not do it for me – I’m not eight years old. Now that I have embraced internet dating again, I have discovered that there are a variety of types of communication including pokes, winks, favorites, chatting and messaging.

Chasing around passive and direct messages online is enough to make your head spin. Understanding what each style of communication means is helpful if you are lost in the internet dating web. These forms of communication fall into two categories: passive and direct communication.

Passive Communication

Passive communication efforts are where you make an advance online but do not actually say anything. Sending a Poke or a Wink at someone is the internet dating world code for “I think you are cute but I’m too shy to say anything.” When you do this, you are making an attempt to start communication but whether or not it is successful is another story.

Some online users look at this as a hint of admiration but that does not mean they are going to message you directly. Think of this as saying “hello” to someone in line at the coffee shop but not actually striking up a conversation with them. Passive communication makes it hard for you to have the user at “hello”.

Direct Communication

Chatting and messaging are direct communication. As a general rule of thumb, you should always message a user before you start chatting with them. The chat boxes can be incredible invasive to a person’s day to day activities – especially if they have not had any previous communication with you. Messaging allows you to send a message and let the user respond on their own time.

Chatting is also ideal for when both users are online. You can plan chat dates where you both are taking time to get to know each other through the dating site. Messaging is more appropriate for sporadic communication. Although, many dating sites have merged the chatting and messaging features – much like they are on Facebook – to streamline the entire process. Remember that jus because a user is online does not mean that he or she is ready or able to talk with you at that moment. Do not badger the user if they do not communicate with you fast enough.

In the Gray

Two other forms of online communication that leave things in the balance are sending gifts and labeling a person as your favorite. These can be passive forms of communication if they are done before you actually start messaging someone. However, they can also go unnoticed if you are not careful.

Ideally, you should use both of these after you have established a connection with someone and you think that there is future potential with. By doing so, you are letting them know that you are serious about pursuing a relationship with them and seeing where things might lead.