How To Make Online Dating Work For You

A few years ago I tried online dating. Actually, I tried it twice (you can read about it here) and determined it wasn’t for me. I rather meet people in person. But as I approach my 30th birthday and find myself surrounded by a lot of friends who are in relationships, married and starting families, maybe I really need to take online dating more seriously.  While I’m not ready to start a family right now, I also don’t want to be single for the next 10 years either. 

So for those of us who may need to reconsider the online dating scene, or if you’re ready to try online dating in 2015, please check out today’s guest post from Health & Relationship Writer Sherri Goldman. She provides some great tips on how to make online dating work for you! *grabs pen and paper to take notes*

Was your New Year’s resolution to meet someone new or to (finally) fall in love, if only to avoid the awkward “when will you find a nice beau and settle down?” talk with your great-aunt Mille during the holidays next year? Today reports that January is the busiest time for online dating, and it’s not difficult to figure out why.

After all, a new year means a fresh start, and with the sentimental holiday season just winding down, we are newly reminded of what matters most in life. With one in three couples finding love online, according to Marie Claire, beginning a relationship on the internet isn’t the hush-hush topic it used to be. Even so, navigating the online dating waters can be difficult and at times daunting, so here are a few tips to make online dating work for you.

Be Truthful

When it comes to creating an online dating profile, honesty is always the best policy. While it may be tempting to flub the details a bit, it’s probably not in your best interest in the long run. As WebMD points out, honesty shows integrity and confidence, two qualities that most people are looking for in a partner. Describe your passions, interests, achievements—these are the things that give others a true sense of your character and who you are. Another way to project the real you is by using current photos. Opt for ones that are less than two years old and depict a fun moment or memory, or action shots that show you doing something you love.

Making a profile for a dating website can be intimidating: what do I put in, what do I leave out, should I include my crazy obsession with wanting to be Anna Kendrick’s new best friend? (If that last one applies to you, it may be best left as third date material, at least.) The nuances of online dating profiles are tricky, and that’s an understatement. You don’t want to inundate those scanning your profile with too much information, but you want to give them enough to get a sense of who you are and whether you two would click. Like the old saying goes, like seeks like, so if you’re truthful about the things you enjoy, you should attract people who are into those same things, too. And in the end, you’ll both feel reassured knowing you’ll have a few sold topics to talk about on a first date.

Be Selective

This tip applies to both the sites you’re using and the dates you’re taking. There are a million and one dating sites out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to join them all. Zero in on the market you want to choose from and go from there. It would be counterproductive, not to mention overwhelming and time-consuming, to attempt to juggle dozens of varying sites. Thus, it’s better to research your options and then go with the one you feel best meets what you’re looking for.

For instance, if you’re not a farmer (or interested in being romantically involved with one), don’t sign up for the dating website geared toward farmers. Same goes for any other demographic-specific site. On the other hand, there’s a dating platform for everyone—spanning ages, interests, religions—so don’t feel hemmed in by one if it’s not meeting your needs. If the site you’ve been using for a year isn’t producing results (and it isn’t for lack of trying on your part), then by all means join a different one.

As far as the people you connect with online, be choosy, but not picky. Give someone outside of your usual type a chance every once in a while. They may surprise you! But if the person in question seems like a dead-end after chatting online, or if you’re just not connecting no matter how many messages you send back and forth, chances are a real-life meet-up might be a waste of time. As Cosmopolitan points out, you don’t have to keep talking to someone if it’s not fun anymore, much less go out on a date with them. Just make sure you’re giving every site— and potential date—a fair shot before jumping ship.

Be Optimistic

There are numerous suggestions out there for improving your chances at the online dating game, but none will do any good if you’re not in the right frame of mind first. With any goal it’s important to have an optimistic attitude, and this is even truer in the world of dating. For starters, if you don’t believe you’re worthy of dating, chances are other people will get that vibe as well. In the same vein, if you don’t believe you’re going to find love, you probably won’t find it. This isn’t to say these are hard and fast rules, but having an optimistic outlook doesn’t hurt.

While it’s important to be optimistic internally, positivity is also a crucial aspect of your external interactions as well. Avoid negative tones in your profile and keep it upbeat, light, and above all, always be positive about yourself. The theme of optimism should extend to the “what I’m looking for in a partner” category as well. As Adam & Eve writes, it’s important to refrain from listing everything you don’t want, or else you’ll run the risk of pushing away those who don’t fall into those categories as much as those who do.

With these three reminders for online dating, you’ll be well on the way to finding a site (and potential romantic interests) that works best for you.

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