The World of Online Dating
Online dating has really gained acceptance in the modern world. Searching for love online just five or ten years ago was embarrassing and something you kept to yourself in fear of ridicule. It was thought to be a last resort for people who just couldn't date like everyone else. Fast forward to now and online dating is something many people have tried, especially in the 18-24 and 25-34 age group. Online dating has also become easier to navigate through the use of dating apps that you can download on your smartphone. You can literally sit on your couch and search for your next love. Sounds pretty good right? If only it were so simple..
Just like regular dating, online dating has its rules. If you want to have any success there's just some things that you should do and others you absolutely should not. First off, a lot of your success in online dating depends on what website you choose to use. Keep in mind that most websites also have apps as well if that's your preferred choice of method. I have found through personal experience that the paid websites tend to have a better quality of men (or women) to choose from. This is simply due to the fact that people tend to take online dating more seriously when they are paying for it. If a man or woman is investing their hard earned money in order to gain access to a dating website, you can bet that they're not just looking to "netflix and chill" because they might just be into "hulu and commitment." Many people on the free dating websites are what we call "trolls" in the world of internet lingo. Some of their profiles aren't even real and they're just using someone else's photos to mess with people. I wouldn't waste my time dealing with them. The only free online dating website that is decent is Okcupid. Otherwise go for the tried and true paid ones like Match.com, eHarmony, or Zoosk.
Once you have chosen your online dating website of choice, the fun part begins: building your online profile. This is the important step in online dating because what you write or upload about yourself will literally decide what kind of people will contact you. You're marketing yourself so you better do it right. This is make or break time because you have very little time to make a first impression. Probably even less than in person because people literally scroll through and if they don't like what they see they will move right past your profile. The photos you use are the most significant thing about your profile. That's what people will see first and that's what will decide whether they talk to you or not. Online dating is very superficial in this way so you should use the best photos you have of yourself to make a good first impression. You should be happy and smiling in your photos because people want to get to know people who are happy and having a good time. Use photos no older than one year. It's really disappointing to find out the person you've been talking to no longer looks like the photos on their profile because they're from eight years ago. Use photos that best describe the type of person you are. If you love swimming, use a photo taken at the beach. If you love to dress up and go out, use a photo when you're out with friends. Make sure you don't use too many photos of you holding a drink because people may get the wrong idea that you either love alcohol too much or you might be an alcoholic and no one wants to date those. Use color photos because while black and white ones may look cool, you need to stand out in the crowd. A photo is worth a thousand words and say more about you then anything you write so choose wisely.
Next, there's usually a place on your dating profile page where you can fill out information about yourself like height, ethnicity, education, whether you have children or not, and the type of job you have. I would say be as honest as you possibly can here. Adding a few inches to your height is no big deal but choosing body type as slim where you're more curvy or big boned is just being plain dishonest. When it comes down to it, people should either like you as you are or they're just not worth your time. You shouldn't have to talk anyone into choosing you. The majority of people won't even read your profile unless they like your photos anyways so if they're already on your description then they must like what they see. If you really really don't want to answer any part of your description, just leave it blank. For example, if you don't want your profile to say whether you have children or not just leave it blank. If you start talking to someone who interests you and you get on the topic of children, then you can reveal if you have them or not. Just stick with the basics and try to be as truthful as you can without revealing any information that makes you uncomfortable.
Most profiles have a place where you can write about yourself in your own words. This is usually a few short paragraphs or maybe just a couple of sentences. I would suggest maybe two paragraphs with three to five sentences each. I don't want to read your whole life story and it's probably not a good idea to share it with the internet either. Just write a general description about yourself such as hobbies, interests, and what you're looking for in a potential partner. If you have a pet write about that. If you love your work, write why you do without going into too much detail. Just something fun and entertaining to let someone know who you are while keeping the mood light and upbeat. When I see a profile that interests me, the first thing I notice are the photos, next I look at the height and education stats, last I read the personal description the person has written. It's a good sign if someone has gotten to your description because they obviously had to like your photos and then were interested enough to find out more. This is your chance to further spark interest in a potential partner.
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Once you have your photos uploaded and a little description about yourself, you're ready to go! Things work really fast in the virtual world so expect to start talking to people as soon as your profile is finished. I have found most people won't even talk to you unless you have a photo so it's very important to upload if you're serious about finding a partner. It's a very rare type of person in this superficial world who will start talking to a blank profile with no idea of what you look like.
