Online dating can be both liberating (so many potential suitors!) and frustrating (so many dead ends!). How to date online doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, but certain hacks can help you make the most of your matches. Don’t get bogged down with the old-fashioned dating tips for women – online dating is a whole new world.
10 Tried-and-True Online Dating Tips
Figure Out What You Want
People use dating apps for many different reasons, and sometimes they don’t align. Save yourself time and heartache by taking an internal assessment of what kind of connection you’re looking for before you begin. It’s usually not worth getting invested in someone who’s not in the same commitment zone as you are. Feel free to be direct, and say something like, “It seems like we’re looking for different things on here, but best of luck!” and end the connection.
Take Good Photos
Your photos make a huge impression. Over half of online dating users said they wouldn’t consider matching with a no-photos profile. According to data from Bumble and Tinder, smiling pictures get more right-swipes than smoldering stares, so aim to make your first photo-friendly and approachable. It should also be only you, without friends or family members. Finally, if you’re looking for a secret weapon, try wearing red. Color studies show that men tend to find women more attractive when photographed alongside the color red.
While your first picture is the most important, it shouldn’t be the only one you share – around four is the golden number. Try including a variety of shots, including some full-body snaps and candids. Remember, your photos are an opportunity to showcase your personality, as well as your looks.
Dating advice for women is a minefield, and getting through it unscathed can be a real challenge. For years, women have been inundated with damaging messaging about what they need to change or fix about themselves. But according to psychology experts (as well as common sense), it’s better just to be yourself. If you have a great sense of humor, try out a joke in your bio or first message. If you’re highly driven, show off your ambition from the start. Being who you are is the best way to attract a match that lasts.
Forget Your Type
How to start dating “the one”? According to advice from women who met their now-husbands online, don’t get caught up in what you think he should look like. Dating online is a low-stakes opportunity to match with many new kinds of people. If they share your interests and values, it might be worth it to give them a chance.
Don’t Linger on the Screen Too Long
The best way to know if an online connection can turn into something real is to meet offline. 65% of online daters report wanting to meet someone after about a week and say that a connection can fizzle after around 23 days of online-only communication. If you’re looking to dip your toes in first, a phone call can be an excellent way to assess your chemistry without committing to meeting in person. You can also easily register for a different phone number to preserve your privacy when you first move a match off the app.
Remember, a first date should always be in a public place. Friends should know the details for safety. Be wary of two common signs of online scam artists – wanting to move the relationship offline immediately or never at all. Both of these likely indicate they’re looking for something other than romance.
Make the First Meeting Low-Key
Getting coffee is one of the most popular first dates for a reason: it’s inexpensive, quick, and easy to plan. If getting coffee or a drink at a bar isn’t your style, consider other non-committal options in public places that can give you a chance to get to know your date. Meeting up for a walk in a neighborhood park or garden is a romantic choice, or else try visiting a bookshop or getting ice cream together.
Have an Exit Strategy
Unless you’re looking for an opportunity to flex your improv skills, it’s best to plan your exit strategy beforehand. Experts recommend “double-booking” yourself on a date. Tell them you have another event immediately afterward, like a birthday party or dinner plans to get to. You can always “cancel” those plans if you find the date is going well enough to extend it.
Don’t Stress the Sparks
If there’s been a buildup online before an in-person date, it can be easy to get in your head about it and miss out on the actual experience. To manage pre-first date jitters, try taking a soothing bath or listening to a favorite playlist while you get ready.
If They Don’t Reach Out, Don’t Bother
If they want to find time, they will. If he stops responding, doesn’t reach out after a date, or follows up after weeks of silence with “I’ve been busy” and no other details, don’t be afraid to move on. You deserve someone genuinely excited to spend time with you.
A 2019 study shows that the longer you spend swiping, the more likely you are to sink into a “rejection mindset,” passing up possible matches because you feel discouraged. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to set limits on when and how often you online date. Setting aside around 15 minutes of dedicated time is more effective than swiping aimlessly for hours. And if you’re feeling sparks with someone, try taking a break from online dating to see how this new relationship goes.
How to online date doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, but if you feel safe, secure, sexy, and are having fun, then you’re likely doing it right. Just remember to take precautions to protect yourself and your privacy, and pat yourself on the back for putting yourself out there!