As technology has advanced extensively, so has the dating world. The first online dating website was created in 1995 by Match.com. Since then, plenty of dating apps and niche websites have been developed, and choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. With so many choices, the online dating experience can be too much to handle, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is understanding your relationship goals to help pinpoint the right website and thoughtfully create a dating profile to help you find and attract a partner with similar interests.
Research, Research, Research
You could dive right in and test the waters on a few dating websites. However, most individuals burn out fast with this method and often express frustration and disappointment with the process. Knowing your goals and doing research beforehand can help mitigate this. Talking to friends and reading articles that give an excellent overview, such as this one from MindBodyGreen, can give you a jumpstart on your path to online dating.
Dating Do’s and Don’ts
After selecting the dating website best suited to your relationship goals, you’ll need to set up a dating profile. Don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’ve already started and want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward? We sat down with Licensed Therapist & Dating Coach, Kathleen Leaf LCSW, to give you the best tips and tricks on how to get yourself out there – the right way.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and the photos you choose to share should convey who you are, your interests and hobbies, and your lifestyle.
- Current photos. Use recent photographs of yourself that accurately represent who you are today and showcase the real you.
- Avoid editing. Avoid photo editing as much as possible. Changing the way you look can backfire when it comes to meeting in person. Be yourself and find someone who finds you attractive just as you are.
- Including others. Refrain from using pictures that might include former partners, as this can be confusing and unattractive to potential prospects. Yet, including pictures with your friends and family shows your connection to loved ones.
- Activities. Sharing photos of things you love to do, like enjoying the outdoors, hiking, biking, and such, are good ways to let someone know how you like to spend your time.
- Other fish. A top pet peeve of women searching for men on dating apps is how many men are fishing in their photos. If you are only looking for someone interested in fishing, go right ahead. However, it may reduce your likelihood of matching with others outside of that interest.
Tell Me About Yourself
The answers to these questions will help you determine the right information to share in order to find a good match.
- Be upfront and honest. When filling out your bio and questions, ensure you are being as transparent as possible. What are you looking for long term? Are you dating for the first time in a while? Are you looking for a serious relationship or simply companionship?
- Know what you want. Take time to think about what you are seeking in a relationship. Are there activities you enjoy that are important to you? Do you like to travel or stay close to home? Are you a sports fan or a movie buff? How do you like to spend your days? How do you envision spending time with another person?
Finding Your Match
Once you have your profile in a good place, it’s time to put yourself out there. As you begin receiving potential matches and going on dates, it’s good to keep your relationship goals in mind. The pointers below should help set you up for success.
- Hold the judgment. Try to focus more in-depth on the person, their humor, their interests, where they have traveled, and where they want to go. Don’t miss out on meeting someone with similar interests and aspirations because you were too quick to judge.
- Icebreakers can help. Using get-to-know-you questions can be lots of fun when first communicating. You could play a lighthearted game of Would You Rather or 21 Questions, which may lead to a variety of conversation starters and fun surprises.
- Start slow. Do you have anxiety or get stressed wondering what the first date will be like? Hosting a video date is a great way to test the waters prior to meeting in person.
- Always listening. Listen for common interests in your conversations when going on your first in-person date. You might find you have more to talk about than you realized. Keep conversations positive and uplifting while you’re getting to know each other.
- Be present. Don’t talk about other dates – this is a common pet peeve for many individuals in the dating world. They don’t want to know how often you date, who you last dated, what was great, and what wasn’t. They don’t want to think you will also talk about them on your next date. Be in the moment. Making eye contact is a great way to show your interest.
- Phones down. Do not touch your phone, I repeat, do not touch your phone. This is a problem not just on first dates but in general. Phones are a huge issue with disconnection and disruption, and sometimes, people will depend on their phones to fill the “quiet” or “awkward” moments instead of trying to make a conversation or connection. Your best bet? Leave your phone in your pocket or in your purse. Absolutely have it on silent. You shouldn’t need it.
- Manners matter. When it comes to ending a first date, being respectful of a person’s time and personal space is important. If you are looking for something more serious, the best way to end the night is to plan another date.
You may have read this and thought, “I’ve been doing a few things wrong,” or maybe, “I’m ready to start dating again.” Either way, we are here to support you on your dating journey.