Whether on a dating website or on social media, it is possible to come across a special person. So how do you approach this person without looking weird?
We have already talked about how to approach an interesting person, in real life. But what about the virtual world? In fact, they are not too different, but there are small considerations to keep in mind. First: appearance. Whether in the real world or the virtual, do not be seduced by the external appearance. And this advice applies in all areas (Proverbs 31:30 and 1 Samuel 16:7). Do not be seduced by a car salesman because he is attractive. Do not judge the seriousness of a woman because she wears professional clothes. Especially in the virtual world, because in this place everyone chooses a picture that presents them from an advantageous angle.
We can appreciate the beauties of nature, but we must build our relationships on something other than a temporary appearance. In short, the first rule when approaching a person online is not to approach a person just because they are beautiful. “Physically, you’re my type of woman, I’d like to get to know you more.” Yeah, yeah … you’re gonna get a slap on the face virtually by the recipient of this message! You will not receive a good reaction from a daughter of God if you approached her this way in the real world, so it will not work in the virtual world either! In fact, as long as you have not exchanged multiple messages, do not even discuss the physical appearance of the person. If you talk about physical attributes at the beginning of your conversations, even as a compliment, you will look like someone who is just looking for sex.
The ideal approach must be based on a common interest, not physical attraction! For example, you can point to a comment that this person has made that shows you have the same beliefs. “I saw that you said (…) in the group (…) and I totally agree with you.” And that’s it. Do not make an invitation to know them more right away. When this person again posts something that you like, then you can perhaps send them a private message saying “Again, I agree with what you said about (…) in the group (…). If you would like to continue to talk about (the subject), you can write to me. I would be happy to talk to you about it.” And then… you wait. You have opened an opportunity for conversation that is not out of place or uncomfortable. Or, you could have left a nice congratulatory comment under their photo showing their new car, or a message of sympathy if they post a piece of sad news.
We are not saying to lie and pretend that you share the same interests just to start a conversation. Lying or manipulating is a sin, and a child of God should never do that. If you are only interested in their body, do not invent reasons to speak to them: repent, you are coveting (Matthew 5:28). But if someone catches your eye, look for something else you like about that person. And if you do find something else, then you have a good reason to talk to them.
Another tip: do not let your heart get ahead of you (Song of Songs 3:5). If a person shares one of your passions, this is not the sign that you have to marry them! If you send them a message, do not go buy your wedding dress! The person who receives the message may not have the desire to know you at all, and hopefully, they will say it diplomatically, but they may simply ignore you. Send uplifting messages, but without expectations. The Bible tells us we should encourage each other (Romans 12:10), so you obey God by sending a message like: “I agree with you”, “continue, don’t stop!”, “What you said was right”.
If you are the person who receives a nice message, do not go buy your wedding rings! Do not judge the person who sent you this message on a comment, or on their profile picture. If the message you receive is weird, poorly written, be nice to the person who sent it to you. Although the message is virtual, it’s not a robot that sent it to you. Your Heavenly Father asks you to show respect and love. According to 1 Corinthians 13:5, love does not suspect evil. People can be clumsy, it’s up to us to be respectful in our responses. You have the right to say “no, thank you”, so do it if necessary (James 5:12). But be careful: do not close the door to everyone either. If you do not let anyone talk to you, you will develop a closed-door reputation and you will put off good prospects.
When you think about it, all the Christians you meet are your sisters and brothers. Stop analyzing the marital potential of people of the opposite sex you meet, and start talking to everyone as you would with your family, without ulterior motives. You will be much freer, much more relaxed, and above all, you will fulfill God’s will to love one another (John 13:35).
(For more tips on what to do online, get our book “Finding the one that clicks”.)