There is no denying that the world of online dating has completely revolutionized the way we go about finding romance and companionship in our culture today. Whether you are a "digital dating" veteran or just getting your feet wet in the online matchmaking scene, these ten tips will set you up for success and (hopefully) lead you to your future partner!
Not Knowing What You Want – It's hard to date if you're unsure of what you want. Many people go into online dating frustrated and lonely, causing them to lower their standards for companionship. As you begin to date, you may have a small list of absolutes that will help you decide who you would actually like to meet beyond the messaging back-and-forth. If you date someone and they behave in a way that turns you off, note that and add it to your profile so that you don't do it again. Remember that what you want is a big question. It might be to meet friends. It might be to hook up. It might be to find a life partner. It's up to you, and there is no right or wrong answer, but defining this can help you navigate these connections and relationships.
Not Asking the Right Questions – When you date people, you need to ask them questions about themselves. If you've ever been on a date where someone talks only about themselves the whole time, then you know what a miserable time it can be. Your goal is to get to know someone to see if the connection for a relationship is there. You know your own deal breakers, so you want to design questions for the person that brings to light any of the deal breakers you have identified for yourself. For example, if you're a young woman who doesn't want to date someone who has a child, ask them if they have kids before you even go on the first date.
Not Listening to Your Inner Voice – Everyone has a little inner voice that tells them things and gives them feedback about other people. This intuition is real, and the energy you feel when you’re around another person is vitally important in any potential or current relationship. Many of us do not listen to this inner voice. When you go on a date, pay attention to how you feel and any signals that you may get from your inner voice. Even if it seems illogical, that voice knows more than you think.
Not Being Honest – You might think that you will turn off prospects if you're honest about your situation. But, rather than hide who you truly are and what you are going through, it is best to go in being your true, authentic self from the start. Being transparent about your life and situation will lead to genuine connections. It will also keep you clear from worrying about if or when the person will find out about whatever you are keeping from them. In short, portraying yourself as someone you are not will almost always lead to mismatches and disappointment for yourself and your potential partners.
Posting Only Your Best Photo – This is similar to #4, but you might think you should post only your very best photo to put yourself in the best light. But the truth is, that's not how you actually look, and you know it. Post pictures that show how you really look on a typical day. Not only will this lead to you feeling comfortable and confident to meet up with potential partners, but if someone doesn't like how you really look, they're not worth wasting your time on anyways!
Not Reading Profiles – It's shocking how many people only look at photos to choose a date. Don't be that person. Read the profiles to find out if you might like them and if you think you can make an actual connection. If they have deal breakers in their profile, say no and move on. Don't allow hair color or height to be a deal-breaker, though. It's okay to have preferences, but you're missing out if you let superficial items be deal-breakers.
Not Joining Paid Dating Sites – Generally speaking, paid dating sites will typically be a lot better than free ones. You might not want to shell out the money, but the "paying" part weeds out a lot of people and usually provides a greater chance that your potential partners are as serious about finding companionship as you are. It doesn't necessarily weed out every “bad actor”, but if you were to have a bad experience, it's often easier to track down the person who has joined via a paid membership. It also lets you know that those on the site really value what they are doing and are more serious about finding a partner.
Not Meeting in Person Sooner – Don't waste time talking to someone for months on end via chat or text. Instead, message for a bit, and if they seem like a connection, move it to voice or video call, and then ask for a date. The sooner you meet in person, the better, as this will help determine the relationship's actual long-term chemistry. If you have similar interests and like their vibe in messaging or a phone call, move it to an in-person date soon to see if there's a real spark. If long distance is an issue, FaceTime and Zoom are now the way of our world. They can help you make sure the person is who they say they are and allow you to see if you feel a connection before setting up a time to travel and meet.
Not Writing a Bio or Having a Boring Profile – People who are serious about finding a partner will look beyond the physical images on your profile (and you want them to!) Sure, initial physical attraction may make someone stop on your profile, but only focusing on the superficial aspects of a person will not result in a genuine connection. Your bio and description of yourself are what will set you apart from the myriads of profile pictures on the screen. It will set you up to meet people who are actually interested in everything else about you beyond your looks. This will give you a greater chance for authentic connection and companionship.
Giving Up Too Soon – Try not to let one mismatched date or awkward messaging experience ruin the opportunity for you to meet another person. It can be frustrating to put yourself out there multiple times and not find a connection, but, thankfully, there are A LOT of fish in the sea! Rather than getting burned-out or discouraged and completely quitting the online dating game, maybe take a small break to focus more on yourself. In this time, you can reassess what it is you really want in a partner, get to know yourself better, and practice self-love and self-care. When you feel good about yourself, you will be more open and ready to meet someone.
So there you have it! Online dating can be extremely fun and lead to amazing relationships, so always enjoy the process while still being careful and intentional. Take it slowly and get to know the person, but don't take it so slowly that you don't meet in person for months. You ideally want to move from online to offline within a week or two to ensure that they are real people who genuinely want what they say they want in their profiles. Knowing yourself and what you want in a relationship will only lead to better opportunities for connection. And, just remember; when you feel good about yourself and your own life, the odds of meeting someone who matches your own positive energy dramatically increases as well!