Dating has changed a lot over the years because of the internet. Whereas before, you had to actually meet someone in person before you could ask them out on a date, now everything can be done online. Some people spend months chatting and flirting with a person through dating apps before they even see them in the flesh.
For those who’ve grown up with smartphones and internet accessibility, this kind of thing is completely normal. The ease of finding people online means that hooking up, dating, and even starting relationships is often better done over the phone. Unless all our technology suddenly stops working, that’s not likely to change.
As for those who are older or haven’t spent their lives glued to a smartphone, this kind of thing can be overwhelming. The potential dangers, mixed with the sheer variety of apps out there, can make online dating seem more trouble than it’s worth. However, there’s a lot of good that can come out of it; you just need to know what you’re doing.
Luckily for you, this guide is here to teach you absolutely everything there is to know about online dating.
Essential Terms To Know
First, here are a few online dating terms you might want to familiarise yourself with:
· ASL – stands for “age, sex, location”.
· Breadcrumbing – when someone leads you on by flirting, but they have no intentions of dating.
· Catfishing – when a person assumes a false identity, often by using someone else’s picture.
· DTR – stands for “define the relationship”.
· FWB – stands for “friends with benefits”.
· Ghosting – when someone you’ve been chatting with suddenly stops responding.
There’s A Lot Of Choice Out There
Search “online dating” into Google, and you’ll get a lot of different recommendations for apps and sites to use. Unlike when the online dating scene started, people have a ton of choice regarding where they can sign up. What’s more, many of these options have a unique selling point that sets them apart from their competitors.
Here are some that stand out:
· E Harmony – definitely one for those more interested in commitment. It’s a matchmaking service that’s great for anyone ready to settle down and wants to avoid hookup culture. Match.com offers a similar service.
· Tinder – this is easily one of the most popular apps out there. Although many relationships have started on Tinder, it’s more commonly used for casual dating and hookups. You swipe profiles right if you’re interested in them, and if that person does the same for you, you can start a conversation.
· Bumble – here, a conversation only starts if a woman initiates it. It’s designed to make female users feel safer with online dating and reduce the number of creepy messages and unsolicited pictures they receive.
· Hinge – this newer app is credited as being “designed to be deleted”. It aims to create stronger connections between people and has features that reduce the likelihood of ghosting.
These are only a handful of the dating apps and sites out there. To see what else is available, you can check out this list and hopefully find something that works for you.
The Benefits Of Online Dating
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with crossing paths with someone, hitting it off, and forming a connection that way. However, this no longer comes naturally to many people, especially after the pandemic.
It may take a lot longer for a situation like this to happen, and if you’re not a patient person, that obviously isn’t ideal. Luckily, online dating can speed things up, and that’s not the only benefit it brings.
For one, by seeking out others online, you discover people you would never have met otherwise. You significantly increase the number of potential partners, making it easier to find someone you click with.
What’s more, meeting someone online gives you more opportunity to get to know them before committing to a date. You have the chance to see if there’s a spark there and possibly avoid an awkward face-to-face encounter. True, you can’t get a full picture of someone just from speaking to them online, but it’s a chance to vet them that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
Check Out Reviews If You’re Uncertain
If you’re still on the fence about online dating, that’s okay. It can be pretty intimidating to jump into for the first time. You want to ensure that the experience is something you’re glad happened, rather than something you’ll live to regret.
So, if you need help with your anxiety, it might be worth seeing what reviews have to say. A site like ReviewMaster is ideal for this because it’s regular people offering their opinions. They just pick a website, brand, etc., rate it out of five stars and share their thoughts on it.
The website has its own online dating section, so it’s easy to find which places come more highly recommended than others. You can check out the reviews to see what others have said, then decide for yourself if something is worth your time or not. Plus, if you do decide to sign up for one of the suggested sites, you’ll then be able tell others what you think about it. You can share your reviews here and potentially help someone else decide if the site is right for them or not.
Ways To Improve The Matching Process
Before you can take anyone out and actually get to the dating part of online dating, you need to connect with people. This might involve matching with them or simply choosing a person to start a conversation with. It all depends on the app or site you use.
Regardless of the method, though, how you get them to work for you is pretty similar across the board. You’ll want to consider these elements:
· Set realistic location settings – it’s no good matching with someone only to discover they live 1,000 miles away. If possible, establish a location radius so that you only connect with people nearby. What you set it to is up to you, but the further away someone is, the harder it may be to see them regularly.
