Online Dating Tips
In the early days of the internet, online dating carried a certain social stigma. That is no longer the case. Online dating is a billion dollar industry, with dozens and dozens of established dating services. For those who don’t like meeting people in bars, the internet has become the single best place to get to know people. The convenience of doing so from the safety and comfort of your own home is a huge selling point.
As the industry has evolved, though, the sheer scope of online dating makes it hard to choose the right site for you. Here are some tips when you go looking for an online dating site.
1. Make a List of Sites
Google the term “online dating” in quotation marks. This should give you the top sites for internet dating. If you don’t happen to like Google search results, do the same for Yahoo! and MSN.
Click the link on all of the first page services. This should be a decent cross section of dating sites. Expand your search if you aren’t happy with the results.
2. Be Specific
Look for specific kinds of online dating sites, if you prefer. There is one for almost every group. There are Christian dating services, Jewish dating services, Hindu services, Moslem services, seniors dating, African-American dating, cowboy dating, even BDSM dating services. You can find exactly what you are looking by narrowing your search.
If this is what you are looking for, then simply google “online dating” and include the appropriate niche words, such as Hindu, seniors or BDSM (but hopefully not all three at once).
3. The Registration Process
Register with a site. Provide them with basic details about you. Most sites ask what kind of relationship you are looking for. This helps them narrow down the search for people with the same expectations as you. The options are usually labelled something like “serious”, “dating” or “friendship”. Some of the racier sites have “sex only” options.
You’ll probably be asked questions about yourself. Choose the site with the amount of questioning suited to you. For example, e-Harmony has their famous 29 Key Dimensions, where they match people according to 29 criteria. You may be asked hundreds of questions and the process may take 45 minutes.
On the other hand, some sites advertise they only require a five minute questionnaire. Most fall somewhere in between. Obviously, the more detailed the questions, the more specific the matchmaking will be. But you may not want to spend that much time or give that much information about yourself. Once again, find the one which suits your preference.
4. Finishing Your Profile
All the questions help generate your profile. Look over this and see if it suits and summarizes you. Many sites offer to let you write an essay about you. This is where you should clarify anything which doesn’t come off just right on the questionnaire, talk about your dream partner or write something interesting about yourself. This is how you personalize your profile.
This is also the step where you add a photograph or two to your profile. Choose a flattering one. Before people read one word of your bio, they will see your picture.
Put a real photo of yourself. If you are actually interested in meeting someone, that person is going to be disappointed if you don’t show up looking like Brad Pitt’s twin brother.
5. All the Fish in the Sea
Shop for what you like. This is where you view other peoples’ profiles and see who stands out. Most sites allow you to contact people via a private mail box, ie. email. If the person is interested, they return the message. If not, they retain their privacy and you continue your search.
Online dating is just like regular dating. It’s probably not a good idea to get hung up on any one person. The beauty of this option is the huge dating pool available. Well, that and the fact you can avoid personal rejection. Both of these means you should try to get to know a lot of people in the dating service, and not be afraid to be turned down.
6. Stay and Chat a While
Take up a spot in the site’s chat room. This allows you to talk about dating, topical subjects, religion or a variety of different subjects. This allows you to be yourself and get to know people in the online community. You’ll probably find that it’s a good way to get people interested in you, instead of always being the one to send out the first inquiry.
7. Take It Slowly
Proceed one step at a time. As the online dating industry has evolved, customers have demanded greater privacy. This is a good thing, because people are more willing to share in this environment.
It also means that a person you meet will have to give you their personal contact information. This happens naturally. Take it one step at a time and be cool about it.
Stay in touch with as many people as you can. Like any social setting, it’s good to have as many friends and options as possible in online dating.
8. Don’t Stay in One Place
Consider trying several online dating sites at one time. Many of them allow for a one month membership. In fact, many of them offer free membership, though you don’t get many of the better features. Give several of them the one month trial. You might find that one has a better selection, or has more potential partners in your part of the country.
9. Protect Yourself and Others
When it is time to meet your online date in person, remember to have that meeting in a public location. For women, this is essential, because bad people can portray themselves in a positive light online. For men, this is important, because you want your potential partner to be as comfortable as possible in the first meeting.
Women might consider double-dating on the first meeting. Men should understand this, since the woman is taking a big chance on the meeting. Each internet relationship is different, though.
Be cautious. Don’t give out too much information about yourself right away. Even if the new guy is harmless, he or she might annoy you for weeks or months to come. The last thing you want is a personal spammer.
If you want to bridge the gap between exchanging emails and meeting at the mall, consider purchasing a web cam. This allow you to interact with one another through video interfaces on the website. You’ll get a better idea of the person without many of the drawbacks of a face-to-face meeting.
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