Women in general receive a lot more messages than men when online dating. I have received hundreds in a day when guys I have talked to about this issue admitted to only getting maybe ten a week if they're lucky.If you're a woman and you're online dating, you're holding all the cards. With the click of a few buttons you have the world in your hands and can choose anyone you want to talk to so just sit back and watch as the messages fill your inbox. As a rule of thumb, it's usually better to wait for the guy to message you first. Just like in real life, men like the hunt and chase and you don't want to come off as too easy or they'll lose interest quick. If you want a guy to know you're interested just view his profile a couple of times. It'll usually show up on his page that you viewed it and whether or not he writes you will determine if he's interested or not. If you're not getting the response you want from him after viewing his profile a couple of times, try sending him a wink or interested in icon if you can. If he doesn't reciprocate and you still can't get him off your mind as a last resort you can send a casual message stating your name and asking him a question about something in his profile. If he still pursues the silent treatment, move on. You time is better spent on someone who is worthy of it. There's plenty of fish in the sea and we're just getting started!
Most online dating websites give you the option to filter the types of guys you search for. It's basically like "build a man" only better. So if you only like guys who are a certain height you can change that to say 5'8" to 6'5" (my preferences) and only guys who match that height criteria will appear in your search results. You can also do the same with age, ethnicity, education, and many other characteristics. You can filter your search results to only show guys in your city, or any other city or state by zip code. Just be careful not to limit your search to become so narrow that guys like that simply don't exist. After all it can be very easy to go too far when building the perfect man. I know we've all been there.
Safety is a very important issue when it comes to online dating. You should never give out personal information to someone you have met on the internet no matter how cute they are. The most personal thing they should know about you is your phone number if you choose to give that out. Never give out your home phone number (do people still have those?) and always just tell them your cell phone. It's much easier for someone to find out where you live by your home phone number then your cell phone. I would suggest having at least one phone conversation with someone before meeting them in person. You can tell a lot about a person through a phone conversation as opposed to online messages or texting. If you don't feel comfortable giving someone your cell phone number suggest Skyping or video chatting. This way you will know for sure you're talking to who they say you're talking to and not getting catfished.
Catfished is a term used to describe a person who pretends to be someone else on the internet by using another person's photos. Be careful about these because there's plenty of them out there, especially in the world of online dating. Just to be on the safe side, check out someone's online social media if you can just to make sure they actually exist and you're not being made into a fool. And this probably goes without saying, but definitely don't send money to someone you met on the internet. Apparently that's a thing where people, especially women, are scammed into sending money to people over the internet who are actually scammers in other countries. As a general rule, if someone you meet on the internet is interested in anything more than your time and attention, run quickly in the other direction, or block them from contacting you.
When you have Skyped or chatted with someone and you make a date to meet in person, safety is even more of a concern. Just because the handsome stranger looks exactly like he says he does, doesn't make him any less likely to be dangerous. Always, always meet in a public place with plenty of people. First dates should be casual, like lunch or coffee during the daytime. Tell a friend or family member where you're going to be during your date so if you go missing they know where to start looking for your body. Never bring a stranger you met online to your home for a first date, that's just not a good or safe idea. Show a close friend a photo of the person you're meeting just in case something does happen so they know who to look for. You can't be too safe when it comes to meeting someone new because for all you know they are a complete stranger and you can expect anything from them especially if you're a single woman in this world.
In my experience of online dating, I have met two guys in person. Because I am alive and able to write this, they did not turn out to be serial killers. They were the "white and nerdy" type of guys that you can bring home to meet Mom one day. I guess I stayed on the safe side didn't I? Trust your instincts when it comes to meeting someone in person from the world of online dating. If it just doesn't feel right don't do it. I'd rather you hurt someone feelings then risk your life and well being. Some people just give off a bad vibe and it's all right to not want anything to do with them. There's plenty of others who are good and honest people looking for the real thing.
The greatest thing about online dating is that it enables you to meet someone that you otherwise never would. If your dating pool is shallow where you live, online dating might be a good chance to take. Even if you live in a huge city like Chicago or New York, you will never meet every single guy who lives there and online dating gives you better odds of finding a local who's been close all along but you never even knew. I would say give it about six months, and if you find it's not for you, then just pack up and delete your profile and say you give it the good old college try. Who knows, maybe your soulmate is out there searching for someone just like you right now, it's better to know then to wonder what might have been. If there's plenty of fish in the sea then there's got to be someone for everyone right? Happy fishing and I hope you reel in a good catch!
Blank Space by Taylor Swift
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