I've used online dating services almost since their inception when I've been single and wanted to meet someone. I started as a geeky girl in demand when there were few of us online, and from that a sort of elitist mentally spawned: online dating sites were fine, but I drew the line at the classifieds and chat rooms. For many years I've clung to this unspoken yet firmly entrenched rule of mine, and many of my friends have as well. Clients that have used Craigslist to meet people were few and far between, so I wasn't asked for advice on the subject often.
Fast forward to a few days ago, when I realized I've been single for some time and would like to start dating again. How should I meet people that I could potentially date? Sure, I can review my own list of places to meet people (and did), but I wanted to try something different. Something I'd never done before, something that might help me encounter folks I wouldn't meet otherwise, something totally out of character. A girlfriend of mine suggested Craigslist. My first reaction was to laugh, and then... well why not?
I wrote up a short blurb explaining where I was at and what I was looking for, as well as what I have to offer someone else. A quick proofread and a few mouse clicks later, my Craigslist ad was live. Would anyone reply? Would people make fun of me? How many inappropriate photos would I get? Would safe dating be an issue?
It didn't take long for the first people to answer, and I was surprised with their candor and intelligence. Yes, I did receive a few undesirable responses (which were immediately put in my spam folder so I never heard from them again), and a dating scam offer or two. Many were considerably older than what I'd expressly stated a preference for, and some were honest with their want for casual dating only. One gent sent a nasty note when I didn't reply in a timely manner, and one email was from a good friend (we shared a few laughs over that one).
All in all though, the experience was better than I'd hoped for. Its success is still pending, but if meeting new people was my only goal, Craigslist provided me with more positive interactions and opportunities than any online dating site has in years. If things don't work out with any of the Craigslist folks, maybe I'll try something even more out of my comfort zone in a few weeks' time.
But what about you? Have you used Craigslist to meet people? Why or why not? Are you concerned about safety, who will contact you, privacy or how it will come across to your friends/family?