Want to be sure you're pressing the right buttons? Read our guide to getting it on when you're online.
Virtual meat-markets, often dedicated to specialist interests (Kite-Flying-Singles/Unemployed But Attractive etc). Just log in, create a screen name that says something about you (Dufus21) and make a connection. Think of a scrolling transcript of a live zoo radio station and you'll get the picture.
- Netiquette: If you're new to the chat room, it's often a good idea to 'lurk' (read, don't write) just to get an idea of the kind of conversation going on. Steaming in with an invitation for everyone to 'feel your love' means your response will probably involve the words 'off' and 'piss'.
- Upside: The chance to reinvent yourself.
- Downside: Everyone else can reinvent themselves too.
If chat rooms seem too frantic and confused, impose some order in your online love life by turning to message boards. You can take your time reading over threads from lonely hearts everywhere, plus you get a chance to consider anything before you post - which beats just blurting it out.
- Netiquette: Message boards provide a great platform for debate, but keep the personal dissing to a minimum, especially if you're aiming to pull. Also remember that, unlike a chat room, anything you say could be up online for many years to follow.
- Upside: Easier to pick who you want to talk to.
- Downside: Can make the flirting process a bit drawn out.
The virtual billet doux and perhaps the single most important means of 'love communication' there is. It's discreet, instant and intimate and (sort of) confidential. The downside is you actually have to know someone to get an email relationship going. You can't just email strangers and hope to strike lucky.
- Netiquette: Most people do away with letter-writing formalities and just wade in with whatever they want to convey. Setting up a receipt-request (as proof that your email has been read) is considered, well. . . a little odd.
- Upside: The world is your oyster.
- Downside: Bit of a bummer if your chosen one lives on the other side of it.
As technology evolves, so flirting online becomes more sophisticated and webcams are a case in point. Instead of just believing that you're chatting to a hot blonde or a dark-haired stranger, you'll actually be able to see that bunch of 14-year-old schoolboys having a laugh at your expense.
- Netiquette: Don't go naked unless invited.
- Upside: You get to see the people you're flirting with.
- Downside: You get to see the people you're flirting with.
Know your net-lingo
Like any other type of slang, the language of the net moves at an incredible speed, so these are just the basics.
A/S/L? Age/ sex/ location?
AFAIK As far as I know
AFK- Away from the keyboard
ATM At the moment
BRB - Be right back
BTW - By the way
CY/CYA - See you/ see you around
FAQ Frequently asked questions
IRL In real life
IMHO- In my humble opinion
LMAO- Laughing my arse off
LOL - Laugh out loud
Lurker Someone who reads, but doesnt post
Newbie New to the forum, or the internet
OMG Oh my God!
ORLY Oh, really?
PMSL - Pissing myself laughing
PWND or pawned Owned, i.e. you have lost.
ROFL - Roll on floor laughing
TBH To be honest
WTF? What the fuck?
Moving on and meeting up
Before you meet up, you should aim to have several chats on the phone first. You need to get to know each other better and work out whether you really do want to see the real them. If you decide to meet the person in real life make sure you do so safely. Tell someone where you are going and arrange to call them at a certain point - or better still, take someone along with you. Always meet somewhere public and have an excuse up your sleeve in case you want to make a quick dash for it.
Yay! We hit it off
Good for you, but now you'll have to find a way of making it work. If you both live locally, treat it as a normal new relationship and arrange another date. If it's going to be a long-distance thing work out how often you can see each other (think in terms of your finances and the practicalities of it all). Long-distance relationships can work but they aren't easy.
You both have to keep up the effort and phone each other in between meetings. If it becomes too much hassle or too serious when you just want to have fun, be honest with the other person, don't waste each other's time and money.
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