It can feel overwhelming and chaotic when you first jump into online dating or meet someone through a dating app or website, and it can be disappointing if you don’t connect with anyone immediately.
As many as one-third of U.S. marriages now begin online thanks to committed couples meeting each other online. There’s no harm in trying.
There are a few basic rules that you need to keep in mind when using online dating apps, whether you’re new to the experience or just want to make the most of your experience.
In my experience, the secret to online dating is in the way you approach it.
Online Dating Tips
1. Know What you Want
A person’s chances of finding a good match online are increased when they know what they are seeking. What is your interest in finding a long-term partner?
Would you prefer to date casually or have sex with someone? What about meeting new people that you find interesting?
You should have a clear idea of what you want. Perhaps you can even write down your ideal relationship, and who you would like as your ideal partner.
This will allow you to be thoughtful when swiping right (connect) or left (pass) on users. Ensure that you match with people whose dating goals align with your own.
2. Write a Profile that Mirrors What you Want
Give your profile some thought! Having a short and funny profile might be right for you if you want most to have fun and laugh.
Write a longer and more thoughtful profile if you would like to form a deeper relationship with someone. Showcase who you are, what you enjoy doing, how you think, and the kind of person you would like to meet.
Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, a relationship therapist, says it’s okay if your profile doesn’t appeal to everyone. You will stand out with a well-designed profile, she says at MBG.
3. Use clear Photos of your face, ideally smiling
On your dating profile, it’s a good idea to provide a variety of pictures of yourself. It may be difficult to tell who you are in the first photo if it is a group shot. Be sure your face is clearly visible. It is generally regarded as more approachable and fun to post smiling photos. Include some photos that show off your personality too, such as one that shows you laughing, one that shows you relaxing outdoors, or one that shows you in your PJs with a decaf coffee on a Friday night.
Milrad recommends taking photos that reflect today’s reality.
4. Send Messages Freely
Some people are hesitant to send out or reply to messages when they first begin online dating. Once you start talking to someone, you’ll meet them. You do not need to date someone after you send a message; see it as a way to start a conversation with that stranger at the coffee shop sitting next to you.
Please message anyone you find interesting, and do respond to anyone who interests you.
(Some dating apps only let you message people if you’ve matched or indicated interest, so it makes sense to reach out after your match is confirmed. Meanwhile, you have mutual interests.)
9. Meet up as soon as you feel Comfortable
Many people can get trapped in endless texts, never resolving them in real life or putting unnecessary pressure on the date to go well if they simply wait too long to meet up. When you finally go out on a date, you may realize that there is no chemistry in person after weeks of texting and messaging.
Former eHarmony CEO Grant Langston told the mbg that the fastest way to figure out a person’s physical attraction is to meet face-to-face.
When you realize you’re not here for a pen pal, you can do as you wish. Go for that walk. Have that cup of coffee.”
First dates do not need to be extravagant – they can just be a quick walk or even a video chat.
10. Define the Relationship
If you have been going on dates and talking with someone for some time, start defining your relationship with them. The goal should not be to jump right into exclusive commitment; it should only be to talk about the reasons you’re spending time together and how each of you sees the relationship developing.
What you can say to these questions:
- What kind of relationship does the future hold for you?
- Are we doing the right thing right now? How do you see us?
- As we work together, I’m enjoying discovering more about you. It’s too early to call it a relationship, but if things continue as they are, then I can see it becoming one. What are your thoughts?
- What is your current relationship status?
If something you see as a prospective relationship turns out not to be a good fit, you won’t waste time. Gigi Engle, a sexologist and sex coach, says that people are more likely to find love by being vulnerable.
She writes that “vulnerability is required for real relationships and meaningful connections.”. When it comes down to it, it is about risking getting hurt just to find real love.
11. Be patient
Taking time is necessary. If you start online dating, you might not meet anyone for a while. It might take you some time for to adjust to the culture surrounding dating apps, and the process of dating itself might take some time for you to warm to.
Don’t give up, keep engaging, and remain positive. Taking a break will allow you to return when you’re ready to dive back in.
Have a great time! The point of dating is to find someone that you are compatible with. With your new skills in online dating, I wish you much success!