Getting the Most Out of Online Dating

Online Dating PhotoAre you looking at online dating sites as a way to find a partner?  Many people are happy and successful with the results. Some are angry and even feel traumatized by the outcome.  Prepare yourself for your journey through online dating with these few simple thoughts.

* Be sure you know what you want from an online dating site.  Are you looking for a soul mate or someone to see movies with? A once-a-week dinner partner or a lifetime commitment? It matters because both of you will have some kind of expectations. Let your desires be known on the site so you will draw others with the same motivations as you.

* Do a little research on your compatibility with other types of people.  There are a lot of resources available online that talk about compatible people such as this site []. This information can give you some idea how to present yourself on a dating site so that you will draw compatible people to you.

* Evaluate the various sites and pick the one that fits you.  Different sites cater to different people.  The more general the site, the harder you’ll have to work to find the right person. A more niche site may get you more matches, but limits the pool of people to draw from.

Once you have a clear direction and have picked your online dating site, here are some tips to make it a successful experience for you.

* The first and foremost rule is to be honest! If you start to lie in your profile, it will take a lot of energy to continue the lie until the point where you have to fess up! Don’t lie in your profile. However, you don’t have to disclose every little family secret in your closet in your profile! Just be truthful in whatever you say.

* Any photos you post should be current. Your best photos may be from 5 years ago, but that was you 5 years ago. Show people who you are now.  You will want an in-person meeting eventually, so they will see the real you then. Show them the real you now. Dress up nicely and have a good photo taken, of course (please don’t submit driver’s license or web cam photos!). But photoshopping away moles and blemishes and adding a little curve or bulge here and there is a no-no.

* Prepare for the hard work - plan to spend several hours completing your profile! Yes! This is not a cut and paste from the resume process.  You will have to think about things that may not have been part of your thought process for some time. Some dating sites have lengthy, sophisticated questionnaires to fill out.  These can have some fun questions to think about.  Think of the time you take to complete your profile as the first big energy you are putting into an ideal relationship.  Like many things in life, you will get out of this what you put into it.  Browse through some of the profiles online.  You can tell which ones were hurried and which have a lot of thought put into them.

* Be brief and concise in your profile. This makes the above task even more challenging. How do you tell people about yourself in just a few simple sentences? Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite! Don’t put people to sleep reading your book-length profile. When you think you are done, put it away, sleep on it, and look at again in the morning. 

* The most important information goes at the top of your profile.  If you have strict preferences, put them at the top where they will be read first. Don’t make someone read your entire profile before they see “Must be Jewish and a cat lover”.

* Respond to other people’s profiles sincerely and compassionately.  Most people using online dating have the same goals as you - finding some level of companionship.  If you are not interested, say why in a kind voice and give the person a little boost by saying something positive, “I was really interested in your passion for dancing, but I am looking for someone who lives closer to me”.

* Turn your “rejections” into positive events. Prepare to be rejected, maybe a lot. That’s just the nature of the numbers. But each no is actually saving you from a possible painful experience.  Trying to push yourself into a relationship could result in more painful and direct rejection.

* Online dating will test your patience. Resist the temptation to sit and stare at your inbox once you’ve submitted your profile. It will take some time for your information to show up to others and for them to respond.  Whatever your goal is for using online dating, you want the best possible outcome.  Submit your profile then go on with your life. The best outcome will happen when you are open to an easy and effortless flow of interested, and interesting, people toward you!

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