Are you new to online dating? If so, you’re not alone. According to Pew Research Center, about one-third of American adults have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps. While many of these folks have had success finding relationships and even marriage through their online efforts, the experience isn’t necessarily easy – especially if you’re new to it all. First time online dating tips can be very helpful in making your first foray into the world of online dating easier and more effective. The following seven tips are particularly helpful for anyone just starting out with online dating.
1) Have a clear profile picture
Having a clear profile picture is just one part of attracting your first dates online. After all, most users find a first date by browsing other user’s profiles and photos. If you have an ambiguous profile photo or choose not to include one at all, users will assume you’re not interested in finding dates online. Make sure you also fill out your full profile including listing your age, location and marital status (if applicable). This is good dating advice for women and men alike!
2) Be clear on what you are looking for
Dating online can feel very isolating, especially in those first few days. If you’re feeling particularly nervous about diving headfirst into online dating, take some time to reflect on what you are looking for in a mate. When you know what your dream date looks like and who they are as a person, it will be easier to find them when they walk through your screen. This also helps weed out anyone who doesn’t meet your criteria early on, so you don’t waste time talking to people that aren’t going anywhere. In other words, if someone tells you that their favorite band is Nickelback and you haven’t heard of them (don’t judge me), then maybe it isn’t meant to be. It may sound harsh, but you have better things to do with your time than talk to strangers online. The goal here is efficiency. You want to get to know someone quickly because there are plenty more fish in the sea. So set yourself up for success by being clear on what you want from dating online before you start. You’ll thank yourself later.(7 First Time Online Dating Tips That Actually Work)
3) Communicate with your matches
Communicating with your matches is one of those tricky parts of online dating. It can go well—or terribly, terribly wrong. Ultimately, you want to maintain a good balance between communicating enough without being overbearing or annoying. After all, it’s your first date; they don’t know you yet and it’s natural to be curious about what they’re up to. There are also some best practices for communication; if someone says they will do something by a certain time, for example, wait until that point before following up with them. More often than not people live up to their commitments so there is no need to worry when someone doesn’t respond immediately or at all – plenty of other matches are available! At any rate, give them some space. In general: leave after-date communications up to mutual decision making (for example: texting hey or sending a casual email). Don’t send a barrage of texts/emails after just one date; keep things light-hearted and flirty (you may feel like you’re on Cloud 9 but resist from sharing too much information too soon). Keep in mind that dating apps have different rules than traditional dating sites/apps (such as OkCupid) because of increased privacy settings. For example, Tinder discourages users from messaging each other directly but allows it as an option. Check out our How To Start A Conversation On Dating Apps guide for more information on how to properly communicate via text on these platforms.(7 First Time Online Dating Tips That Actually Work)
4) Read their profiles carefully
Most dating sites offer good profile-writing advice, and it’s well worth your time to read up on it. Some will tell you to write about what you do for a living, or where you live—don’t do that. Instead, focus on who you are as a person, what you like to do when you aren’t at work or sleeping. And keep an eye out for fake profiles: people who don’t actually exist and have been set up just to scam online daters out of money. If you think someone is lying in their profile, report them immediately.
If they seem suspicious, move on: If something seems off about someone’s profile (for example, if they claim to be from New York but their English is terrible), move on without contacting them. It might be that they’re not really from New York (and could be from anywhere) or it might be that they’re not very good with English (and might not even realize). Either way, there’s no reason to waste your time engaging with someone who doesn’t seem genuine. You’ll only make yourself look bad by responding to a fake profile anyway; so don’t bother taking any chances! Once you’ve found some promising profiles, send a message: Once you find someone interesting and authentic-seeming, send them an email or message through the dating site. Be brief and polite—you want to avoid coming across as too aggressive—but also let them know why you think they’re interesting and what you’d like to do together. Don’t forget to include your own contact information at the end of your message!
If things go well, ask for their number: If you get along well with someone online, ask for their phone number so that you can text each other instead of using online messaging systems. This gives you more privacy and lets you have more in-depth conversations than are possible through most dating sites’ messaging services.(7 First Time Online Dating Tips That Actually Work)
5) Meet in public, don’t give out your home address
Yes, it’s tempting to invite your new paramour over for a nice, long night of pillow talk. But you should resist (at least until you know each other better). It’s always safest to meet in public—like at a coffee shop or restaurant. And never, ever give out your home address or phone number until you get to know someone well enough to trust them. This is an especially important rule if you’re using online dating sites. After all, what do you really know about anyone? Sure, they might look like Brad Pitt on their profile picture…but they could be Mr. Psycho Stalker with a dozen restraining orders from ex-girlfriends and wives! There are no guarantees on online dating sites—and that goes double for first dates. If you have any doubt about meeting up with someone, don’t do it. You don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way just because you got lonely and decided to start dating again. When it comes to romance, there’s no shame in playing it safe—especially when safety means protecting yourself from harm.
6) Know when to stop talking about yourself (and ask questions!)
Asking questions is one of my favorite online dating tips for first time daters. Start with a softball question or two about what someone does for work or their hobby, and then branch out from there. You want to strike a balance between not being too forward (no endless questions about what they look like without their shirt on) and giving them enough information to know you’re interesting. Remember, you can always look up common interests later—this is your chance to start something real! If it doesn’t feel right, just say goodbye. Don’t get stuck in an awkward conversation if it feels forced; you might find that you both have nothing in common after all. Just be honest: I had fun talking with you tonight but I think we should call it a night before things get weird. Good luck out there!
7) Date In Person!
The first day of dating is all about good manners, and it’s important to make sure you treat everyone around you with respect. Remember that your date may be nervous—this could easily be their first date as well! Having lunch or a cup of coffee with them and getting to know them is always a good starting point when it comes to dating. Show your date you’re respectful by valuing their time as much as your own. And don’t forget: it’s still considered rude to talk on your phone during a date; if you have something pressing to take care of, excuse yourself from your date and take care of business in another room. You want to leave your date with a positive impression, so they want to see you again! After all, dating is just like any other job interview…with one exception: there are no second chances at dating. Once someone has seen how you act on a date, they won’t give you another chance (unless there was an obvious miscommunication). Make sure that whatever happens on your date reflects positively upon who you are and what kind of person you are. If you do happen to hit it off with your date, be honest about your intentions. If you’d like to see them again after dating, let them know! If not, tell them politely but firmly that you aren’t interested in seeing each other anymore. Be polite even if they aren’t; remember that dating is a two-way street and people can behave badly for many reasons. If your date does end up behaving poorly, it doesn’t mean that dating isn’t right for you. It just means that maybe dating isn’t right for them! Dating isn’t easy—but it doesn’t have to be hard either. Just follow these tips and hopefully you’ll find yourself dating happily ever after!(7 First Time Online Dating Tips That Actually Work)