There was a time when online dating was considered strange, creepy, even kind of pathetic. It wasn’t unusual to hear snickering about the “losers” on Match.com (the first online dating site) having the gall to seek connections outside the sacred precincts of loud, smokey bars.
Oh, how times have changed. The stigma surrounding internet dating is a thing of the past, and apps like OKCupid, Tinder and Bumble are more popular than ever. While people of all ages are finding love online, it’s those dang Millennials, born with pacifiers in their mouths and iPhones in their hands, driving the trend: 31% of 18-29 year-olds are currently using online dating sites or apps.
Online dating is fast becoming the way to meet people and form relationships. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Dating apps come with their own set of frustrations and pitfalls. Here are 5 tips for using dating apps that will help you on your path to true love.
1. Be Yourself
When crafting your profile, put some time and energy into really communicating what you’re about. It’s all well and good to have photos showing off your gym body or making kissy faces, realize that you may attract people who won’t stick around when it comes time to take things deeper. According to eHarmony, the cardinal dating profile sin is being too generic.
Although it’s important to to look and sound your best, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Take care to write a bio and include pictures that express who you really are, not who you think you should be to attract a mate.
Be unique. Stand out. Sure, telling the world you’re fascinated by the ancient art of puppetry may turn off some, but it’ll help pull heartstrings on others. Online dating is all about finding the right match, not the most matches.
2. Expand Your Horizons
When it comes to setting the parameters of who you’re looking for, don’t be overly strict. Narrow-mindedness will get you nowhere, fast. Filtering out hundreds of potential matches by having unreal expectations about age, appearance, hobbies, etc., is a sure-fire recipe for dating failure.
Open your mind, and don’t limit yourself to a type. Opposites attract for a reason.
3. Do Your Research
Before you agree to meet someone in person or share personal information, do your research. One study suggests that 53% of men and women lie on their online dating profile, and that can include lies about identity, marriage status, criminal background etc. What’s more, dating sites are home to romance scammers and fraudsters looking to scam you out of cash and compromising information. Knowing how to spot fake dating profiles can help protect you from catfish, but what about everyone else?
The most important thing you can do before you take the next step is to run a background check on their name, email address or phone number using a people search engine. Doing this will provide you with a wealth of information so you can better understand who you’re dealing with. The information can include:
- Marital/Relationship Status
- Criminal/Arrest Records
- Sex Offense Status
- Social Media Profiles/Pictures
- Location History
Most likely you’ll never run into any issues, but better safe than sorry.
4. Be Positive
Most people are turned off by negativity for a reason. Don’t complain in your profile about prior relationships or talk about how much you hate using online dating; this will immediately put distance between you and others.
Having a “too cool for school” attitude may make you feel better, it makes everyone else feel worse. Try and keep the negativity to yourself and put on a happy face…at least for now.
5. Be Bold and Act Quickly
Don’t string your match along forever. If you like them, be bold and make the first move. As Cosmopolitan nicely puts it: “Move from Online to IRL Quickly.”
As we stated above, dating safety and research is important. But so is other people’s time. Taking too long to agree to meet in person may make you seem more suspicious, like you have something to hide. It also shows them that you aren’t really interested and can push them away.
Throughout it all, remember that they’re in the same vulnerable position you are in. Following these simple steps will make the online dating experience easier – and more fulfilling – for both of you.