Online dating sites around the world are growing by 70% year on year. Dating online is now the second most common way to start a relationship, just after meeting through friends.
Long gone are the times when internet dating was frowned upon, today everybody is looking for love online. And with millions of singles logging on to dating sites around the world every single day, your chances of finding love online are sky high.
Here are just a few of the benefits to dating online:
- Safety – trust can be built anonymously until you feel comfortable meeting for the first time.
- Time – no need to do your hair, iron your rags, or even get dressed, no one will ever know.
- Variety – millions of singles online mean that you can even be a little bit picky.
- Affordable – membership can be cheaper than a night out, many dating sites are free.
Life is far too precious to spend it alone, and love is unlikely to come knocking on your front door. So why not start your online dating journey today. My following online dating guide aims to introduce you to the Do’s and Don’ts of the online dating jungle, and arms you with the best tools for a successful and safe online dating experience.
Online Dating Safety
The number one golden rule when dating online is to never give out more personal information than you are comfortable with. And don’t feel pressured to do so. Keep in mind that any information you include about yourself in your profile, is visible for all to see.
Never create a user name that includes your real name. And as an additional line of defense, setup a separate email account for the dating site that doesn’t include your real name.
Dating sites are a popular target for scammers. People will try to win your heart then ask you to provide them with a little money to help their children with schooling, pay for medical bills or a flight to come and visit you. Don’t be fooled by these people. Often the same messages are sent to millions of people. If you copy the text and search in Google you will often find exactly the same message on hundreds of websites.
For further safety advice I recommend Get Safe Online. This is a joint initiative between the Government, law enforcement, leading businesses and the public sector. Their aim is to provide computer users and small businesses with free, independent, user-friendly advice that will allow them to use the internet confidently, safely and securely.
Choosing a Dating Site
There are many dating sites to choose from. Hundreds in fact. Knowing which one is best suited to your own relationship goals can be a real nightmare. There are dating sites for long term love, casual dating, uniform dating, religious dating, gay dating and many more. Choosing the correct site for your aspirations will ensure that your online adventure gets off to the best possible start.
Creating Your Profile
A good profile can mean the difference between ten mails per day and zero mails. It’s important to take the time and paint the best possible picture of yourself. Be honest, describe your personality, hobbies, likes and dislikes. Including a real photo of yourself will definitely increase your profile views.
Making First Contact
Most dating sites feature winks and ice breakers to allow you to quickly express your interest. But whatever you do, don’t use them. If you do, don’t expect a reply. They are very informal and show exactly how much effort you are willing to make. Take your time to compose a short but sweet mail, personalized to the person you are sending it to. Highlight points from their profile to get the conversation going and to show that you have actually taken the time to read their profile.
If you receive a rejection, or no reply, whatever you do, don’t take it personally. Just like dating in the real world, online dating is a numbers game, but sooner or later you will strike it lucky.
Getting to Know Each Other Better
Don’t write your life story in your very first communication with a total stranger. You don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. You need to create a little mystery in order to stoke the fire. Use the back cover of your favourite book as an example. There is just enough information there to persuade you to open the book. Then once the book is opened, you can slowly learn more about what’s inside.
Talk Before You Meet
Although I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone myself, how someone sounds on the phone can tell you a lot about them. So have a think about whether you’d like to chat before meeting in person. You can use Skype or Google Talk if you are not ready to disclose your phone number, and you can also enable a webcam. Just remember that everyone loves a good listener, so ensure you listen carefully. You can even jot down key points like the name of their dog, then if it comes up again later you can impress them with your listening abilities and attention to detail.
First Real Date
Congratulations! If you have reached this point you are doing well. But it’s still important to stay safe and keep your guard up for now. Ensure you tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you expect to be back. Arrange the date in a public place, not in the woods. Park close by and not down a dark-narrow street. If you don’t drive, do not accept a lift home, even if it is raining cats and dogs. You may just want to go for coffee and cake for your first date, trying to eat a meal whilst getting to know each other can be very challenging. But whatever you do, don’t go to the cinema.
Trust Your Instinct
Our instincts protect us and guide us through our lives, so pay attention to yours. Regardless of how lovely the person sounds in their profile, however much you seemed to click, if your gut feeling when you meet is that they’re not for you, then move swiftly on.
The Long Road to Love
Nothing worthwhile in life is achieved easily. Building a successful relationship takes a great deal of hard work from both parties. But if the foundations are there, and you share similar character traits, there is no reason why your love for one another can’t last for eternity.