Summer is here and many of us now have some extra time to look for that special someone to share our time with.
If you are tired of bars and clubs or being set up by family members there is another option that can help you make that special connection.
What started back in 1965 as “computer dating” has mushroomed into a $2 billion a year industry that matches up thousands of singles.
Once considered to be the province of crazies and losers, the current online dating scene is populated by lots of ordinary folks just like you.
If you keep these tips in mind they will help you navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of online dating.
Know your site
Not all dating sites are created equal. Some are scams that take your money without ever getting you one date, while others are pretty reliable. The largest site currently is Match.com, which guarantees you’ll meet someone special in six months. Of course their idea of “someone special” may vary from yours. Other sites highly rated by users are Zoosk and eHarmony.
There are general dating sites that serve a variety of people as well as specialized sites that cater to special groups like seniors, gays and members of certain religions or interests. For optimal results, try joining one mainstream site and one niche site.
Check pricing before you join.
The fees charged by sites can vary, from $16.99 per month (with a six-month subscription) on Match.com up to $59.95 a month at eHarmony or PerfectMatch. Most sites offer free trials that let you feel them out before joining.
If you’ve reached the end of your free trial period and haven’t met a single prospect, feel free to move on to another site. There’s no perfect, one-size-fits-all site for everyone, and it may take a bit of trial and error to find the place that’s best for you.
Write a positive but honest profile.
The dating profile is a tool for presenting yourself to total strangers in a few paragraphs. Give some biographical information and what you’re looking for in a mate. Read your finished profile and ask yourself how you sound. Superior? Controlling? Bitchy? Would you want to go out with you, based on this profile? If not, write it over. And avoid clichés!
Even if you’re not feeling so hopeful about this online dating thing, try to sound cheerful and upbeat. Mention things about your life that others can relate to, like hobbies, pets and work. Don’t sound desperate for companionship!
While serious discussions about religion, politics and personal habits should be saved for a bit later, you might want to mention if you’re an environmentalist, birther, Scientologist, cigar aficionado or Jehovah’s Witness to weed out the people that you’d spend your first (and last) date arguing with. Also, saying just that you’re a non-drinker is enough for your profile. You can add that you’re a recovering alcoholic later.
Ok. We’ve covered some of the basics of choosing a site and beginning to set up a profile that will get you noticed. Keep reading to see some tips on how to make your profile ‘pop’ so that you have a better chance of getting noticed.
The photo you use for a dating site should be less than six months old and flattering but still representative of how you really look. Try for a headshot and a body shot. Do not include photos with past partners.
Don’t even consider using an old or photoshopped picture. If someone is so shallow that they’d reject you for not being a swimsuit model or hunky actor, wouldn’t you rather just be passed over online than insulted in person if/when you actually meet for a date?
You don’t have to reveal all the gory details of your personal life in your profile, but if a relationship does develop, at some point you’ll have to come clean. If you’re going through bankruptcy, have a prison record or several kids who live with your ex, you’ll need to admit these rather than hiding everything while projecting a false façade.
Have realistic expectations.
You’re not likely to find a billionaire or supermodel on an online dating site. What you will find are a lot of everyday people like you looking for a relationship. Don’t set your sights too high, because demanding that anyone you date meet impossibly high standards will guarantee that you’ll fail to find a mate. Worst of all, you may be missing out on someone who could turn out to be your soulmate.
Get serious about your user name.
“HotStuff,” “SexyThing” or “HungLikeAHorse” do not make a good impression. Try for something that’s about you and your interests.
Don’t get discouraged.
Your chances of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right on the first date are pretty small, so be prepared to meet a lot of people and go on a bunch of dates. Try to relax and have fun. You’re more likely to make a good impression if you’re enjoying yourself.
Read between the lines.
When checking out the profiles of possible matches, look for code words that indicate the person may be trouble. Does she sound like a gold digger? Does he sound pompous and overbearing? Does s/he talk too much about sex too early in the proceedings? Look for red flags.
When you find a likely prospect, make contact. Reply to them or set up a date. Don’t be shy!
Agree to meet on neutral ground.
The first date should be about getting to know each other, and deciding if there should be a second. Try for a fairly quiet place like a coffee shop or wine bar. Avoid noisy dive bars, fast food restaurants or anyplace where you won’t be able to talk over the noise. Both parties should be able to leave when they feel like it.
Most first-date disasters involve one party trying too hard to impose his/her own tastes on the other. Try to make things as easy, simple and pleasant as possible.
Your profile is complete and you’ve started to make connections but not every date you go on is going to be perfect. If you still haven’t found ‘the one’ don’t be discouraged. Keep reading for some tips on dealing with the disappointment and rejection.
That guy or gal who sounded so perfect in their profile may turn out to have lied a little—or a lot. Whether this person is a bit delusional or a psychopathic liar, the person you meet on a date bears no resemblance, physical or otherwise, to the one whose profile caught your attention. Alas, this happens, so just write the date off as a dry run and move on.
Be prepared for rejections.
You’ll be meeting a lot of people, so it’s certain that you won’t click with all of them. It may hurt your ego when that guy or gal that sounded perfect for you refuses to reply to your message, but just consider this a sign that it wouldn’t have worked. Next!
If you thought the date was great but the other party fails to get back to you, do not deluge him/her with emails, text messages or phone calls. If the other person does not reply to one message, let it go. You can’t win them all.
Don’t feel pressured to have sex too soon.
This goes for guys, too. If you’re looking for a long-term mate, it’s better to move slowly and get to know each other. If you’re just using the dating service to find sex partners, you’d be better off just picking them off Craigslist.
Watch for scams.
Some “dating” sites are pretty obvious fronts for prostitution, like the ones that advertise “sugar babies.” A “sugar baby” is a young woman trying to finance her college education (or trips to Bloomingdale’s) by having sex with wealthy men. If that’s what you want, fine, but this isn’t the place to find a woman looking for a serious relationship.
Also be wary of sites promising mail-order brides from foreign countries. If you can’t find a mate in this country, what makes you think you’ll find Ms. Right in another one? The tipoff that you’re being scammed is if the “lady” asks you for money. Another is that she insists on being brought to your country rather than you visiting hers.
Relax and have a good time!
Online dating is not guaranteed to deliver instant romance, but neither is hanging out in bars. Don’t expect instant results. Before you meet the prince (or the princess), you’ll probably have to kiss a few toads.
|Written on 7/11/2013 by Linda Cauthen.|