If you’re new to online dating, it can be quite intimidating from afar.
It might feel strange talking to people virtually, not knowing how the whole thing works, and wondering if you’ll be safe.
But the great news is, so many people successfully use online dating sites today to connect with and meet potential matches. It’s not just for people who are socially awkward, or looking for casual hookups. Some people form amazing friendships, while others have found lifelong partners.
So regardless of what you’re looking for, online dating is a great way to meet new people.
Here’s what every newbie needs to know.
Get Clear On What You Want
What kind of relationships are you looking for? Start by deciding if you want a relationship, a friends with benefits situation, or just friends. If you’re looking for a relationship, figure out what qualities you want in a partner.
Be clear on your dealbreakers and go for 80% of what you want and leave some things up to chance. Nobody’s perfect, and your dream person won’t be either.
Pick the Right Dating Site or App
The right dating site for you depends on who you want to meet, the type of relationship you’re looking for, and many other smaller factors. As a rule of thumb, dating apps tend to be more casual and younger, although they do include people of all ages and many relationships started with an app date.
Pay-to-play dating sites are generally for more serious crowds and skew a bit older.
Build a Winning Bio
Profiles are how you introduce yourself to all the other singles out there. If it’s not good, you’re going to be out of luck. Be funny. Use personality. Talk about your hobbies, passions, and favorite movies. Give as many conversational entry points as possible. Dating online is like approaching a stranger in a coffee shop, in other words, it can be awkward. So help them break the ice by giving them a lot of information.
Have your friends of the sex you’re attracted to critique your bio and photos. And no matter what service you use, good photos are essential to your success.
Reserve Some Judgement For In Person
You should absolutely make the best profile you can make. That said, you are more than your profile and you should give people you’re on the fence about the benefit of the doubt.
Sometimes, people are bad at representing themselves online, and occasionally it’s worth taking a chance on an imperfect profile.
You never know who might end up surprising you.
Invest Your Time
The biggest complaint you’ll hear about online dating is that people can’t find anyone worth dating.
Online dating is easier than meeting people in person, but it’s not easy. Relationships and love take time and energy. If you’re not willing to put those in, well, you’re not going to get very far. So if you really want to meet new people, then you need to commit your time and attention to it.
Work On Your Openers
Everyone’s received a million, “Hi” and “How are you?” texts. Ban these from your list of openers. Generic messages like these don’t help you to start interesting conversations, and the hardest part is getting the conversation started. Make a better effort.
That’s why you need to have some conversation starters ready to go that will help you get to know each other better and feel connected.
- What would you do today if you won the lottery?
- What did you want to be when you were a child?
- What’s the happiest memory you have?
These are interesting, open-ended questions that can lead to lots of sharing and discovering between people.
This doesn’t mean you follow a script. It just means that you have some handy pointers to help you along the way.
The ideal scenario is you start online dating today, meet the person of your dreams, and live happily ever after. But that’s not the likely scenario.
Optimism is great, but don’t pressure yourself to meet someone right away. Look at online dating as a way to talk to and meet interesting new people. It will take time, so give it that.
Stay Safe and Enjoy
It’s normal to be apprehensive about trying online dating for the first time, but worrying doesn’t do anyone any good. Try to relax, enjoy the process, and be open to what comes your way.