How to Succeed at Online Dating

As life gets more hectic, more people are turning to online dating. Whether you use a dating app or a website (or both), online dating for the first time can be overwhelming.

This article features tips on how to create a profile that reflects your personality, how to search for people with common interests, and how to initiate conversations and in-person meetings.

Self-Evaluate. Be honest with yourself about the kind of person you’re looking for. Don’t settle; however, understand that the saying you can’t judge a book by its cover can be very true. If you can’t find anyone interesting in the current profiles, understand that new ones appear daily on popular sites.

Advertise. Put up several recent photographs of yourself — in both indoor and outdoor light, also a variety of full body shots as well as close ups of your face. Do not put the classic “Myspace angle” photos or any glamour pictures.

Using the ‘teaser image’ feature you can modify your photo to give an idea of what you look like without someone being able to actually identify you. You can show your original photo to someone after you screen them and decide that you are interested.

Play the field. Don’t put all of your focus on online dating. Don’t seem so desperate that the internet is your last and only hope to find that someone special. For all you know the right person is out at the library, coffee shop, or buying groceries. You have to be positive and think that way as well. People are not attracted to desperation.

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Check back. Check a few times a week to see if anyone new has shown up that may interest you.

Thou shall not stalk. Do not hound the same person over and over, send them a message or two and after that leave them alone if they don’t return your contact — they’re probably not interested.

Keep it positive. When writing things about yourself tell people what kind of person you are looking for. Be humorous and upbeat, but be clear about what your interests are and the type of individual you are interested in. If you won’t date a smoker, a drinker, someone with children, make that clear (but not rudely) in your profile. Keep in mind that some smokers, drinkers, single parents may still (for whatever reasons) contact you.

Do your homework. Some of the online dating websites are becoming more sophisticated in the way they match up people, but that does not mean that they cannot make mistakes. Always check someone out for yourself (Google, Dogpile, etc.) before you accept a date from them. Just because an emotionless computer thinks you may be a good match for someone does not mean that you are. Look their profile over and email/call them a few times before making the decision to meet.

Interview. Always have a phone conversation with a match before any initial meeting. Be highly cautious of anyone who does not want to speak on the phone before meeting, or comes up with repeated excuses as to why they cannot meet you. Have no further contact if a match does this.

Caution. Be cautious with the information that you provide a potential match. Do not give specific details about where you live or where you are employed.

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Detect Liars/Fraudsters. Take note of any discrepancies in the details the person provides you — it’s usually an indication that the person is misleading you.

Play it safe. Always have the first few meetings and dates in a public place and always let a relative or friend know where you are going and who you are meeting. Never invite someone to your home during an initial meeting. Do not drink heavily and do not allow anyone but the wait staff and yourself near your drink.

Have a safety net. Have a friend or relative call or text you during your initial meeting to see if you’re fine.

Fraud is everywhere. Be alert to red flags, such as a person repeatedly canceling meetings, asking for money, or pressuring you for personal information or sex (including nude photos) early in your acquaintanceship. Cut off contact completely if any of these occur.

Keep an open mind. Be optimistic and upbeat, but be realistic that even the most accurate profile and photograph does not always correlate to real life chemistry between two people. Sometimes two individuals simply won’t click, but sometimes they will. Good luck!

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