Not too long ago, online dating sites were seen as a way for losers to find someone to date. After all, what kind of guy or girl can’t find someone to date among their real-life acquaintances? Times have changed, and how. According to the most recent surveys, nearly half of all Internet users – and that includes more than 80% of the country – have dated at least one person they met online, and an increasing number of people are marrying someone they originally met over the Internet. Online dating has become a phenomenon – and a legitimate way to meet someone.
Of course, just like in real life, some people have more success at the online dating game than others. On every Internet dating site, there are members whose inboxes are full of messages from prospective dates – and others who go weeks and months without so much as a nibble. What makes the difference between a successful online dating experience and a dud? These five little tips will help you line up dates – or meet that special someone you’ve been looking for all your life.
- Avoid guys with blank profiles. If they can’t be bothered to write a few lines, how much effort do you think they’ll put into a date or a relationship?
- Beware of guys that call you “beloved,” “dearest” and other endearments on their first contact.
- Be on your guard with writing patterns that don’t match the supposed profile. A profile that claims to be a lawyer does not go with lolspeak and rampant misspellings, for example.
- Be suspicious of too-perfect photos. Scam artists often choose photos from modeling portfolios to represent themselves at online dating sites. Look for profiles with a variety of photos in different settings.
1. Choose Wisely
Before you join an online dating service, do a little research. There are dozens of paid dating websites and hundreds of free Internet dating sites from which to choose, and the right one can make the difference in whether or not you meet someone you want to date or get to know better.
Check out some tips on how to choose the right dating site for you.
2. Think Twice – Write Once
Your online dating profile – and everything else you write on the dating sites – will be how people judge you when they decide if they want to meet you, so you want it to be perfect. Think before you write – in fact, think twice before you write. Consider it as carefully as you would your resume. Decide how you want to present yourself, and then work to present yourself that way.
See our tips on writing dating profiles.
3. Polish Before Posting
Before you hit “post” on your profile, look it over carefully to make sure it reflects who you are. Ask a friend or two to read it over and give you their impressions. Run it through a spell- and grammar-check to make sure you haven’t missed any glaring errors. Writing a sparkling profile that’s riddled with spelling and grammar errors is like showing up for a date with stains on your shirt.
4. Picture Yourself Pretty
People like to see a face when they’re checking out a dating profile. In fact, most dating websites will tell you that profiles with photos get up to 50 times as many responses as picture-less profiles. Before you post a photo of yourself, though, consider the impression it gives of you. Will it attract the kind of attention you want? If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, for example, an uber-sexy picture could be sending the wrong message and attracting those more interested in hooking up for a one-night-stand. On the other hand, if all you’re looking for is a good time, put on the glossy lipstick and post the hottest photo you can find.
Get tips on how to choose photos for online dating websites.
5. Respect Yourself
Many dating websites allow you to put specific filters on the types of people you want to hear from. These filters can help you weed out people you don’t want to meet before they even contact you – but they may also inadvertently shut out people whose company you’d really enjoy. Think about the types of people you don’t want to contact you, and use the tools the site gives you to block them. It’s the first defense in setting boundaries for online dating. Why would you spend time with someone who is looking for a long-term relationship when you know you only want to share a cup of coffee and tumble in the bed sheets?
6. Reach Out and Touch Someone
Sure, you could sit back and wait for your inbox to start filling up, but you’ll miss out on some of the best dating prospects out there. The fact is that the best way to get someone’s attention is to pay attention to them. Don’t sit back and wait for your Prince Charming. If you do, you’ll miss out a lot of charming and very personable stable boys who might be exactly the guy you want to spend your life with.
7. Weeding Out the Scams
The fact is that any percentage of contacts you get will be scams, frauds or fakes. The more popular online dating grows, the more it will attract slimeballs. There are ways to protect yourself from them, though, and the most important one is to get familiar with the approaches that they use. Some important tips for avoiding sleazeballs and scam artists include:
8. Move Things Along
Just like face to face relationships, online dating relationships also follow a specific trajectory. Generally, a few emails exchange will lead to a telephone conversation or two and a face to face meeting within a few weeks. This may not hold true if you’re separated by a lot of physical distance, but if you’re talking to someone within a reasonable driving distance and they’re avoiding a meeting, you have a reason to be suspicious. Likewise, if you’ve been chatting with someone local online and you’re finding excuses not to meet face to face, you may want to evaluate your own motives for avoiding the meeting. One of the most important reasons for meeting sooner rather than later – neither of you will have a chance to build unrealistic expectations too high before meeting face to face.
9. To Skype or Not to Skype
Skype and webcams make it easier than ever to see the person you’re talking with before you meet them face to face. The fact of the matter is, there’s very little downside to insisting on talking via Skype or over a webcam as part of getting to know a person before a first face to face meeting.
10. Safety First Meetings
When you set up that all-important first meeting, always put safety first. No matter how sure you are about the person you’re meeting and how safe you feel, follow all the safety rules laid out for first-time meetings. They include:
- Meet in a public place where you have an easy escape route.
- Arrive and leave in your own transportation.
- Tell friends and/or family where you are going, who you will be meeting and when they can expect your return.
- Set up check-in times with family and friends to let them know you’re all right.
- If the person you’re meeting objects or is insulted by any of your precautions, re-evaluate your relationship.
Online dating opens your world up to new potential partners and mates. Following these tips can help ensure you make the most of those dating opportunities.