A Love Expert's Perfect Guide To Navigating Online Dating

online dating

With screens all around us today and dial-up days over for good, it comes as no surprise that online dating is the new way to find love, or at least casual sex. While we had to trust that our friends knew us well enough to set up decent blind dates (I mean, there was no such thing as stalking their profile), dating now means we know where they work, their dog’s name and who their favorite aunt is before even meeting in person.
If you’ve been on a date thanks to online dating sites before you know this to be true! If you’re a bit nervous about online dating apps or haven’t had much luck yet, try these few tips to find a match that you can happily tell your friends about.

The best dating app for you

There’s so many dating sites out there today, it can be hard to narrow down exactly what ones are best for your situation. Mostly it has to do with your age, where you live and what you seek in a partner – doing your research will help you carefully consider which sites to use and ones to avoid.
While signing up can be easy, note that some sites are free and some aren’t. As some paid sites might see more reputable than free ones, the best one for you is actually related to the type of person you want to attract. Do you want to have a fun fling over the summer? Perhaps you’re looking for your one true love? Or something in the middle of fling and fairytale romance?
Bumble and Tinder are the best sites for a guaranteed fling, so if you’re into casual dating and you’re in your 20s/30s, you can chat with multiple matches and meet up on your terms. Bumble lets women initiate the conversation rather than creeps sliding into your DM’s with their terrible pick up lines. Ask some friends about their experience with the apps and download one or both to see if they work for you! Some people have found their partners while most are using the apps for casual hookups.
Looking for a long-term partnership? Luckily you can create free profiles on a few respected dating sites, but most you’ll need to pay a fee to chat, view images or continue further. eHarmony has safe and secure matching and is a lot more in depth than someone seeing your photo and swiping right, however paid memberships can view images of their matches, a members fee is a small price to pay if you’re looking for love. 

cute couple
Image: Hian Oliveira

Update your profile

Figured out the right apps for you? Fantastic, now we can get to the fun part which is creating your profile! There’s an art to creating the perfect profile that sums up who you are without oversharing. It’s super important to be honest because the last thing you want to do is get caught on a hiking date because you listed your hobbies as “Anything outdoors: love hiking, skiing and cycling”… when you’re an un-co and hate exercise.
Being honest but not too honest in your bio is tough, so it’s best to think about what kind of person you want to match with. If you want someone that appreciates puns, write a good joke; if you want a dog person write about your love of animals; want someone that’s into music, type your favorite artists. 
A great tip to get your dating profile up to scratch is to note if you’re looking for a fling or want a long-term relationship, especially if using Tinder or Bumble, this will help filter your matches! Another tip is to upload recent and clear images of you (not with SnapChat filters) – the most frustrating thing when online dating is seeing only group photos and trying to figure out who they are, or low resolution images you need to squint to see. 

Your safety matters more than anything

As you put your best version of yourself online, remember others are doing the same. While women are more trusting, we tend to ignore red flags or feelings of unease when out with a new date. Remember your safety is the number one priority – when meeting someone new have a friend or family member know where you’re going, what time and who you’re meeting.
Taking every match with a pinch of salt is vital, whether you’re using RSVP or flicking through Bumble, some matches won’t be as authentic as their profile seems to be. While going into any new relationship with optimism and openness is important, don’t throw all caution to the wind. 
In most cases you’ll have a wonderful time and maybe pursue a second date, but in the small chance it isn’t, remember your safety is far more important than hurting a stranger’s feelings – keep it to public spaces for first dates and have a friend know your safety status!
While not every first date will turn into a second, it’s best to remember that while not everyone is going to be into you, the right person you need in your life will gravitate your way, as long as you keep putting your honest self out there – now go forth and get to dating!

couple kissing
Image: Spencer Davis

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