Online is incredibly popular nowadays. In fact, it is now the most popular way of meeting a partner. For some people online dating can still be a little daunting but if you follow these simple tips you will surely find that special someone :)

Choosing an online dating site

Dating sites come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some are relatively cheap to join as a premium member whilst others are much more expensive. A few dating sites in the UK are incredibly popular however many are much less active. The most popular dating sites tend to cater to everyone but there are dating sites who cater to specific groups such as race, religion and sexuality.

Thankfully, choosing a dating site isn’t that complicated because all dating sites are free to join up. Whilst joining rarely gives you features such as private messaging, it does allow you to search for members. This gives you the opportunity to search for people you like in your area. It also allows you to get a feel for the service and the features it offers so that you can determine whether signing up as a premium member offers good value.

So if you sign up with a dating site and you can’t find anyone in your area that interests you, don’t be too concerned, as there are lots of other dating sites out there. Shop around and find one which suits you.

Create your online profile

Your online profile is an important part of dating online. Unfortunately it’s a part which many people don’t complete. When you browse members on a dating site you will see profiles with no pictures, profiles with pictures and no descriptions and profiles with pictures and just a simple sentence describing themselves.

In my opinion these people are cutting themselves short as there’s more chance of someone contacting you if you tell them a little about yourself; and surely that’s the whole point of joining an online dating site!

Be smart, be safe

Generally speaking online dating is safe however a bit of common sense goes a long way.

  • Don’t reveal your real name, use an alias. It’s recommended that you use an alias that you don’t use on other sites on the internet so that people cannot find you through another way.
  • Don’t post your email address in your profile. It is better to use the sites messaging system with someone you like until you feel safe in sending them your real name and email address.
  • Don’t post your phone number in your profile. Remember, the information you post in your profile is available to every member on the dating site, even those you are not interested in.

Completing your profile

  • Be honest about who you are. Don’t be scared to reveal too much about who you are as a person. The more honest you are, the more likely you are to meet the person you are looking for.
  • Tell people what you are looking for in a partner. Looks, personality, location, hobbies etc.
  • Don’t rush your profile. Essentially, your profile is the first impression that people have of your personality. So don’t rush through it as if it’s a minor detail.
  • Check your grammar and spelling.

Post up to date pictures of yourself

It’s tempting to put up that picture of you 5 years ago when you were thinner and looked much younger than you do today. Though it really is counter productive as a potential date will get the impression you look a lot different than you really do.

Be honest and post a good recent picture of you which shows you in a good light.

Getting in contact with someone you like

Most dating sites let you ‘wink’ or ’smile’ at someone you like. This is a quick and easy way to tell someone that you like them. If someone winks back at you the next step is for someone to send an email introducing themselves. Of course, you can contact someone without getting or sending a wink but doing so usually confirms whether or not the other person likes you.

When sending that first email to someone:

  • Be short and polite (and perhaps funny too). You don’t need to write a long introduction about yourself – that’s what your profile is for.
  • Be respectful. It’s best not to be too flirty or forward until you know the person a little better.
  • Be yourself!

If the person likes you, they will email you back. Most people are nice enough to email back and say when they aren’t interested too. If that happens, remember to be respectful and don’t take it personally; everyone is looking for something different in this life :)

If you have a successful email conversation with someone you like, you may want to chat to them real time. Some dating sites have a chat system which lets you do that. Others don’t so you may have to exchange msn, yahoo or skype details in order to chat. Again, remember not to hand out your personal details to anyone. If you are unsure, create a new hotmail or yahoo email account specifically for chatting with people.

After a few chatting sessions you may want to speak on the phone, or perhaps arrange your first date….

Arranging your first date

The first date can be exciting and scary at the same time. If you have spoken on the phone with your date then you will probably be more relaxed about meeting them. Though chatting on messenger and speaking on the phone is completely different from meeting someone in real life so here are some tips.

Safety

  • Meet in a public place. Don’t let your date pick you up from your home. Meet them at a public place which is convenient for both of you.
  • Tell a friend where you are going and let them know that you will give them a text/call after your date to let them know you are ok.
  • Use some common sense. If something doesn’t feel right or you are not enjoying yourself then politely thank them for the date and go home.

Where to meet

It’s always best to meet at a public place, but where should you meet? The most common first dates are at the cinema, at a restaurant or at a bar.

My personal recommendation is a bar. If you are teetotal this may not be the best place to meet however generally speaking most people feel a bit more relaxed in a bar, certainly after a few drinks. Though obviously, you need to watch you don’t drink too much or you may so or do something you regret.

A restaurant is also a good choice as it allows you to share a meal, have a few drinks and chat face to face.

The cinema is also a popular place for a first date though I don’t think it is a good place for a first date unless you go for a meal or drink afterwards as you cannot chat in the cinema; and the whole point of the date is to get to know the other person! All you have is 10 minutes before and after the film to chat.

Though there isn’t any right or wrong place to meet someone, I think it’s always best to meet somewhere and do something that makes you both feel comfortable and allows you both to chat and get to know each other.

Good luck!