Online Dating: Getting Started

If you are single, you may find that the opportunities for meeting new people to date or form an intimate relationship with, become fewer as life goes on. You may have toyed with the idea of Online Dating, but find the whole thing a little intimidating. You are not alone!

That said, there are literally tens of thousands of people who have got over their initial fears and concerns and are regularly having dates and forming relationships as a result. These people develop a degree mastery of the online dating scene, probably because they took time to figure it out instead of frightening themselves about all the things they imagine could go wrong.

Fear and Embarassment

If you suffer from this, you really need to get over it.

I am amazed at how many people (particularly the over 40s) who get the idea that somehow it is a shameful thing to be on a Dating site, and they are worried that all their friends and colleagues will see their profile. The fact is that most of their friends and colleagues aren’t online, and those who are don’t care that much.

In any case, a significant milestone in your personal development is to stop giving people free rent space in your head. You have not come into this world to meet other people’s expectations, and you need to live life according to your own standards. As long as you aren’t doing anyone any harm, forget about what others might think, or choose to take a benevolent view that they might think, “Good for you”

Don’t forget some online dating sites connect groups of individuals to communicate with one another for friendships. It’s more than just a one on one romantic connection – many solid friendships are made on Internet dating sites today! You might find a friend to meet for lunch or a walk occasionally, or you could find a life partner, or anything in between!

Do Online Dating sites find you a match?

An online dating site is not a matchmaking service, although some do attempt to create a rough match. What it is, is a place where you can make connections via the computer. And sometimes that evolves into an emailing, texting , phone or in-person meeting, if everything goes smoothly initially. So there is ample opportunity to interact before you actually meet up.

Most online dating sites have some semblance of free service available, but you really can’t participate to any real degree unless you give it a test drive and become an official member. Judging from clients I know who have used Dating sites, they report a much better experience from using paid sites.

 What information do you need to give?

What information are they going to want to know? Well here’s a sample list – but keep in mind that you often retain control over what you share and what details you choose to give out.

  •  Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Hobbies
  • Salary
  • Body type
  • Race

Many people leave out certain profile items that they don’t want to disclose – like salary, for example. Or maybe body shape – those are all optional for you to fill in on most sites. The reason these criteria are listed is so that the computer system can easily match up people who fit your needs and the needs of others. For example, perhaps your age bracket is strictly listed as hoping to meet someone who is 30-45. If you’ve chosen this, then it wouldn’t present you with anyone over age 45.

Features of Dating Sites

Each site allows you to include a profile picture. Some people stress unnecessarily about this. Online dating has become a spot for people to weed out the individuals whose entire personalities don’t match theirs – and believe it or not, looks are often not the #1 priority! An online dating site doesn’t just have profiles with an email contact system, either. It includes features which members can use, like chat rooms, web cam hang outs, and even message boards where you can post questions and help others who are just learning to navigate the process of online dating.

Most dating sites provide a range of free services designed to entice you to sign up. But that’s ok, It is a service after all. For example, you can post a profile. But when someone contacts you on the site, you have to sign up as a member to able to read or reply to the message.

Decide ahead of time what type of online dating site you’re seeking. Do you want one that encompasses all levels of connections – from friendships to lifetime partners? Or are you looking for a fast hookup with someone and don’t care if it develops into something more?

If you haven’t been dating for a while, it may be best to stick to coffee dates on weekend afternoons, just to start feeling comfortable with dating again

Signing up to a Dating site

 When we are young and at school, college or university, we have a natural social circle, but later in life, espescially if we also have moved away from our home ground, it becomes a little more difficult. The worst seems to be if you have been in a long term relationship or marriage, and you have been right out of the single scene.You can spend many nights alone, wishing you had someone to talk to. It can be quite boring to go to a bar on your own, and particularly if you have outgrown hanging out in bars or nightclubs.

Workplaces are good for meeting people – but not always – and you really can’t rely on friends and family to set you up with blind dates time and time again. So that leaves online dating sites as the most reliable method for helping you make the most important connection of your life. It most definitely is the way to go in the 21st Century!

 Not All Dating Sites Are Created Equally

Never, ever just join a dating site that you see in some random ad. You want honest recommendations. Sites are created differently – and some have more stable reputations than others. You want real reviews by members who have had a great experience using the site. The most popular seem to be Match.com and Eharmony.com. Ask amongst your friends and colleagues to get first hand feedback

 What Does Online Dating Cost?

Initially, you can sign up as a free user of most Internet dating site. It won’t open you up to all of the features, but it’ll get you closer to your goals and will give you an opportunity to explore and check out how it all works. I sugest that you sign up as a free member at several sites and then decide which one seems like the kind of dating site you’d most prefer to use.  As a free user, you might be able to browse profiles, but not initiate contact, or it might be more restrictive to seeing profile pictures only.

How Is a Connection Made to Someone?

The dating sites offer a two-way street. You can contact others, or wait to be contacted by someone else! The system will do its part by running your interests and preferences through the system, sending you matches it finds in the process. Once you get the list, you can go through and whittle down the list to those you feel have potential. Then you might send out an introductory email to see if there’s a mutual interest.

What’s the Best Way to Make a Profile?

In my next post I will explain to you how to make an amazing profile, but for now, why not sign up for a free profile on a few sites and add your photo and basic information. It’s not advisable to be extremely detailed with your profile information until you connect with someone who you want to know. Feel free to list hobbies and interests, because this is where initial connections are made.

Tasks to get you started

Take out a piece of paper (or do this on your computer). Write down the following and answer the questions:

1. By joining an online dating site, I hope to _____________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

2. For communication with others, I want to use the following (check all that apply): ___ Email ___ Site/Online Chat ___ Phone ___ Web Cam Hang Out ___ In person meeting

3. I want to find (check all that applies): ___ friendship ___ companionship ___ long term relationship

 

Those three questions will help you determine a path for your online dating journey so that you stick to meeting your goals and don’t get sidetracked with something you really don’t want for yourself.

Watch out for the next post when I shall give you some tips on writing a profile to attract the kind of date you want!

Live, Love, Laugh and Be Happy,

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Grace

 

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