Still looking for that special someone? We all know that dating is difficult, especially while trying to maintain a busy work/school/life schedule. Many people like the idea of online dating but are just not sure where to start, or may have the wrong impression of how this all works. Since meeting my husband, Justin, on Yahoo Personals almost 7 years ago, I get asked ALL the time for my advice on how to find love online.
Here are my 10 tips for online dating success, which come from my real-life experiences:
1. Pick the right dating site
The most popular sites all differ in their value propositions. While Match and PlentyOfFish tout their vast profile database and search capability, Eharmony and OKCupid focus more on a questionnaire-based approach to compatibility. If there’s a specific trait you’re looking for in a partner, chances are there’s also a niche, dedicated dating site out there for you (e.g. ChristianMingle, Jdate, etc.).
2. Be yourself in your dating profile
People tend to over analyze their dating profile descriptions, sometimes going so far as to embellish details to make themselves seem more interesting. You need to feel confident that your future match will appreciate that you prefer a Breaking Bad Netflix marathon to a “long walk on the beach.” Specifics and idiosyncrasies provide context, character, and personality.
3. Post accurate photos
Even though you might be self-conscious of how you look, your fitness, your age, etc. there is someone out there who will want you just the way that you are. There’s no reason to mislead someone by posting a photo from five years ago…be proud of who you are NOW!
4. Be open to different types of people
I know you may have had a “type” in the past but the best part of online dating is being able to meet different types of people, from different backgrounds, different cultures, whom you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. Open your mind to new possibilities!
5. Be prepared for creepers
You’re going to get creepy messages, LOL! I’m just being honest here! It’s annoying but just part of the process that you need to learn to deal with. If you feel like you’re getting more inappropriate messages than you can handle, maybe consider switching to a different dating service.
6. Don’t ignore red flags
At the end of the day, you need to trust your gut. If something just feels “off” about someone you’re talking to, don’t ignore that! Are they constantly making excuses for why they can’t talk, Skype, send you pictures, meet up, etc.? Chances are they’re not who they say they are. ALWAYS exercise caution when something seems fishy.
7. Video chat BEFORE meeting up
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how long you need to talk before meeting up in person for the first time. Justin and I talked for only 7 days before we decided to meet up. But each of those nights, we had deep, several-hour conversations, after which I felt like I had known him for years. Consider video chatting a few times before meeting up to make sure there’s compatibility.
8. Be safe!
So you’re sure they’re legit and you’ve made plans to meet up, what next? First things first, tell a close friend or family member exactly where you’ll be and when. And don’t forget to tell them some details about the person you’re meeting! Just be smart and prepared.
9. Meet at a coffee shop
Why a coffee shop? Firstly, it’s a public place. If they turn out to be weird, you can easily take off. Justin and I met up at a Starbucks — I told him I have to make sure he wasn’t a serial killer LOL. The other benefit of meeting for coffee as opposed to dinner and a movie is that if you are immediately turned off, you can end the date pretty quickly. If you get good vibes during coffee, you can always extend the date with another activity.
10. Be proud!
Dating online is not something to be ashamed of – a recent study found that 1 in 5 people in committed relationships meet online. On a recent trip to Bora Bora with Justin, we randomly had dinner with two other couples staying at the same resort and they both had met online! So be proud when you tell your friends, your family, your coworkers – I wear my “how we met” story as a badge of honor!
After starting our vlog channel, Justin and I have received literally THOUSANDS of messages from people asking for help with their dating, relationship, and marriage questions. As a result, we recently launched a brand new program called Next Level: Love & Relationships where we teach you how to take your love life to that “next level.”
April Moore (AprilAthena7)