The days of being embarrassed to meet people online are long gone, but the daunting task of navigating though the world of online dating sites can be terrifying and overwhelming. But don’t fret! I’ve put together a simple guide for getting the most out of your online dating experience!
1. Choose the online dating service that is right for you.
There seems to be an almost endless amount of dating sites in existence. How can you possibly begin to navigate through them? First thing’s first: you have pay dating sites, like eHarmony and Match.com, and free sites such as PlentyOfFish and OKCupid. Free sites are a good starting point; a way to test the dating waters. You can set up a profile without hassle and get started right away. And if it doesn’t work out for you, or you decide online dating just isn’t your thing, at least you won’t feel like you wasted money.
Pay sites, however, tend to be more in-depth, and cover more compatibility areas so that they can help you find the best matches. They also often offer the benefit of having more “serious” members; those who are actively searching for a partner and not just trolling the internet for cheap dates. That’s not to say that creeps and weirdos and low-lifes don’t exist on all dating sites… because they most definitely do.
There are also a lot of niche dating sites. There are dating sites for book lovers, art lovers, horse lovers, and all other manner of lovers; stoners, little people, people who have STDS, and even for specifically for inmates, sea captains, or farmers. And that’s only to name a VERY FEW. There really is a site for everyone.
And hey, if you’re looking for something a little naughtier, there are a lot of dating sites available that specialize in casual hookups between sexually open-minded adults, such as: XXXConnect, SocialSex, or NaughtyMeetings.
Once you have an idea of the site(s) you’d like to join, do your research; read reviews, and find out what other people think. There are tons of dating site reviews on this site, just FYI.
2. Be honest!
This is one piece of dating advice that should be followed regardless of whether you are dating online or not. If you are not honest about who you are, you are not going to attract someone who is compatible with you. I know it’s tempting to exaggerate a little, especially online, but all you are doing is setting both yourself and your potential date up for disappointment.
You should never be focused on convincing someone that you’re “good enough” to be with. They should want to spend time with you because they truly appreciate and desire the person that you are. And the best way to find that person is to be as honest as you can in the way you present yourself. Don’t make your profile reflect what you think people want; just make it you.
Be thorough when completing your profile. Answer/fill out all the sections and remember: honesty! I have seen countless bare-bones dating site profiles that offer you no more than the most basic information about the person.
3. Choose an appropriate username.
Go ahead, be witty, be funny, be risque. But make sure to understand what your username will say about you. You want it to be a representation of you and what you’re looking to get out of this site, but you also don’t want it to be off-putting to other members. Don’t be NiceGuyKevin72. Don’t be CatCrazedCathy101. And for the love of God, don’t be SoWet4U unless you’re prepared for the consequences. Or, you’ve decided to join one of the raunchier dating sites – then, by all means, be “SoWet” for whoever you want!
4. Show your best side with your profile picture.
We’ve all seen horrible and creepy online dating profile pictures: the shirtless 55-year-old proudly showing off his latest piece of roadkilll, the jacked dude smirking wildly amongst his sizable gun collection, and things that are just plain weird. But bad quality, low angle webcam photos and photoshopped pictures are just as bad.
Often times members are given a split-second judgement based on their profile picture. It’s a sad, but accurate truth. And when your face is lost in a sea of other faces, you need to be sure you’re putting your best foot.. er, face.. forward.
First, use a recent photo! I can’t stress this enough. You have to be honest about your looks too! So, don’t use your high school graduation photo. And don’t use that photo from when you were in your best friend’s wedding party 10 years ago. And don’t use that photo of you in a bikini from 1995. Just don’t, okay? Potential matches want to know what you look like now. Choose a photo that shows your face. One where you look happy, you’re smiling naturally, even laughing maybe. Choose a photo from a time you were having a good day. It shows in the photo.
Second, don’t use photos of you with other people. Members want to see YOU. They don’t want to see you surrounded by all your lady friends (this goes for guys AND girls!) And if you’re in the photo with someone of the same gender, how are potential dates supposed to know which one you are?? Keep the focus on you, and you alone.
And fellas? Keep your shirt on. That’s not what we’re interested in, and is in fact often times a complete turn-off. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, there is NO EXCUSE for mirror photos. I don’t need to know what your bathroom looks like. How hard is it to get someone to snap a photo of you? Better yet, raid your friends’ Facebook and Instagram accounts; they are sure to have photos of you that look more natural.
And don’t forget, most sites allow you to add multiple photos, so once you’ve chosen a stellar profile picture, feel free to add all those other photos of yourself. The more the better!
If you’re on a niche dating site, be sure to show off why it is you’re on the site! Joined a site for cat lovers? Put your little fur baby in the picture with you! Joined a site that connects travel lovers? Put up a photo from your last exotic vacation! And if you decide to join one of the more “adult” sites, you’re going to get much better results if you submit a raunchy profile picture. If you’re brave enough, show a little skin (or a lot!).
5. BE IN IT TO WIN IT
Approach online dating as you would a job search. Present yourself in the best possible light. Show potential matches why you’re so amazing. And use proper spelling/grammar/structure! There’s no reason not to and not doing so will only make you look juvenile and blasé.
And, as you should do with a resume or cover letter, get a friend to proofread and look over your profile for you. A second opinion can be invaluable.
Just like with a job search, online dating is a numbers game. Send out lots of messages! And don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from people. Not everyone is right for everyone else. When you get replies, take it slow – talk about mutual interests and find out what else you might have in common. Don’t be afraid to set up lots of dates! Go have a good time!
I hope that this advice will help you to make your profile as great as it can be so you’re able to find what you’re looking for in a match. Good luck!