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How to Get Started With Online Dating

Gabrielle Applebury
Couple on a date

Online dating can be a great way to meet potential partners, but it can be a bit overwhelming to get started. Finding the right site that fits your needs and knowing how to communicate effectively with other users can make online dating a breeze.

Jumping Into Online Dating

Online dating can be somewhat intimidating at first. There are a ton of site options, and each site has its own pricing package with different perks, website tools, and target demographics. Amy Z., who was nervous about online dating at first, said, "Don't knock it until you try it." She is set to marry her fiance at the end of the year who she met on Bumble. Before checking out a site think about:

  • How much you are willing to pay on a monthly basis
  • Which tools are the most important to you (online chatting, picture sharing)
  • How you want to set up your profile
  • Whether you want to take a personality quiz beforehand
  • What sort of website rules and protective measures are important to you
  • What you want your profile page to look like
  • If you'd prefer to join a larger network, or smaller more specific site
  • What type of relationship you're looking for

Selecting a Site

There are around 8,000 online dating sites worldwide, which can make finding the perfect site even trickier. If your friends have used certain dating apps or sites, ask about their impression of them.

Try Several at Once

A great way to figure out which site will work best for you is to sign up for a few sites at once and utilize their free tools. Spend some time perusing, and when you've found one that seems to fit your needs, you can consider paying for a subscription so you can unlock helpful tools. You can also ditch the other sites once you've found one that you really like, as joining a bunch of sites at once can be very overwhelming and hard to keep up with.

How to Pick the Right Site

You'll know a site works for you if:

  • You find the site easy to use and intuitive.
  • You like how profiles are set up.
  • You're comfortable using the online chat tools.
  • You have the ability to block or report inappropriate users easily.
  • You see other users who share your interests also on the site.

What You Can Expect

Sites have more or less popularity in certain geographical areas. "It's a numbers game," said Erika D., so download sites that other users in your area are also on. This ensures you will meet someone who actually lives near you, instead of potentially beginning a long distance relationship.

Get the Most Out of the Site

Erika D. also notes that online dating has a lot to do with effort saying," You can't expect to get much out of it if you don't put anything into it." With that in mind:

  • Use your profile to portray who you are and ask friends and family to take a peak at it.
  • Expect to feel overwhelmed, excited, annoyed, and frustrated possibly all at once - starting to date can feel like a whirlwind.
  • You may get inundated with messages and matches and not know where or how to start- if that happens, allot yourself 10 minutes every day and respond to people who interest you the most.

How to Make a Good Impression

Woman laughing at text message

Even though it can be more difficult to connect online than in person, try to be as genuine as possible.

  • Show off your funny or sarcastic side if that's typical for you.
  • Try to keep conversations pretty equal in terms of sharing. If you feel like they are asking a bunch of getting to know you questions, respond while taking interest in learning more about them.
  • If you're shy or nervous, remember that people generally like answering questions about themselves, so feel free to direct the conversation to more about them until you feel more comfortable.

What Not to Do

Try not to change anything fundamental about your personality to fit in or get someone to like you more. It is best to try to connect with those that get who you are and like you for it. Try not to be hard on yourself and have fun getting to know the people who are interested in you. Don't spread yourself too thin in terms of responding to a larger amount of people. Try to focus in on the people who you feel the most drawn to.

Enjoying Online Dating

Whether you are looking for a casual relationship or marriage material, online dating can be a great way to meet like-minded people. Start off slowly, and have fun getting to know other users.

How to Get Started With Online Dating