Online dating: first impressions and safety

shannyShannon Tebb is the Toronto-based dating and relationship expert, matchmaker and life coach behind Shanny in the City. She has been interviewed by publications including the CBC, Huffington Post Canada and Metro. Tebb took part in a Q&A with Torontobraininjuryblog to address the benefits and pitfalls of online dating.

BIST: Is online dating a good way for people who are shy or lacking in self confidence to meet people?

Tebb: Online dating allows people to write their story through a bio and picture. For someone suffering from a brain injury, online dating might be a better option than attending social events such as speed dating, because they can search through profiles in the comfort of their own home.

For those that may be shy, online dating can be the best route. They have the opportunity to write a successful bio and have the option to correct errors. With face-to-face interaction, they only have one opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Individuals can fumble their words, get nervous and not handle the interaction well. Through online dating, they get the chance to respond to messages on your time.

BIST: Once someone is ready to try online dating, what can they do to ensure they are making a good impression with potential mates?

Tebb: A person who is ready to online date must be aware of the pros and cons. They may not get a lot of personal messages, which can affect their confidence. It can also be a lengthly process and very time consuming looking through all the profiles. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity to brush up on their decision-making skills by having various profiles to choose from. Seeing a range of singles online can generate excitement and give hope for the future as they can identify with other singles that are experiencing difficulty meeting others.

In order to put their best foot forward they have to practice honesty throughout the entire process. They should write an honest bio, showcase their personality and positive qualities and include updated photos. . If they are having difficulty describing the person they are, a close friend/family member can help add to their bio.

BIST: Do you think someone who has an acquired brain injury needs to list that on their profile? When would be the right time to share that with someone?

Tebb: Someone with ABI does not have to include that in their bio as it is very personal. Most people will either email or chat before they meet in public so it can be determined then if it’s worth telling their date. If the interaction is a positive one, and the person feels that a possible relationship can develop then they will know when the time is right. Telling someone you have an ABI demonstrates that you have built a level of trust and comfort.

I’d say that by the third date, this should be something that is discussed, before things progress further.

BIST: What steps can people take to stay safe while online dating?

Tebb: In order to avoid getting into a dangerous situation, people should source out a second opinion about someone they have met online if they are unsure. To be safe, they should not give out personal information such as their last name, address, and place of employment early on.

Always agree to meet in a public place and let a friend know where you are going as well as the time and who you are meeting. Block and report anyone that is sending inappropriate messages to your email inbox. Listen to your inner gut and if something doesn’t feel right, then stop the correspondence.

Having an ABI should not limit your chance of finding love. Test out what works for you whether it’s online dating, being set up by a matchmaker or another option.

BIST: Thank you.

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