This section is written for anyone supporting an online dater. If you are reading this because you are the dater, by all means read it yourself – but more importantly, send the link to this page to the person or people supporting you.
First, our thanks to you for supporting your friend (or relative, or parent, or child) to date online. It’s great work you’re doing and is usually very satisfying.
Here are some very brief notes to guide you through the process. It’s probably also worthwhile your reading through the notes we’ve given to the Dater themselves, so that you know what they know.
Helping in general
- Keep the Dater’s self-confidence up.
- Be a listening ear for them to talk through their decisions.
- Support them in the face of rejection or bad behaviour from potential partners.
- Support them to say ‘no’ to partners they aren’t sure about.
- Help them redefine what they want in a partner as they continue to date.
- Help them change what they’re doing to get more, and more suitable partners.
- If you feel out of your depth, say so. You might want suggest that instead they take coaching, with us or another good coach.
Helping at Stage 1 – Laying the Foundations
The aim of this stage is to help the Dater prepare for the work ahead. You can do this by making sure that they are really ready, and aren’t rushing into online dating too soon – if they are, do as much as you can to help them recover from any past hurt and get more enthusiastic and confident about the process.
Helping at Stage 2 – Getting Clear
The main aim of this stage is for the Dater to be clear about what they are looking for in a partner. You can help by talking through with them their likes and dislikes and particularly things that they couldn’t bear – their deal-breakers. As someone ‘on the outside’, you can give them insights into the sort of relationship in which they would thrive.
Helping at Stage 3 – Setting out Your Stall
The aim of this stage is for the Dater to write their profile, create their photo and post these on the right website. You can help here by boosting the Dater’s self-confidence, which can be low at this point. Offer to take their photos. Encourage them to see their strengths, and to believe in themselves.
Helping at Stage 4 – Making Connections
The aim of this stage is to start making connections with potential partners. You can help here by letting the Dater talk through with you who to approach and which approaches to respond to. But be careful – it’s tempting to nudge them towards partners you yourself would choose, where it’s much more important to support their choices. By all means warn them off obvious disaster dates – but otherwise let them follow their instincts. At this stage too, you will need to be very supportive as they are likely to get some rejections; remember that any such rejections are based on lack of knowledge – keep reminding the Dater that it’s never personal!
Helping at Stage 5 – Starting to Talk
The aim of this stage is to start having phone calls with potential partners. You can help here in the same way as you helped at Stage 4 – by helping them decide who to talk to, by helping them decide who to let go, by helping them remember that any ‘no’ means that they are nearer to a ‘yes’!
Helping at Stage 6 – Meeting Up
The aim of this stage is to meet up with prospective partners. You can help here very practically by supporting in the preparation for the date, helping them decide where to meet, what to wear, what to talk about. You should also be their ‘safety call’- the person they phone to say that all is going well and that they are safe. After the date, talk through with them how it went and help them decide whether – and how – to let go or to carry on.
Helping at Stage 7 – Finding your Loved One
The aim of this stage is to make the shift from online to ‘real life’. And at this point, your job is actually done. Not only will your Dater not need your help – but they’ll probably have reached the point of not wanting to talk through in detail what is happening between them and their new partner!
Your task here is to congratulate them – and yourself – for all you have done. (But of course be there for them if things don’t work out and they then need you to hold their hand as they go back online.)
And – don’t be surprised if you then want to look around for other online daters to support. Some people enjoy the buddying process so much that they want to carry on doing it…