If you’re looking for love online, then there are things you need to know about cyber-dating and how it works. While the popular matchmaking concept seems pretty straightforward, in reality, it’s not.
Now, if you’re just getting started, you don’t need to stress out at this point. It’s just that surfing dating services comes with its own set of rules for getting the best results.
The sites you patronize will have undoubtedly given you their own personal online dating tips when you first signed up because they love success stories, but they probably haven’t covered everything.
With that in mind, let’s roll!
Best Online Dating Profiles
This is an area where a lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can just post the facts (as they see them) accompanied by a few pics and the winks will just take care of themselves.
It’s not true, and your service assuredly told you this during setup. They can’t force you to do right by their suggestions, but why waste your time and possibly money if you’re not going to put some effort into it?
It may not seem like a big deal, but if your profile is Spartan and dull as dishwater, very few people will be interested, because you’ll be perceived as dull, too.
Lack of any meaningful information beyond your stats may even come across as suspicious. The whole point of this step is to ensure that your bio does you justice.
That would have been in the site’s tips section or perhaps a tutorial.
If you’re that uninspired, there are services like ViDA you can use to do the work for you, but how ethical is that? It’s up to you to decide, but many dating sites frown upon it. In fact, Bumble’s VP of Marketing, Louise Troen, had this to say about virtual dating assistants:
“These companies are essentially leveraging and capitalizing on people’s vulnerability and that’s something Bumble will address accordingly.
“Being held accountable for the things you say and the actions you take is Bumble’s number one [priority] and if the messages aren’t from you, then you can’t be held accountable. That really worries me.”
Nevertheless, here are some online dating tips for the best profiles:
1. Fill it In
Don’t leave a lot of blanks on your profile. The more you provide, the better the picture you paint of yourself. So invest the time and do it properly.
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Just be aware that you can overkill your description as well. Leaving a little mystery is better than running off at the digital mouth.
Also, be safe, and don’t reveal anything that could put you in a compromising position. Use your common sense in that regard.
2. Profile Images
This is an area that gets a lot of attention because there is a method or formula to follow for the best results. Start with an image that keeps it classy.
No shirtless pix for men or cleavage shots for women.
You want to make a good first impression—and you’ll only get one chance at that—so choose something flattering that portrays you honestly and preferably alone.
According to the pros, one of the biggest mistakes online daters make with their leading profile picture is using one with other people in it. Don’t.
Also, make sure the leading image, at the very least, is relatively current. Otherwise, you probably won’t get a second date, once they see you in person.
It should be clear and show you without sunglasses or a big, floppy hat obscuring your features. Individuals that do that are viewed suspiciously, for a multitude of reasons. This isn’t Witness Protection. It’s online dating.
You can add a picture or two of you doing some sort of hobbies as well like an action shot that shows your passions in life.
These pictures can include friends or family in them, reinforcing the fact you’re likable enough to have them. But if you like pets, you should definitely include one.
Studies show people are drawn to images of animals before almost any other subject matter, plus it’ll make you look warm and approachable. Remember, you’re trying to present a snapshot of what life with you would be like.
Try and refrain from posting anything too crazy. Yes, it might show your “fun” side, but keep it within bounds. Once you’ve met someone you can share more of the goof within you.
For now, if you must include one, post it last in your rotation. Don’t lead with it.
3. Keeping it Real
This should soooo go without saying, but apparently, it bears a repeated reminder: don’t lie about yourself; either your looks, age or anything else, period.
You will, of course, get caught eventually, leaving you looking like a liar, insecure, or delusional. Which one of those losers do you want to be?
Besides, are you really the kind of person that wants to start out a relationship predicated on dishonesty?
Dishonesty in Online Dating
Speaking of which, there is a fair amount of dishonesty in the cyber dating pool you should be aware of.
Earlier, we mentioned ViDA, which stands for Virtual Dating Assistant. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a sort of digital assistant that writes replies for clients that are possibly too shy, too busy, or too disinterested to interact with potential matches themselves.
ViDA is actually a company that acts as you, the online dater, and even the paid writers sometimes grapple with the ethics of it all.
Just go into it with your eyes wide open, if you’re going to try electronic matchmaking efforts. The anonymity that a computer or app can supply gives people the kind of initial wiggle room when it comes to the deceit that the old-fashioned methods of dating don’t.
You could be flirting with a serial dater with no real interest in a long-term commitment, regardless of what their profile states.
The bottom line for ViDA, and any other services like them, is to produce multiple matches for dates in order to keep the client happy—not necessarily love connections of the lasting kind.
By the way, dating sites like OKCupid and others have strict policies regarding third-party users, which is what ViDA essentially is, and they’ve been known to flag, suspend, or even delete accounts over the use of these ghostwriting services.
After all, they’re imposters misusing dating sites and misleading users in the process.
Online Dating Tips for Safety
This is another area for some concern, but the truth is we really do live in a crazy world, so proceed with caution.
