Online Dating during the holidays creates a unique set of challenges and benefits. The good news? You’ll never be at a loss for something to chat about! Spiked eggnog always brings out the latest family secrets – Uncle Morris gambled away his savings with online poker – and reveals office romances – the shy accountant and hunky IT nerd apparently share more than a passion for just numbers!The bad news? You’re visiting Mom and Dad, a/k/a ‘the last people in America with dial-up!’ Online Daters must navigate the delicate balance of staying connected via technology while staying connected to the people they’ve traveled hundreds of miles to visit.Luckily, keeping internet romances active while traveling has never been easier! You can stay in touch via text, email and update your social networking site anywhere in the world with a wireless signal.Naturally, you’d rather spend time chatting with friends and dates online rather than listen to Uncle Pat tell his World War 2 stories for the umpteenth time. Your family would agree with you intellectually (they’ve heard the same stories over and over again, too!) but you’ll offend everyone emotionally by spending too much time on your computer.The solution? Stay connected both in person and in cyberspace. With these three simple tips, you’ll enjoy the holidays while maintaining your routines… and perhaps even learn something interesting from Uncle Pat!TIP # 1 – GOT SIGNAL ?Plan ahead for the time and privacy to maintain your online routines.Before you visit, research all the options for getting online. Unlimited possibilities exist even in small towns. Check for internet cafes, hotels, libraries, copy centers… even your cell phone! If you aren’t familiar with your phone’s bells and whistles, call your carrier. They can tell you if your phone has internet capabilities and/or can be used as a modem with your laptop.Choose several options for flexibility. If the library’s closed, you can use the internet café and vice versa. Even if you’re lucky enough to be visiting someone with a big, beautiful computer screen attached to their lightening speed computer all set-up and ready to go, don’t be tempted to “borrow it” when they’re not using it.Nothing will make you go from a delightful guest to a shamed pest should you unknowingly introduce a virus or press a wrong button that results in deleting an important work file or wedding photos.Some hosts may encourage you to use their computer for checking your email, but change their minds when you reveal you’re chatting with your online dates. It doesn’t make sense technologically, but some people feel uncomfortable when you use their computer for dating.TIP # 2 – FACE TIME AND THEN FACEBOOK!Be pro-active and spend ‘together time’ with those you’ve come to visit and then carve out some personal time to spend with those you miss! Depending upon your family and friends, ‘together time’ might be morning, afternoon or evening. Work around their schedule and keep everyone happy!For example, your Mom shops in the morning for groceries and prepares dinner in the early evening. During the day, she never misses her ‘nap time,’ which is the perfect time for you to run some errands or go to the gym. Since you’ve researched ahead, you know you can use the library’s computers in between your errands or visit the cybercafé after your workout.Make sure you can access your email account from any computer. If you haven’t already, set up a separate screen name just for online dating that reveals your personality but never personal information.
are all great suggestions for a tennis player, artist or wine lover! You want a screen name to attract the right attention and then easily discard once you’ve met the love of your life, so you won’t be bothered by previous dates. All the internet giants offer FREE email accounts – Google, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc.TIP # 3: GETTING TO KNOW YOUThe last time you saw Aunt Betty, you were a twelve-year-old in pigtails in and she reminded you of a librarian. Now you’re a hip career woman with an active online social life and she still reminds you of a librarian! During this short visit, how much information is too much information?If you’re single, plan on being asked about your social life. It’s a holiday rite as traditional and unwelcome as fruitcake. Once you understand that the person asking really doesn’t care about your personal situation as much as they’re just making conversation (your mother excepted, of course), you’ll find it easier to give an answer that satisfies everyone.”I’m dating several interesting people, including one person who’s an arborist. I never knew there was such a career. Have you ever known someone who was an arborist?”"I’ve been meeting people with a shared interest in tennis. I’m taking lessons now and really love the sport. Aunt Betty, I hear you used to be quite the tennis player.”Interesting conversationalists steer the conversation to a topic others wish to discuss and then sit back and listen. Do you have to hide the fact you’re dating online? Definitely not! But just as you’d rather not know too much about Uncle Pat’s prostate problems or Cousin Paul’s love of women’s shoes, some family and friends may not wish to know too much about your online dating.And if they persist to hear about your online dating experiences? Consider yourself an Ambassador to the Future! Don’t get too personal in explaining the great site you found for dating men with hairy backs. Stick to generalities such as why online dating is so popular.”Aunt Liz, I love online dating because it’s perfect for busy people and allows you to get to know someone before a physical attraction, making for a more solid relationship.”If all else fails – laugh! You didn’t choose your family, but here’s Cousin Pete putting his foot in his mouth again with such gems as,”Well, in my day, only the losers and hookers placed personal ads.”Cherish the holidays for the great stories they provide and then chat away!(c) Copyright – Karin Anderson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide