Online dating is more popular than ever. There are an estimated 50 million Tinder users in the world, whilst the likes of more traditional platforms such as Match receive 35 million users a month.
The reason online dating is so popular is that it can be done at any time from any location. It’s also a lot less nerve-wracking than real life dating – it’s easier to talk to someone from behind a screen than it is to talk to someone in person.
That said, many people still struggle with online dating. It requires a certain level of strategy and patience in order to get people responding, let alone securing a date in person. Here are just a few tips to help you master the art of online dating.
Cast your net wide
The first important step is to cast your net wide. Don’t just sign up to one dating platform – take advantage of multiple platforms. This could include general dating platforms such as Match.com as well as more niche dating platforms such as Fonochatlatino.com. Just be wary that certain platforms may charge you to sign up.
After this, you want to consider your parameters such as the age range you’re looking for and the area you’re willing to meet someone within. Don’t make these parameters too narrow – it’s unlikely you’ll find someone the same age as you who lives in the same neighborhood. Try a five year age gap and a 100 km range and see where this gets you.
Appearance matters – the first thing most people will look at is your profile picture and you can bet that this will make up the bulk of their decision as to whether you’re a match or not.
Consequently, you want to use the best photograph possible that you can. Don’t settle for a quick selfie in your dimly lit bedroom – go somewhere social and get someone else to take the photograph for you.
Women are better off smiling in their profile pictures in order to show a sense of warmth, whilst men are better off ditching the smile for a more serene look (probably not what you were expecting). Both sexes meanwhile can benefit from keeping their photo free of other people including kids and pets. Make the focus on you and you only.
Some sites allow you to post multiple photos, in which case you may want to try using a range of photos from different situations. This could include something more formal and then something more casual. Feel free to upload pictures of you getting involved with hobbies that you feel could spark interest.
Photos should always be clear. Avoid blurry images or photographs in which your face is obscured by sunglasses or a hat. Halloween make-up is also probably not a good idea.
Finally, make sure to use modern photos. A photo of you 10 years ago isn’t going to give people an honest representation of what you look like now, which leads to the next point…
There’s no use deceiving people with lies about your achievements or fake photographs – sooner or later you’ll get caught out. Keep your profile honest so that it’s a true representation of you. Make sure that people know you have kids or that you’re going through gender reassignment or that you have a disability. Those that aren’t put off by these things are the people that you want to attract to your profile.
Of course, you don’t have to tell strangers everything there is to know about you – it’s worth keeping a few surprises such as hobbies or past achievements.
Keep your profile fun
Your dating profile shouldn’t read like a CV. Keep it succinct and humorous to show people that you are a fun person. Tell people a fun fact about yourself, use smiley faces and avoid negative language. You may also want to keep out religious views or political opinions unless your date needs to share these opinions as a minimum requirement.
The profile setup is different on each dating platform – some sites allow for more detailed sections whilst other platforms such as Tinder allow space for only a couple of sentences. Try using different information on each dating platform, allowing you to try out different strategies and see which ones work.
Watch your spelling
When writing your dating profile and messaging other users, it pays to use good spellingIf you’re using words such as ‘teh’, ‘cuz’ and ‘ur’, you could be 13% less likely to get a reply. This goes for your dating profile too, which deserves to be well-written.
It doesn’t matter as to which gender you are – whilst messaging first is traditionally the role of the man, many women are starting to break this tradition and message first. Messaging first shows that you’re keen – don’t just wait for the messages to come to you.
When sending your first message, think carefully about the content. Don’t just open with ‘hi’ as this doesn’t inspire conversation. Instead, find an engaging greeting that tells people immediately that you’re looking for an interesting conversation. Discuss a shared interest or mention something they wrote in their profile that captured your attention. Alternatively, you could try opening with a riddle or a funny situational question (e.g. ‘would you rather fight an army of duck-sized horses or a single horse-sized duck?’).
Time your message strategically so that you’re more likely to get an answer. 3 PM on a weekday is not a good time to message someone as they’re likely to be working. In fact, sticking to mornings, evenings and weekends if you can.
Know when to seal the deal
Once you start getting replies, you may soon after find yourself in a full-blown conversation, at which point you may start to wonder when it the best time to seal the deal and ask for their phone number or invite them on a physical date.
The important thing to realize is that both of you are on that dating platform for the sole reason of finding a date, therefore you don’t want to be carrying on conversations for days or even weeks. You should, therefore, aim to ask the question fairly early so that the person you’re talking to knows you’re interested.
You don’t need to spend ages talking to them online to determine whether they’re a good match. In fact, you should try to save some of the juicier conversation questions to when you go on a physical date so that you have something to talk about.
Ideally, you should avoid adding someone on Facebook until you’ve met them in person – allow yourself a bit of mystery when going into the date so that you can get to know each other more naturally as if you met in real life.