1. If you have little to no experience dating (at all), start with the singles that are already around you. If you don’t know how to talk face-to-face with the opposite sex that you already are somewhat familiar with, then trying to chat-it-up with a total stranger is not going to feel natural to you. Have you ever been around someone who is obviously feeling/acting awkward? I have… I’ve also been that person in the past. The awkwardness usually ends up totally distracting you from the pieces of their personality that you may have actually liked! So let yourself get acquainted with the real life people you already have around you, before you get behind a laptop or download the latest dating app. You’ll feel more comfortable with yourself and that will enable more of your personality to shine through… and there’s nothing more attractive than someone that seems comfortable and confident in the way they interact with others!
2. Don’t let cliches or popular opinions push you into online dating when you know you’re not ready. My favorite one is “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else!” No. Not really. Actually, not at all! It sends the message that sex is a suitable sub for love… and it’s not. It’s an easy distraction and a quick way to a broken heart. If you know you aren’t ready to date, then don’t. Jumping ahead of yourself can have an effect on you in 2 ways: It can make you super guarded (think the Night’s Watch and the Wall in Game of Thrones) or it’ll leave you super vulnerable. Both are two extremes that you don’t want when dating. You’ll either end up shooting down some great people had you been in the right headspace, or you could end up being taken advantage of by someone… and at the speed of online dating, both can happen at warp speed.
3. Speaking of warp speed… That is the rate at which most people move in online dating! If they want to meet you, they may ask you to “hang out” within the first 5 minutes of messaging you. If they are on there just for hookups, their first sentence to you may be “Hi I really liked your profile! You seem like a great person! I’m horny, wanna come over?”
So pick the pace you feel comfortable at and stick to it until you find someone who you feel right about. Don’t let the fast pace pressure you into quick decisions… or just plain bad ones.
4. You are under no obligation to anyone. You don’t have to respond to every message you get! In fact in may cases it’s ridiculous to try! When I created my first online dating profile, I had over 100 messages from guys within the first 30 minutes of it being live. The craziest part is that I responded to each and ever message… even the ones that just read “Hay Babii”… just because I didn’t want to be rude! I was so precious back then. Some people will be snarky to you if you don’t respond to their advances, or if you don’t respond quick enough, or if you don’t want to meet up fast enough, or if you don’t say “I love you” before even knowing each other’s last names. You don’t owe these strangers anything. Don’t let them make you feel like you do. Quick tip: Just delete any “Hi” messages. Aren’t you worth AT LEAST a sentence?!
Yes. You. Are.
5. Name your terms on your profile and have the most accurate (but flattering) photos up. Deception and misconceptions can happen in the dating world in general, but in my opinion online dating leaves so much more room for this to be common… Catfish has pretty much proven that to be true! In one of my profiles I plainly state that I am not interested in dating men who do drugs and that if they are looking for a booty call that I am not their girl. Those for me are hard boundaries. I kept everything else on my profile lite and fun, but I named my terms. Some people think I’m closing the door on more options, but I see it as keeping the door open for THE RIGHT OPTIONS. Name your terms so you can minimize wasting time. I mean, efficiency is supposed to be one of the bonuses to online dating, right?! Another really important thing to address is photos. One of the major complaints with online profiles is in reference to the accuracy (or lack thereof) of photos. In this selfie driven world, we all know the power of good angles and filters… Instagram is full of them! The best thing you can do for yourself and others is to have at least one photo that is the closest to what you were to look like if they were sitting in front of you. You want to go out with people who see YOU and still want to see you in person, and who aren’t turned off by the fact that you know what you want and aren’t afraid to say it.
6. Don’t go into it only being open to finding love. Be open to making genuine connections! Most people you come in contact with online aren’t going to result in a love connection, but don’t let that detour you from still getting to know people. If two people really enjoy staying in contact with each other even after it’s obvious there’s not romantic connection, then I say try and keep an open mind. All genuine and healthy connection adds more to your life!
7. Have fun! Don’t let the fast pace, reading tons of profiles, or deleting numerous “Hey” messages overshadow all the greatness about online dating… or dating in general. You get to meet new people, learn more about what you like and don’t like, get to have some new experiences, and discover new places! Have fun with that!
Smile, laugh, and be yourself. Love is given more room to thrive when you let yourself interact with the world this way.
Yours Truly, Andrea