Online Dating Guidelines

Dating is complicated enough on its own nowadays. When you add in the confusion of online dating sites, it can be just plain intimidating. But it’s easier––and more fun!––than you think.

Each day, an average of 236 people who met on eHarmony.com get married. That’s over 86,000 people a year! So, how do you go from logging on to finding your perfect match? There is a technique to navigating the virtual playing field. “I equate online dating to looking for a job,” says Julie Spira, cyber-dating expert and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating. “You’d want a rock star résumé for your perfect dream job, and you should feel the same way about your online dating profile.”

There is definitely a technique to online dating. There are the do’s and the don’ts for sure! There are more options than ever in cyberspace today so today we are going to go over everything you need to know to find love on the World Wide Web.

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1. Choosing the Right Dating Site

There is NO shortage of online dating sites. There are hundreds of them out there. Keep in mind, some just may not be what you are looking for. If you are looking for African American profiles, try www.blackpeoplemeet.com. If you are looking for a more laid back, younger dating crowd you can take a look at www.match.com. For more marriage minded daters, take a look at www.eharmony.com.

Different online dating websites are going to give you a different type of profile but we have also found that there is a strong likelihood that the same people are going to have profiles on multiple websites.

2. Your Profile Picture

In the days of Catfish, there is a general when it comes to online dating and not being certain whether the person behind the profile or picture is really who they say that they are. It can also seem more difficult than ever to stand out in the vast sea of online daters. The best way to do so is by creating a great profile and be sure to always include a photo. So, how do you decide what photos to post? Leave behind group shots, which can make it confusing for other people to identify you and choose a head shot in which you are smiling.

Also, be sure to include a shot where you can see your body. It doesn’t have to be provocative but it gives the impression that you have nothing to hide; confidence is always attractive. Keep in mind, in the online dating world, there will be more pictures that ARE provocative than not. You don’t feel like you have to compete with those profiles. Be you, be confident and keep it clean and classy. It will definitely up your dating game and quality of the men that pursue you.

While the pictures you post should be clear—giving the viewer an accurate glimpse of what you really look like, don’t completely discount self-taken shots (the ones where you hold out your camera to take your own portrait). Point is to be genuine, honest and upfront about your appearance.

3. Your Profile

Your goal should be to create an engaging profile that will capture the interest of a potential suitor and also makes them want to know more about you. To do that, talk about yourself and what you like to do. Instead of saying that you like to cook (which plenty of people will do), describe in detail what your favorite meal to make is. It gives a richer picture of who you are and set you apart from the rest. Your tone should always be uplifting and happy. Steer clear of sarcasm. Keep in mind when you are writing, it’s hard to express tone of expression. If you write something and are afraid that it might be taken the wrong way, it’s probably best not to post it.

Again, BE HONEST! You want the person’s profile that you are viewing to be honest about who they are, you should give the same courtesy. Once again, in our age of Catfish, you can only hide so much without being found out later. (from the internet savvy ones anyway)

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4. Don’t be scared to make a move!

In your initial e-mail to a potential partner, it’s crucial to indicate that you’ve read her profile and took an interest in it. So, describe something that resonated with you from her profile, but avoid physical compliments because “they seem too clichéd.”

Keep it brief though. You don’t want to write a book on your first email. Take some time with exchanged dialogue to write longer emails as you communicate. Initially, the shortest messages get the best response rate and the reply rate goes down as messages get longer. This is likely because an initial message serves mostly to make your profile available to the other person. Just give the most important information in the first email that relates to being interested and wanting to learn more.

5. Be direct but not overly aggressive

When it comes to virtual dating, forget playing “hard to get.” If someone you’re interested in contacts you, it won’t pay off to “casually” wait a few days to reply. If you play games and wait to get back to him, she may have already run off into the sunset with someone else. Keep in mind that there are HUNDREDS of other online profiles at her fingertips!

You need to show your interest right away. In the world of online dating you never know how many men that she has contacted or how many have contacted her! If you contact someone and haven’t heard back in a week, it’s OK to send a second e-mail. If she is new to the site, her profile is often featured in the community and the person becomes inundated with e-mails. So, assume that your interest hasn’t had time to open your message. But if there’s silence after two e-mails, cut your losses and move on. Most likely, they either are not interested or someone else has caught their attention.

6. It’s Time To Meet

The time to take your relationship beyond the boundaries of the dating site will eventually come. Exchanging two or three e-mails is a good way to get a sense of each others’ personality. After that, have a phone conversation on the phone. If you don’t have any phone chemistry, likely there won’t be any in person either. Always be safe when it comes to meeting someone. Always meet in a public place, the first meeting should not be at your house or hers’. You are meeting a stranger, keep that in mind. Anyone can say anything on the phone, in an email or on a profile. You really do not know someone with that limited conversation.

Best bet, have a double date.

7. The First Date

The perfect first date is a personal decision. For some, a midday coffee is just right. You can get a good feel for someone in 20 minutes when you are face to face. Preferably though, dinner dates give you an extended length so you can get a deeper sense of your date’s personality. If you show up and your date looks nothing like her photo––and this does happen––don’t run screaming for the exit. The best thing you can do is be polite and keep the date short and somewhat impersonal without being rude. You don’t need to call attention to it. You know she looks nothing like her photo; she knows she looks nothing like her photo. There’s no use in putting her down. There are ALWAYS exceptions to this rule however.

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