Eight internet dating tips
I’ve loved my years of singledom where I got to invest time in me and build further the quality relationships I have with my gays and girls. But life alone can get lonely. I’m sure everyone wants a little love in their lives. Whilst I’ve been happy flying solo, the missed invites to ‘couples only’ events, and having no one to share my happy news with other than my cat Jake became tiresome.
But how do you go about meeting anyone these days? In a group of friends who are married and/ or have kids it’s tough to find a wing woman who can drop family arrangements to come help you chat people up. And even if she is available you want to spend your precious time with her finding out how she is right now, not sharking for boys. Plus I’m not even sure if bars and clubs are the best environment for finding the love of your life.
Ten years ago meeting online was cringe and if you met that way you inevitably invented an alternative introduction story to share with others; but things have progressed and now it seems it’s how most of us millennials meet. It has become okay to let the world know ‘yes, we met via Tinder’ and that’s cool. It is claimed we are heading for a time where around half of all couples in the uk will have met online.
Internet dating is rife. Bag a boyfriend just by using an app? Who would have thought simply swiping left or right could have such a big impact on our lives?
And why not – it’s fast, mobile and therefore very convenient. Us time-pressed Brits can sit and scroll through the boyfriend shop whilst on the daily commute to work, or waiting for your friend to arrive for drinks. All those profiles of love written up and waiting for you to view at your leisure. Never again do you have to go through those awkward initial getting to know you (heck, are you even single??) conversations in a busy bar, cause you already have a dashboard summary of the person standing in front of you. Your first IRL conversation can get off to a head start.
But just because this is convenient doesn’t mean it’s easy. Internet dating can be really tough. If I were to share here the tales of experience from me and my friends you’d think it was one massive exaggeration cause it’d be tough to believe some of the ridiculousness. Here’s my top tips for surviving the worst of it based on what I’ve been through:
1. Pick the right site
Choosing the internet dating site you use is almost as important as choosing the right mate. So do your research. If you’re looking for a casual hook up then maybe the free-to-use swipe sensation Tinder is for you – you can make a quick swish decision based on looks alone. But if you’re searching out your soul mate the whole left/ right swipe thing might be too charmless for you. I would say if a guy/ girl has paid a subscription – think the likes of Match.com – then they’re probably more invested in meeting someone for a long term relationship rather than a one-night thing. However, just because the other users on there are more likely to be focused on the same outcome as you it doesn’t mean you’re any more likely to find someone on there who you’re attracted to. Subscriptions aren’t cheap so you’ll want to think about this one.
2. Get your settings right
Before you start your search decide what it is you’re looking for, define what you want. Sometimes my friends and family would tell me I was being too picky. Trust me – when you’re looking for someone to spend your whole life with and to be the father of your children – there’s no such thing.
Those 21 year old boys might look hot with their Beefa tans on Bora Bora, but if that’s not the right age range for you you’re only wasting your precious time. Some careful consideration at the start about the optimum info for your prospective dates including age range and location will save you time and faffing about in the longer term.
Calling yourself ‘ARichards1990′ and then starting your profile text with ‘Hi, my name’s Angela’ is just not good enough. Anyone can then use the internet to find out more about you than perhaps you’d like. Your safety should be your priority. So why not try something less revealing such as ‘AngelaonMatch’ – I know it’s a bit dry, but it’s important. You’ll be able to come up with a user name l prettier than my example anyway I’m sure.
A guy once messaged me via a dating site who had a profile name which made his name easy to work out. A little investigating from me and it turns out he recently got engaged to ‘the love of his life’, so I guess the poor profile name can work out in your favour if its done the other way round.
4. Get your profile right
Don’t drone on for hours about what you’re looking for – keep it short, snappy, interesting and, most importantly, focused on you. You want the reader to get a nice neat picture of who you are and what you’re interested in. Include a range of photographs which demonstrate those interests. If equestrian is your thing, one pic of you on your horse is worth far more than three trout pout poses of you and your girls in a bar.
Keep it upbeat and positive. No one wants to hear about how unlucky in love you are – most people are using the site because they haven’t found ‘the one’, so this isn’t the right place to state that.
Get your best mate to read your profile wording and give you some honest feedback before you publish. A new profile always gets lots of interest straight away so make sure it’s ready before you post it as people may visit your page just once. Thinking ‘I’ll sort the content or tidy it up later’ means you’re missing those initial opportunities.
5. Don’t take it personally
Dating is not all roses and romance. One guy online called me a ‘f***ing bit**’ because he had sent me a message 20 minutes before which I hadn’t replied to yet. Apparently it was ‘no wonder I was single’ behaving in this way.
Spoiler alert: NOT ALL PROFILES ARE REAL. Sadly it’s true that some people have little better to do with their time than set up fake profiles using someone else’s photos so they can hold virtual chats with girls. So if he’s being cagey about meeting maybe just move on.
So the moral is some people are plain mean and others don’t even exist so if you don’t get back from your conversations what you need hold your head high and move on. And if someone is out of order horrible to you don’t get into an argument with them, just hit the ‘report’ button.
6. It’s a DATING site
The whole point of this is to actually meet people. This isn’t about discovering new internet pen pals you can chat to whilst paying a costly monthly subscription fee. So if you have had a few messages back and forth and neither of you are seeking to meet up then give it up and move the focus of your conversation on to the next person.
7. Arrange a ‘meet up’
The word ‘date’ always made me feel slightly sick. I’m not that good at small talk, but accept it’s the process anyone needs to go through to meet someone they want to be serious about. But ‘date’ means getting dressed up and shaving your legs (not doing so is one of the few pleasures that comes with being single) and lining up a few funny stories to fill any silences with. It’s exhausting. So take the pressure off by having a more casual ‘meet up’ – maybe a coffee after work or on a Saturday afternoon. Knowing it is just one drink means you can say a pressure-free hello and test whether this is something you want to take further or not. You can have a proper first date from there.
8. Protect yourself
Meeting strangers regularly one on one in any other situation than for dating wouldn’t sit right. So take every step you can to protect yourself. This isn’t exhaustive, but as a minimum you need to let your best mate know who you’re meeting, when, where, and arrange to call them at a specific time to confirm you’re safe. Under no circumstances should you let your date pick you up or drop you off at your home address, or should you go back to theirs. I don’t care how well it is going – set a time limit for your date and stick to it.
You might even consider purchasing a personal safety app for your smart phone – have a look at the App Store for the different options available to find what’s right for you.
So there’s my tips to help you through. Here’s hoping all your efforts lead you to the other half of your dreams and a life filled with love, cause that’s what everyone is seeking, right?