Online Dating – What you need to know

Online dating is one of the most stigmatized romantic ventures there is, and despite the fact that it’s becoming more and more commonplace, it leaves many people uneasy.

Don’t despair – there’s nothing wrong with online dating. In fact, it makes sense; why would you just expect to find a good match at a bar or at work? Wouldn’t you rather be paired with someone based on common interests? Screw tradition. Romance is what you make it.

However, it’s certainly not easy. Online dating is no guarantee that you’ll find “The One” – or anyone, for that matter. Here’s a couple pointers on how to succeed in online dating.

1. Design your profile carefully

Your profile is meant to show who you are. It’s your online outfit – so make sure it’s a good one. First and foremost, you need to have your picture game on point. Decent pictures can make or break an online profile. We could go on forever about photos alone, but here’s a couple key considerations:

– Only high quality photos. Low-resolution pics are the Internet equivalent of spooky, old-timey circus music. Use flattering angles and lighting, too.
– Variety. If every photo on your account is a selfie, you’ll give the impression that your entire life is just you taking pictures of yourself, all alone. And while that may be true, this isn’t the impression you want to give. Show off your friends, lifestyle, etc. Just not your exes. Don’t know why we have to say that, but we do.
– Have the right amount of photos. One picture makes you look like a fake account. Hundreds make it look like you’ve been on this site for way too long. Strike a balance.

As far as the other aspects of your profile go, like the biography or the interests section, just be you. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re intelligent, show that off.

2. Message wisely

Now that you’ve got your profile decked out and ready to go, you’ll want to start matching with people. However, just matching with someone isn’t a guarantee. Now you’re gonna have to get typing.

There’s no universal guide to what works, but there’s plenty of “don’ts.” Immediate sexting has about a 100 percent fail-rate, as does sending 10 messages in a row asking why they haven’t responded yet. These are creepy and guaranteed losers in the online dating world. Something bland like “Hey :)” is also pretty unlikely to work.

Your best bet is to ask questions. The goal is to get a conversation flowing, and by asking questions, you ensure that your match will have something to say while also getting to know what they’re like. Don’t overload though – one question at a time, or else the conversation will be clunky and confusing. When asked a question, don’t go on too long about yourself. Keep messages concise and punchy. Jokes are also good, as long as they’re actually funny.

Finally, actually try to have a conversation before offering to meet in person, and make it a public place. It’s safer that way – you know who you’re getting involved with and you’re surrounded by other people in case it goes sour.

3. Be direct and don’t lie

Some people use online dating because they just want to casually hook up; others use it to find true love. Both are fine – but if someone in the former camp matches with the latter, you won’t get very far. Be honest with your intentions to avoid heartbreak or uncomfortable situations. You’ll just end up wasting time and effort.

Also avoid lying about who you are. They’ll eventually figure out that you’re half a foot shorter than you claimed online and twice the weight, or that you aren’t actually employed, so just be honest. You’ll be able to find someone who likes you for who you really are.

4. Don’t have unreasonable expectations

We’re not advocating that you settle for someone way worse than what you deserve. However, don’t forget that everyone online is in the same boat as you – they haven’t found someone in person and are looking online for love.

Part of the reason for this may be that you’re looking for “The One” – that fabled perfect person who just happens to be your ideal match. While it’s good to have high standards for yourself, don’t get preoccupied in finding your special someone, because that perfect person just doesn’t exist. Go into online dating with an open mind or else you’ll be stuck swiping left for eternity.

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