5 tips for online dating on Craigslist

February 28 | Guest post by Megan
By: ittybittiesforyouCC BY 2.0

Yes, I used Craigslist for online dating, and YES you can find ANYTHING on there. Even a spouse. Craigslist yielded the most results, and they were all pretty normal people. Yes, they wanted sex and hookups. But frankly, no matter what site you're on, they're gonna be after that if they can get it.

I had no idea of the reputation of Craigslist before I got on it, maybe if I had I wouldn't have used it. But I did online dating via Craigslist for probably six years and went on maybe a couple hundred dates.

Here's my advice…

1. Don't go to casual encounters

If you want more than a hook-up, don't post under that section (duh). Although… I do have a friend in a long-term relationship where they initially met as a casual encounter. So maybe take that advice with a grain of salt.

2. I always led with my strongest differentiator

My problem was too many responses, either generic or horribly lonely. I wanted fewer better responses. So I was found a differentiator to screen as many people as possible out. Mine was "no TV," but yours can be anything!

3. Text is sufficient to determine if you want to meet that person

My sense of who people were from a brief text-only response was very good. If I caught a whiff of misogyny or conventional dating norms from a short email, or if I simply thought we were not alike, I was usually always right.

4. I never put up a picture

I never asked for one either, since I was unwilling to give one. When I was answering an ad, I figured I should meet his terms, so I would send one if asked. But I absolutely refused to post or send one if it was my own ad. It is just fucking coffee. You can live through one coffee with an "ugly" girl, if that's who I turn out to be.

5. Finally, go to brunch, my friends

I feel like brunch is the key to internet dating, from someone who went on hundreds of internet dates! Brunch will do you right. There's no question of spending the night. It ends, and you haven't wasted your whole day thinking about it. And it's always fun to eat brunch out! Go to brunch, it's a million times better than dinner or drinks.

went on so many dates (and was generally shocked at how bad people were at putting their best foot forward). It took me a while to realize that my goal, on any particular occasion, was not to meet My Soulmate. My was just to meet people — because that was also progress. And because of that, I did finally meet someone! It may take a while, but if that's what you want, meeting a lot of people will very likely get you there. And Craigslist is as good a place as any, if you know how to use it.

What are YOUR tips for dating people on Craigslist?

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  1. Huh. I guess if you really like meeting new people and you don't mind spending time and money going on hundreds of dates, this makes sense… but that is a LOT of dates. I can't imagine having any desire to waste time and money on a date with someone who knew the second he saw me that he wasn't attracted to me (or vice-versa.) If, of course, I was looking for a mate. Looking for friends, it shouldn't matter. But given how often people are scammed on craigslist (or worse) I don't think I'd be very comfortable with meeting an unseen, unvetted stranger off of there :-/ I gotta have a little more info than that.

    2 agree
  2. Going on hundreds of dates would be my personal nightmare – I'm the most non-confrontational person and I find it super hard to say "thanks for your time but this isn't going to work for me". The other scenario is that I like the person and have to hear that from them, or not hear anything back at all, which may be worse.
    I admit I'm a chicken and give huge kuddos to people that are comfortable and outgoing enough to meet perfect strangers, because we're all lonely in the city and why the hell not!

    3 agree
  3. Well, I'm right there with your friend on advice #1. I met my now husband on a casual encounter on Craigslist (he was inviting to go out have a drink with his friends and I had just moved to this town and thought it was a good way to meet people). We were friends for 6 months before starting to date and then…

  4. I think this is generally good advice–enjoy the ride, enjoy the people you meet, don't fret too much. People who hate dating are unpleasant to date, so your joy in the process (and brunch!) is right on. I would offer a caveat to #3, that that ability varies WIDELY. I was terrible at determining who people were from their profiles, text conversations, or even lengthly emails. And I couldn't get better at it–couldn't figure what in an ad equaled a mean or boring or passive-aggressive first date. And I had friends who were brilliant at it, but in the end I had to meet people in person to get their deal. This is just a know-yourself thing, I think.

    1 agrees
  5. I have to say, I don't entirely agree with this. When I was using Craigslist to find dates, I never kept it at a brief conversation. I was able to weed out more than a few guys (that never would have been a good match) by talking to them for a couple days first. Most didn't mind. Also, if a guy asks for a picture, don't be afraid to say "I'd prefer to get to know you a bit first." Again, a guy worth your time won't mind, and in my experience, they generally don't ask straight away either. Guys who ask for a picture straight away are generally shallow pigs.

  6. I met my husband in 2010 through his craigslist personals ad. I never posted my own ad, I just replied to ads. My two rules: can't overtly just be looking for sex, and must use decent grammar. That screened at least 80% of the ads I read.

    When I found someone worth contacted I used a gmail address dedicated to online dating, along with a google voice number. I took my privacy very seriously for safety reasons and also because of the sensitive nature of my job.

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