The first thing I would say to anyone who wants to try dating online is that you need to be 100% honest all of the time, no matter what.
We’re now living in an age where online dating is no longer taboo, which means more people are going online to pursue finding a romantic partner than ever before. I've met almost all of my dating partners through the Internet, and through the courting process, profile creation, and setting up of the first IRL date, I’ve learned a lot about how to date online.
The first thing I would say to anyone who wants to try dating online is that you need to be 100% honest all of the time, no matter what. Lying doesn’t serve anyone, and even if you think it’s innocent or they’ll never find out the truth, trust me, they will. The Internet also makes it very easy for people to verify your information thanks to the power of Google, so just do yourself a favor and don’t lie in your profile. Plus, would you really want to build a potential relationship based on half-truths? Didn’t think so.
With all of my personal experience, I'd like to give some tips for how to best use dating sites, and also give you some clues as to how to tap into your other online networks on places like Facebook, since you often times already know people whom you’d like to date and can use this connection to start that conversation with them.
1. Choose The Right Dating Site For You
Not every dating site is going to work for everyone, so it’s important to pick the right one. With this, I would also suggest just sticking to one site for dating, two at the very most, because you will get much better results if you give all of your attention to one site versus juggling a lot of different sites all at the same time.
In looking at what site to choose, ask yourself what you’re looking to get out of the experience and your demographic group. Are you a single 20-something just looking for something casual? Try Tinder. Are you a savvy career woman who is looking to be in full control of your matches for efficiency? Give Bumble a shot. Do you belong to a gender or sexual minority and are looking for people who are open-minded? Use OKCupid. There are a lot of different websites out there, so do some research and figure out which one you think will best meet your needs before signing up.
2. Completely Fill Out Your Profile With Relevant Information
The profile seems to be the part of online dating that trips most people up. You’re definitely going to want to spend some time really thinking out what you want to say and how you present yourself. Don’t go overboard and write a novel, but don’t just write a sentence or two either — give people a glimpse into whom you really are.
You should always fill out the profile. Focus on the things that make you unique: Your passions, your interests, and what you look for in life. You want to find someone with similar goals and values, so don’t be afraid to open up a little bit and share. Seem confident, but not too overeager; desperation will get you nowhere.
3. Choose The Right Photos
Photos are another crucial aspect of online dating and are often the first thing someone sees when they click on your profile (hey, I agree that what’s inside is more important, but I didn’t make the rules). Upload three photos at minimum —they should be clear and, most importantly, they should make you feel good about yourself. Don’t choose a selfie that you took at 2 a.m. in terrible lighting!
Also, make sure to have a full-body shot in there. This was a mistake I actually made subconsciously, asI didn't realize that I had only headshots on my profile until one of my former partners pointed it out to me. It hit me that, although I hadn’t done it consciously, the message I was putting out there was that I wasn’t confident in my body. So I made sure to add some full body shots. If you’re worried someone will reject you based off of your body type, I can tell you firsthand that I’ve been there — and for those of us who are on the plus-size end, it is a very real possibility. Fatphobia needs to be acknowledged because it’s really unfair. But think about it: Would you really want to date someone who would reject you if they saw a full size photo of you? The answer to that question should always be no.
4. Scour Your Social Media
If you don’t want to use a dating site or have someone specific in mind that you’d like to go out with, see if you can connect with them via social media. A lot of times, someone you’re interested in will be just one Facebook connection away from you. Use this to your advantage.
There can be a fine line between seeming like you have a genuine interest in a person and seeming creepy, though, so make sure to proceed with caution. If you send that person a friend request using Facebook, immediately message them and explain your common connection so that you have something to talk about, and so they understand why you’re adding them as a friend. Then, see if you hit it off. If it goes well, take the next step. Rejection is very common though, so be ready for anything.
If you’re using a more impersonal form of social media like Twitter or Instagram, feel free to follow that person and use direct messaging or private messaging to flirt. If they don’t respond, let it go.
5. Be Yourself!
This is such a cliché, but it’s so true — you should always be yourself, and the best version of yourself at that. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or put on an act to impress your dates, because then you’ll be building a connection based on a lie. Also, think about how it feels when someone does that to you — it really sucks, doesn’t it? Always be honest, open, and unapologetically yourself, and you’ll attract people who will be a good fit!