Dear V: Try online dating, but don’t be ‘OkStupid’

Dear V,

As a young college girl in a metropolitan city, it’s difficult to find guys who are looking for more than just a hookup. I don’t have anything against those who have a “hit it n’ quit it” mentality, as college is the prime time for no-strings-attached arrangements, but that’s just not me.

I’ve tried going to bars, approaching guys and even meeting them in my classes and becoming their friend first before asking them out, but no matter my approach, I always end up being met with the same dreaded response: “I like you, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” I’m getting frustrated and am not sure what I’m doing wrong.

Either way, I’ve decided to enter the “new age” by taking my search online. How can I avoid creeps while I expand my search?


Virtual Veronica

Dear Veronica,

Good news: despite what your parents warned you about strangers and the deep-seeded fear that Chris Hansen gave you of all things Internet-related through “To Catch a Predator,” not everyone you talk to online is a creep in a white van hoping to snatch you up. Rather than shying away from the Internet completely, it’s best to simply keep your identity safe and proceed with caution. After all, the Internet is a useful tool that can connect you to thousands of people across the globe…as long as you use it wisely.

It’s important to make sure you don’t give out sensitive information like your full name, telephone number, address or employer. However, you don’t have to bite your nails over someone knowing your favorite show is “Friends” or that you’re too fond of Thai food for your wallet’s own good.

Truth is, you’re not the only 20-something out there who’s trying to find something real. In a major city, people have busy schedules and don’t have time to date as much as they’d like to, so they make online profiles and message people instead. Don’t think of online dating as being bogus – it’s just a trickle-down result of our modern-day dependence on technology.

While your grandparents may have first met by bumping into each other at their local coffee shop, you may meet your boyfriend through a “poke” or a “like.”

Sure, it’s not as magical or romantic, but hey – at least you know he’s interested in what you’ve written about yourself. But if it seems he’s only messaging you because of your pictures and didn’t bother to read your profile, don’t bite back. Meeting someone online first gives you the opportunity to be real and find mutual interests rather than make awkward, giggling chatter or give them false flattery on a first date. This is the only real advantage it has over real life, so seize it.

Ultimately, keep up your search in real time, too. But use online dating wisely and you may find yourself on one of those dinky testimony commercials in a few years.