1. Find a site that’s matched to your interests and needs
A quick Google search will come up with literally thousands of sites dedicated to online dating. Choosing just one (or a few) can be a daunting task. Don’t be afraid and take time to scan through as many as you can to find a good fit. There are sites dedicated to those who love music, for people with different nationalities and religions and even some dedicated to finding you a great one-night stand. Wow.
2. Get someone to help with your profile
This doesn’t mean getting your friend to write your profile for you. Oh no, we’re strong advocates of writing it yourself. But a trusted friend’s point of view can provide valuable feedback.
3. Ace your photo
No selfies, please! That might send the message that you have no friends (read: loser!). No duck face photos either. Be natural – keep hair and makeup simple. It’s also a good idea to upload more than one photo – a close up, full length and action shot, at the very least.
4. The pictures you see are just a guide
You’ve found Robert Pattinsons’ doppelganger. Hooray! You quickly shoot him an email and await a reply impatiently. A day goes by… and nothing. You send another note, just in case the first one didn’t go through (you’ve managed to come up with a million reasons why this may be the case). Day 3: He replies. You buy a new dress and hurry off to meet that cutie pie only to walk right past him in the restaurant where you were meeting. Not because you suddenly got cold feet but because you honestly couldn’t recognise him. This may sound a little cruel but people find it especially easy stretching the truth (read: lying) about their appearances when they can hide behind their laptop.
5. Meet in a public place
This may sound like an obvious one but ladies, please be safe. My mom is convinced that the majority of people on internet dating sites are serial killers. This is obviously not true but there’s no point taking any chances. And just for good measure, inform your friend who you’ll be meeting and where.
6. Don’t respond to every email you receive
Unless they all interest you and can see each message leading somwhere. If you immediately know you’re not going to hit it off, just hit the delete button and move on.
7. Don’t go for dinner on the first date
You’ve exchanged a couple of messages and this one guy sounds promising. You may be tempted to go for a romantic dinner, but don’t. Once you’re sitting down with this stranger, there’s no way out until the bill arrives (unless you plan to climb out the bathroom window – like Lucy from the Big Bang Theory). Meet for a cup of coffee or drinks after work instead. Much less commitment. Here’s what to expect on a first date and who should pay?
8. Have an exit strategy
Online dating is a game of numbers. You know this and have taken the time to exchange messages with a variety of people (including a couple who are not your ‘type’ – which may be a good thing!). Hell, perhaps you’ve even gone on a date or two. But now you want to escape. It’s just not working. Don’t pretend that those dates never happened. Be upfront and send a message explaining that it just didn’t click for you. And if you’re on the receiving end of such a message, don’t take it personally. It’s just the way online dating works.
9. Don’t be embarrassed that you’re in the online dating game
That stigma is long gone. Be proud that you’re searching for love. When you’ve been happily married for 30 years, no one is going to care where you met each other.
10. Have fun!
Your online leads will sometimes turn out to be nothing like you imagined but each date adds to the experience and remember, you’ll have a hilarious story to share with your girlfriends. If you start feeling pressured or frustrated by internet dating, just leave. There are no rules. You could always come back to it later.
(Image from Pinterest)