Remember the good old days, when dating was as simple as meeting a nice person who lived down the street, going to an ice cream parlor for an egg cream, and getting engaged two months later? Well, unless you’re Orville Redenbacher, probably not.
Times certainly have changed, and so has the dating landscape. Yes, it’s still possible to meet a match in real life, but the practice of online dating is picking up steam, and it shows no signs of stopping.
It’s not hard to see why online dating is gaining in popularity. With new online dating sites and apps popping up every day, there’s something for everyone.
Suddenly you have access to thousands of people who are single and ready to mingle. The thought is exhilarating!
But many find it something else: Overwhelming.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips that will have you up and running faster than Guy Fieri can say “Flavor Town.”
Stop Pussyfooting Around and Actually Do Something
There are five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred excuses for not pulling the trigger on online dating (or maybe that’s minutes in a year) but either way, it’s a lot.
You’re too tired.
You’re too busy (just stop it, Karen- having to crochet your cat new booties is not a thing).
You’re not ready.
You’re too cool.
You’re not cool enough.
Just stop with the excuses.
We get it. It can feel scary and intimidating. You might feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there, and nobody likes feeling like they’re being judged.
Realize this: the vast majority of people out there are people like you. Yes, you.
They’re just normal, friendly people, looking for someone else to do fun, normal, romantic things with.
There’s nothing to be afraid of.
You’re not signing up to marry the first person who swipes right.
You’re just getting the ball rolling and seeing how it goes.
Remember, as brilliantly articulated by The Great One, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Do Some Research On the Best Sites and Apps for You
Oh my God, where do you begin when it comes to dating websites and apps?
There are websites and apps tailored to virtually every demographic of people.
Are you looking for everlasting love? Match and eHarmony might are tried and tested, and perhaps the best known for sending couples down the aisle.
Is your faith important to you? Check out Christian Mingle or Jdate.
Are you a farmer? Or maybe you just really want to date a farmer? Farmers Only has got you covered.
Do you hate everything, including online dating? Yes, there is even an app for you, appropriately named Hater.
We recommend starting with just a couple in order to get your feet wet.
Many of these sites offer customizations, including filters to help you sort through potential matches, ways to link up to social media sites (if you have them), and more. So you’ll want to spend some time setting them up. It’s not rocket science, but you do want to start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself.
Plus, you also don’t want to get bombarded with messages and notifications to the point where you feel like you’ve taken on a second job.
Remember: this is supposed to be fun, not stressful.
Create a Killer Profile.
Once you’ve narrowed down which sites and/or apps you want to join, you’ll be ready for the most important step of online dating which is setting up your online profile.
Your profile consists mainly of photos and a bio of who you are and what you’re looking for.
Photos are EVERYTHING online.
Selecting the right photos for your online profile is crucial. Studies (yes, real studies conducted by people we presume are wearing white lab coats) show that people judge certain traits such as trustworthiness, likeability, and even competence within milliseconds.
We all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sure enough, people are still judging others like they’re in Barnes & Noble in the 1990s.
So be sure to choose photos that show your face clearly, and in which you are the only subject for at least the first three photos. Nobody likes playing, “Which one is she?”.
Make sure your pics are recent and up to date. Of course you want pictures of yourself in which you think you’re looking your best, but you also want to make sure that your photos are reflective of the real you.
Sure, it would be great to land a date based on a great old photo where you have a few less pounds or a bit more hair, but if all goes well, you ARE going to meet in person eventually, and no one likes to be catfished.
Most importantly, do not use photos where you have ineffectively cropped your ex out of the picture. No potential match wants to see that and envision that one day, they too will be cropped from your life.
Write a short and witty bio.
Having great photos and a stellar bio are a one-two punch when it comes to online dating, and it’s often the bio that really stresses people out.
They see that blinking cursor and stark white screen, and they remember that they have a box that they never unpacked from when they moved three years ago. Suddenly they’re elbow high in chargers that belong to phones from six years ago.
We find that most people overthink their bios. They feel the need to list every defining characteristic about themselves, as well as every life experience they’ve had since they got their driver’s license.
The key to having a great bio is to keep it simple.
Just pick a few things you want to highlight, add a dash of humor, and call it a day.
You don’t have to lay it all out there. Remember, you want to have things to discuss on your date, right?
Enlist the Help of Others
Friends can be more valuable than just being people who will share their Netflix password with you. The best of friends can offer insights into your personality that you might not be aware of. Ask your friends how they would describe you. Have them dish on the type of person they think would be a good fit for you. Ask them to review your profile for you.
Remember, the best friends are the ones who want to see you happy and would be delighted you even sought their opinions and advice in the first place.
But let’s face it, your best bud David might be great to catch a game with, but his own dating track record isn’t something you necessarily want to emulate.
And if you ask Mom which photo to use for your profile, she might suggest that “lovely photo of you from your Bar Mitzvah.”
Thankfully, you also have the option to hire a professional.
The benefits of hiring a professional dating expert are many.
1. They have experience, so they know what works and what doesn’t.
2. They can pen profile bios that accurately reflect who you are, while also making you stand out from the crowd.
3. They can coach you during the messaging stage, and even provide advice pre- and post-date.
4. They can give you an unbiased view of what photos work and don’t work for you.
These people are the experts when it comes to dating, and they get results, all while making the process totally painless (and even <gasp> fun!) for you.
Explore enlisting a professional for help here.