If you’re new to online dating and find yourself intimidated by the thought of chatrooms, don’t be. Here are several ways that they can make all the difference:

Instant connections

So you’re looking for a convenient way to connect with potential partners and have finally joined a dating site. One thing you might be unsure about is whether or not you should get involved in joining a dating chat. In many ways, this is the virtual equivalent of speed dating. Instead of sifting through a lengthy list of profiles, poring over descriptions, wondering which ones are most genuine, you can leap straight into a conversation with someone. As the discussions unfold on the screen before you, the text will refresh continually. This makes your chat immediate – and once you try it you’ll find yourself getting hooked pretty quickly.

Unlike emails or text communications, getting in touch with people in chatroom is taking advantage of a similar technology to messaging in social media. You don’t have to wait around twiddling thumbs until someone replies to your profound observation. It will be responded to before you’ve had time to even think about drifting away and sticking the kettle on.

While we’re mentioning the techy side, for chatrooms to work in your browser you may well have to install a plugin or third-party software such as Flash or Java. This is easily done. If you have any concerns about installing anything into your computer, contact the dating site itself and they’ll quickly explain how convenient this all is. What’s more, once you have access to the software, a whole new dimension can open up to your chatting experience, with many chatrooms now supporting microphones or even webcams. Chatting really does become immersive when you can actually see the person at the other end of the connection.

Moderating the chat

People use dating sites for all sorts of different reasons. For some it’s definitely all about seeking out possible partners for a relationship in the real world. But for others it’s not so much about searching for love as looking for lust. It’s fairly common for users to pop up in a chatroom who are not interested in actually chatting, as in striking up a conversation. They want to bypass all that smalltalk and get down to talking dirty. So a note of caution. If you’re a bit of a shrinking violet and offended by potty mouthed banter or in-your-face discussions about sex, a thicker skin might be required if you’re not going to feel too intimidated.

Although chatrooms can be very fast-paced, making them more difficult to be regulated they can have a degree of moderation, with in-built filters to ‘edit out’ inappropriate language.

The bottom line is that before anyone can join in, they are required to be members of the site. They will already have signed the necessary disclaimer about what they are allowed or not allowed to do. If you have any complaints, you can easily report a particular user to the site moderator.

Get connecting

Perhaps another hurdle you see before getting involved is what on earth to talk about. It’s a bit like turning up at a party where you won’t know anyone. You’re standing on the threshold, bottle of wine in hand. You can hear the hubbub of music and loud chat inside but have butterflies.

My advice? Just go for it. Just like the aforementioned scenario, if you decide you don’t like the chatroom you don’t have to hang around. You can leave – and that’s so easily done at the click of a button or two on your keyboard. But if you do hang around you’ll soon pick up on the vibe. You can become involved in three-way discussions. Or more. You’ll find the speed with which the experience unfolds can become addictive. It’ll certainly get your adrenaline buzzing.

Also, when people are taking time to compose emails they can be a bit more cautious and guarded about what they have to say. In chatrooms there’s no time for deep reflection. Users are far more likely to simply come out with what’s on their mind.