Katia had three wonderful dates with Lucas. They had such a deep emotional and intellectual connection and things got intense very quickly. He was so tender and loving when they ended up in bed, and he held her all night. After breakfast he promised to call her and arrange for them to spend a day walking in the countryside.

But she never heard from him again, despite messaging him several times. She was sad but not that surprised. The same thing had happened to several friends who were online dating.

Henry had been messaging Georgie for several weeks. They’d talked on the phone but Georgie always held back from committing to a date. Then she stopped messaging completely with no explanation. Henry was disappointed because he’d put a lot of effort into sending her interesting things to read and music he thought she’d like, and she’d responded positively. He would have liked to know whether he’d done anything wrong.

People can behave badly when online dating. But there are plenty of us who want to challenge that. If you want online dating to be more like organic dating (meeting people naturally, in real life), make a decision to follow my Dating Nicely Code below.

You don’t have to be perfect or annoyingly moral – it’s just a set of aims designed to improve the norms of online dating. You don’t have to promise to keep them all …. Just try your best!

This code is a work in progress and your comments are welcome!

Dating Nicely Code

I will try my best to:

  1. Treat people online like I do my friends: with respect, honesty and kindness.
  2. Be honest with the facts and in my photos for my dating profiles.
  3. Be upfront and truthful about what kind of encounter or relationship I’m looking for.
  4. Say goodbye when ending an online conversation rather than just disappearing.
  5. Make every effort not to cancel dates, especially on the day.
  6. Get back to people after a date to say whether I want to see them again.
  7. Not manipulate people into bed.
  8. Be gentle and kind when ending things.
  9. Share up-to-date information about my sexual health if asked.
  10. Not date others if we’ve agreed to be exclusive.

We know that in situations of uncertainty, people look to the behaviour of similar others to decide what behaviour is acceptable. When people ghost, or use inappropriate language when messaging, or back off after having sex, and so on, we need to challenge it – gently. There are often good reasons why people are, for example, cowardly or ambivalent in the way they communicate, but we don’t often get to find out what they are. We need to resist the temptation to sink to the lowest common denominator just because others are doing so but help each other overcome our fears about commitment and honesty.

There are plenty of decent people out there that want to treat each other like fellow human beings, not commodities or sexual objects. I want this code to become something people look for on each other’s profiles. The right person isn’t going to be put off by it but will be relieved to find there are other normal, decent people out there!

So, make it your new year’s resolution to be part of the movement to improve everyone’s dating experiences.

Organic Dating

I also want to encourage #organicdating ….. Meeting people naturally, in real life. The more we do this as well as online dating, the more we’ll remember how we used to treat people before online dating spoilt us. Please use the hashtag when tweeting to spread the word!

So, ask your friends to introduce you to their friends and organise socials where your friends bring their friends.

Make more friends by going to Meetups to fit your interests, go speed dating, go to singles nights, if you’re going through divorce come to our meetup group.

See here for more ideas.

And remember, dating nicely is attractive…. to the right people.