· Be Honest About Yourself – being honest about yourself helps other people know if you’re a good fit for them. So, while you shouldn’t give too much away, make sure your profile establishes the kind of person you are. Likewise, if the matching process involves a test, always answer what is right for you, not what you think others will like. Finally, don’t lie to people when you start a conversation. Otherwise, you’ll never make a genuine connection.
· Avoid empty profiles – the chances are you’re not looking to date an enigma. So if their profile is lacking essential information, you probably shouldn’t bother with them.
· Don’t accept bad opening messages – there are right ways and wrong ways to start a conversation. A variation of hello might be bland but is perfectly reasonable. A chat-up line is cringey and potentially offensive, though some people may see the humour in them. A request for pictures or anything else potentially sleazy, though, is an immediate red flag. Unless you’re just looking for a quick hookup, any message that starts like this is a problem.
It’s impossible to ensure that every match you make on dating sites and apps is a perfect one. However, by keeping these things in mind, you at least improve your chances of finding the person that’s right for you.
The Dating Rules You Must Follow
Taking a stranger at face value can be difficult, especially when you can’t even see their face. That’s why it’s essential that you follow a few rules whenever you speak to someone new, no matter what site or app you’re using.
Firstly, you should always hold back any personal information until you feel comfortable sharing it. It’s okay to tell people your name and age but refrain from giving away too much about yourself. Letting someone know your address or phone number is a risky move, especially if you haven’t met them in person yet. After all, you don’t want them having that information if you discover there isn’t a connection between the two of you.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to question their authenticity. Try not to pry too much because they may be just as wary about sharing information as you. However, if they try to dodge innocent questions, this may be a cause for concern. Likewise, do a reverse image search on their picture(s) and see what comes up. If they’ve stolen the photo from someone else, that’s a clear indicator they’re not the real deal.
Thirdly, make sure your first time meeting one another is in a public space. That way, you don’t put yourself in any danger and can even have friends nearby to keep an eye on things. While you might not want them to control your dating life, their insight and advice can be useful with online dating. After all, they’re less emotionally invested in the situation, so they may be able to see things about your date that you can’t.
Finally, don’t rush into anything. If you spend hours chatting to someone you’ve just matched with, it’s easy to get carried away. However, you shouldn’t let your guard down too soon. Just play it cool, keep getting to know the person, and then see if they’re worth going further with. You don’t need to
leave it a month until you meet up, but you also might want to avoid arranging a date after one conversation.
What’s more, don’t be fooled if they start throwing out declarations of love too quickly. This is one of the ways that scammers try to manipulate people online, so stay on your toes.
The First Date Isn’t That Different
You might think that going on a date with someone you’ve met online might be different than if you’d crossed paths in person. However, while the experience may not be entirely the same, it’s also not worlds apart.
You may feel a little more apprehensive about meeting your online date because this is the first time you’ve properly seen one another. It’s not unusual to worry that you might have been catfished, although you’ll find out the truth as soon as the date starts. However, if the two of you have been talking for a few weeks, you may also feel more relaxed. After all, you have a decent impression of this person by now, so they’re less of a stranger to you. Other than that, though, the experience is pretty similar. The best first date tips for meeting someone from the internet aren’t really any different from if you’d met the person at work or in a coffee shop. Just be cautious and be yourself.
Don’t Get Too Invested
This is perhaps one of the most important things to take away from this guide. As fun and life-changing as online dating can be, it’s not perfect. You will likely see the ugly side of the scene while you’re looking for a partner, and that can taint the entire experience for you.
It may be that you get catfished by someone who doesn’t look anything look their profile picture. Or, someone you’ve shared great conversations with suddenly ghosts you one day and leaves you wondering what went wrong. Maybe you just feel insecure because no-one’s making the first move, or the people you try to message don’t even respond.
All of these situations are bad, and unfortunately, they’re not uncommon with online dating. However, they’ll only get to you if you allow them to. That’s why it’s so important to go into this experience not being too invested.
If you end up going on a few dates with someone and seem to hit it off, then, by all means, let your emotions do the talking. However, if you’re vulnerable and afraid of what impact these scenarios might have on you, you should hold off on online dating for now. The last thing you want or deserve is for this experience to mess with your head.
Online dating can seem scary, but its success speaks for itself. Millions of couples in the world right now exist because they started online. That could be you one day, just as long as you keep everything this guide tells you in mind.