There are more than 7500 dating sites Worldwide, and around 49 Million people have tried online dating at least once. Let’s be honest, we all know someone who has gotten married or are in a long term relationship with someone they met online. In fact, 1 in 5 long term relationships met through an online service or app. So, if meeting people in more traditional ways hasn’t given you the results you’re looking for, you could easily have thousands of singles at your fingertips looking for a possible connection and have positive results.
I, personally, like Hinge over apps like Bumble and Tinder. I haven’t paid for a service, yet, though I can see how the benefits of subscribing to an actual dating service/site versus free apps is that the dating pool you’re matching with is also more invested, and therefore might actually take the interactions a little more serious.
Fun fact: although 60% of women say they’re looking for a relationship vs a hookup while swiping right, 33% of them give up the p on the first date with an online suitor. With men owning over half of the online profiles (52.4% give or take), guys, your statistics aren’t bad-1 in 3 first dates will most likely end in sex. Now that’s incentive!
Statistics aside, here are some of my personal opinions based on my own personal experience:
Setting up your profile:
- SMILE. I’m scrolling through my potential matches, and I can’t tell whether you have teeth or at least the important ones, not to mention whether they’re close to a shade of white, I’m less likely to like/match/swipe right on your profile. Your smile is the first thing I notice and probably the most important attribute you have online. I’ve had a match that wasn’t necessarily my type in other areas, but he had a great inviting smile so I gave him a like.
- VARIETY. I’m not trying to see all selfies in your vehicle with sunglasses on, gym/mirror selfies or photos you’ve downloaded complete with snapchat filter. Let me see a full body shot and one close up without the sunglasses. Have one from vacation, with your pet, having fun with friends, or a picture that represents a hobby/interest like music or hiking. And for the love of all things holy, don’t have ALL group photos where I have to deduce which one is actually YOU or I’ll give up and go to the next profile.
- STAND OUT. Choose questions and prompts that are good icebreakers and don’t sound like the past 50 people we just viewed. What’s sets you apart from everyone else….Spoiler alert-it’s not your love for coffee and sunsets because most of us love coffee and sunsets. Do you enjoy music? Are you training for an Iron Man? Do you have a love for dogs or are you more of a cat person? Craft beer or domestics? Can you cook and if so, what is your signature meal? If you could have a soundtrack to your life, what songs would be included on it? Do you love or hate the Office? Those are the facts I wan to know.
- Men, try not to look creepy. If you are unsure, reach out to a friend or family member that will give you the honest truth. Perfect example of creepy is your great uncle who still takes photos from the computer web cam, not smiling, looking like he hits up online chat rooms for underage or barley legal girls.
- Use recent pictures and don’t lie. No matter what, if you don’t follow this simple suggestion, you will be found out. Newsflash- no one likes dishonesty. If you can’t show up as 100% yourself then what are you even doing? Wasting yours and everyone else’s time, that’s what you’re doing. Men usually lie about money and women lie about age…surprise surprise….
- Have something to say other than “Hey” or “How are you.” Use one of the conversation prompts, ask probing questions, or tell a funny joke. Try to avoid questions like “Tell me about yourself. Personally, I got a lot going on. Most of these things I want to have to talk about on the first date. So be a little more specific. Ask for a Netflix/Hulu/Prime suggestion. Ask what they’re hoping to find in a match. Something that can gage compatibility but still leave room for discussion once you meet in person. Again, this is why it’s important to have something to build up from the profile. And if they love coffee and sunsets, where is their favorite place to drink coffee or watch the sunset?
- If you’re feeling the person after a few exchanges, set up a quick meeting for coffee or link up while you’re both out with no obligation to stick around. This takes off the pressure of having to endure a bad first encounter, saves money, and gives you both a chance to see if there is any potential chemistry. If there is chemistry in the first meeting it will be there for the second as well.
- Do not message endlessly without pulling the “let’s meet” trigger. These sites and apps are designed for meetings, not to gain pen pals.
- When planning the first actual date, consider doing something lighthearted and fun. Arcades, bowling, comedy club, and theme parks are great starters. These type of activities leave room for conversation without the chance of awkward silence and boredom.
- If you have a great first meeting and first date, say so. Let the other person know that you enjoyed their company and would like to see them again. If at all possible, set up the second date before the end of the first. Or at least suggest checking schedules and confirming in the next few days. If you are not feeling the match, then find a way to let the person know without being rude or offensive.
Most of all:
- Be ready to handle rejection. Not everyone is going to be THE ONE. You aren’t going to like everyone that likes you and vice versa. Dating often and dating a variety of types will help you realize what you’re looking for in a long term relationship. Embrace the failures knowing that each no is leading to that special yes.
- DON’T SETTLE. Don’t rush things. Be up front and honest not only with the other person, but yourself as well. If it’s not a fuck yes then it is a no.
- Practice safe dating techniques. Meet in public places, let someone know where you’re going and with whom, and never leave a drink unattended. If you feel uncomfortable, give yourself an out. A lot of bars will call you a car service with a code word, find out what that is in your local area and don’t be afraid to use it!!
- Dating is not the easiest for most people. We make mistakes, have awkward moments, drink too much, overshare and over communicate. Forgive yourself in advance.
- Let the relationship run its course without over fantasizing about the end result. The first few dates is not the time to daydream about your future wedding, pick out children’s names or decide whether you’ll move into their house or them into yours. You never truly know someone that first year and I think you really don’t know someone until after the first two years.
- At the end of the day, if this person is in to you, you will know. If you don’t know how they feel then assume they are not into you and move along.
Online dating can be exciting and frightening, easy and overwhelming. With great power to connect with thousands of singles in your area comes with great responsibility. Be smart and use protection, get tested regularly, and be quick to drop someone who doesn’t respect you and your boundaries. Happy Swiping!
Do you have any other tips or suggestions for online dating? I’d love to hear some of your success stories and online dating gone wrong!! Send your tales to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have you as a guest caller or share your story on our radio show The Smitten Kitten with Callie Dee at KFTW975.org. And as always, tune in every Monday at 11pm CST and Friday 10pm CST where we talk all things dating, love, relationships, sex and the human experience.
Until Next Time