Your First Time… Trying Online Dating

Online Dating (Image Credit: Diego Cervo)
Online Dating (Image Credit: Diego Cervo)

In world where Ben and Jerry’s and Netflix combine to make a perfectly enjoyable evening for yourself, you may feel like a little something is still missing. Oh yea, maybe someone to enjoy those things with you – some of that basic human interaction that our species strives for.  Especially considering many of today’s single candidates include working individuals who maybe don’t have the time to physically explore the dating world. So, how about that online dating?

I know as a single, twenty-something living in the 21st century, online dating is certainly a viable, always interesting option that allows me to conveniently connect with others who serve as potential romantic partners. All if not many of us have considered it! Or thought about it, or whatever. So, below are five suggestions to consider for your first time stepping into the world of online dating:

1.)    Be open-minded: Other people (millions) are having similar cautious feelings just like you about trying out the online dating world, but don’t be ashamed: according to a recent study, one in three Americans now meet their spouses online, and those marriages are less likely to end in divorce than those that begin in “traditional” venues. Also, it’s the 21st century – communication and technology are almost synonymous with one another, meaning it’s totally normal to meet a romantic partner virtually. Just don’t get too comfortable behind that screen.

2.)    Sites to consider: “Where do I start?!” you say? Well, you can gather recommendations/suggestions from friends and also do a little research. I recommend a site called OKCupid – It’s free, friendly, accessible and, like most dating sites, features detailed options for you based on location and match percentage (via a match questionnaire members take upon signing up for the service. If you’re a music lover Tastebuds, a new online dating site that pairs individuals based on their taste in music, might be a better fit for you. There’s also the ever popular PlentyofFish, another free option, or if you’re looking for a more conservative, religious-based connection, perhaps try Christian Mingle.

3.)    Remember what you’re there for: Be honest and don’t be afraid to be different. Note some of your best qualities, and be grammatically correct about it (people care)!

4.)    Don’t give too much away/don’t always trust pictures (something you’ve already probably learned by now if you’ve ever seen an episode of Catfish): Maybe two suggestions in one bullet point, but they both go hand-in-hand. You want to be honest about yourself, without giving too much away as you could leave yourself vulnerable to less honest people who don’t match up to their profile picture/attributes whatsoever.

5.)    “Selfies”, really? – Sure, who am I to judge, but marketing yourself with a bevy of self-photos isn’t all that attractive – as a matter of fact, it can come off as a bit narcissistic and/or desperate. Try and list as many great qualities about yourself as possible while leaving a little mystery as not to be too forward!

Remember when setting up a face-to-face meeting, let a friend know where you’re going and perhaps details of the individual you’re meeting. Also, it might sound creepy, but have that friend follow you in a subtle, low-key way just to make sure you’ve met your “match” and that everything gets off to a smooth start; text him/her to let them know it’s OK for them to skedaddle. If a face-to-face meeting sounds like too much of a risk to you, perhaps consider a “Skype date”! And remember, if you do decide to set up an account, don’t feel guilty about it. Be safe, honest, but don’t give all your cards away. And remember, don’t feel rushed – date on your own time/terms, after all, that’s part of the attraction to online dating.

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Jesse Tabit is a native of Charleston, WV. He studies journalism at West Virginia University.

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