We have some online dating tips with safety in mind everyone should follow, but women especially should adhere to these. Heed our advice and tread carefully when meeting strangers, no matter how many times you’ve corresponded.
For first and maybe even second dates, listen up:
1. Meet Somewhere Safe
When meeting for the first time, pick someplace where you feel comfortable and safe that’s very much in public.
This not only protects you but when you’re at ease, you’re able to be more yourself and enjoy the experience.
2. Use Your Own Transportation
It’s a really good idea to drive yourself to the spot where you’ll be meeting or take a cab, Uber, or Lyft during your initial outing together.
This is helpful in two ways:
- First, if you’re not feeling it and you decide you want to check out early, you’re not dependent on your date for transportation.
- Second, you don’t really know this person yet, and you’re merely counting on them not being a homicidal maniac. It doesn’t mean they’re not.
3. Old-Fashioned Manners
If your date insists on picking you up or it just works out to be more convenient, make a note of their license plate and vehicle make and model and pass it along to someone you trust immediately.
It’s also advisable to snap a selfie of the two of you and forward it along as well through a text message.
You can never be too careful with virtual strangers, and it’s better safe than sorry.
4. Buddy System
Tell a friend or family member where you’re going, what time you’re expected to be back, the name and other identifying information about your date, and provide them a link to your date’s profile.
Not to scare you, but we all hear horror stories periodically about online dating, so be vigilant.
5. Home-Cooked Romance
No matter how romantic it may sound, resist the temptation to be wooed into a home-cooked meal at their home or to show off your cooking skills on a first date.
Ideally, you don’t want them to know exactly where you live yet, anyway, and being alone someplace where no one can hear you scream is not advisable by any stretch of the imagination.
Proceed cautiously initially and meet in public, as recommended.
6. Remain Sober
Try not to get inebriated on your date. It could compromise your ability to think clearly when you need to most, and you could come off looking badly even if your date is on the up-and-up.
If they’re Mr. Right, there’s plenty of time for getting tipsy together in the future.
7. Social Media
When you put your profile together, hopefully, you didn’t include images posted on your various social media platforms. If so, remove them before you go any further.
Additionally, don’t share your SM info just yet on your first few dates in case you decide not to continue seeing him or her. The last thing you need is a stalker.
In the interest of honesty, you may be tempted to overshare, but be careful how much information you provide in the early days. Again, this could lead to stalking.
9. Burner App
Strongly consider getting a Burner number for your phone until you decide one way or another whether you want this person to know more about you. You can get a Google Voice number, too, if you prefer, which is free.
Either way, your actual number is protected should you worry they’ll misuse it later on.
10. First Name Basis
Some sources suggest holding off on providing your last name until after the first date, just to be safe, but depending on the matchmaking site or app you’re using, that might be a moot point. It’s something to think about, though.
11. Going for a Stroll
If you’re city dwellers, it’s advisable not to allow your date to walk you home, no matter how gallant or romantic it seems on a first date. This is for a few reasons:
- You don’t want them to know where you live yet, and anything could happen between a populated area as you’ve likely just come from (if you were listening to our advice, anyways) and your front door.
- It’s also not a good idea to allow yourself to be talked into a romantic stroll in a park, on the beach, or anyplace else you could conveniently disappear.
- None of these places is where you told your friend or family member where you’d be (again if you’ve been listening) should something happen.
Yes, it sounds paranoid, but it’s not. Just pick up a paper or watch the news, if you don’t agree.
12. Pepper Spray
If you’re a single woman, chances are you already have a keychain with pepper spray attached, but you might want to consider getting some, if not. They come in purse-size now—unless you’re afraid you’ll need more.
13. Google, Anyone?
This is actually a very clever idea, but according to eFlirt dating coach Laurie Davis, you should Google yourself before going on a date, so you know ahead of time what’s out there concerning your presence on this planet.
Googling yourself is Davis’ #1 rule when it comes to remaining safe while online dating. Knowing what personal and public information is out there about you for anyone to take advantage of, or misuse in a creep-factor sort of way is vital to keeping yourself out of harm’s way in the 21st century.
It’s also a good idea to contact companies like aste.io to do a cohesive peek into your date’s background for a nominal fee.
More Online Dating Tips
Having gone over all of this, chances are you recognize yourself as a perpetrator of at least one, if not more, of these online dating tips.
If you haven’t already, try and avoid doing things like stalking your date’s Facebook, Instagram, or whatever page and snoop.
Yes, it’s tempting, and some may even say it’s all done in the name of safety, but what happens if you accidentally spill something you’ve seen or read on their page during the date? Awkward!
If you do find less than flattering information on them, note the dates of the infractions. If it was 10-20 years ago, they might be excused—depending on the crime, of course. But pay attention, nonetheless, because the cooties you find could be a huge red flag as to their character and trustworthiness.
Everyone deserves both a second chance and the benefit of the doubt, but it’s still good to know and could have a bearing on your future.
All of these online dating tips should serve you well, whether you’re new to the scene or you’ve been at it a while. Either way, play it safe and have fun!