Online dating has become the default way to find a mate. Usage of online dating sites, like PlentyOfFish, OK Cupid, and Match.com, has tripled since 2013 among young people, but even more explosive has been the growth of phone apps dedicated to dating, including Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel, which are now among the most popular applications of any kind. Across the developed world, people are swiping their way toward love. But online dating is a complicated and tricky thing, and it’s not easy to jump into if you’re new to e-romance. Here are a few gentle suggestions for getting the most out of online and app-based dating.
1. Complete Your Profile
One unfortunate thing about online dating is that sites and apps are filled with bots, fake profiles used to scam people for information or money. Anyone who’s been online dating for a while is aware of this and will be wary of bots, meaning they might ignore you or distrust you if your profile isn’t completed. Even if it’s apparent that you’re not a bot, leaving your profile empty demonstrates that your heart isn’t really in it, warning your potential partner that you’re only minimally invested in dating. Take the time to fill out your profile all the way and answer any questions the app asks you.
2. Represent Yourself Honestly, But Positively
People’s online dating profiles often fall into two categories: too honest, or not honest enough. The former includes people whose “About Me” section describes how much they’ve been hurt in the past, how lonely they are, or how distrustful they are of the opposite sex; it’s a red flag for potential mates, because believe it or not, sympathy isn’t exactly a turn on. The latter includes people who post photoshopped or outdated pictures of themselves, brag about a job they don’t really have, or misrepresent their interest in a long-term relationship. Don’t be either of these people! Be honest about your situation and your intentions, but don’t be gloomy or stuck in the past—or if you are, suppress it long enough to fill out your information.
3. Post Multiple Pictures
Another thing that warns people off is a profile with only one picture. Along with being an indication that you might be a bot, it’s also just not enough for anyone to really determine what you look like, so even if they like the picture you choose, they might not reach out because they think you’re concealing something. Choose a few current pictures that capture you looking your best, especially if they capture you doing something you’re interested in, like hiking or playing an instrument.
4. Choose A Good Opener
The first thing you say when reaching out to a match can spark a mutual interest or immediately ruin any chance of you two connecting, so choose your words wisely. A canned pick-up line isn’t usually a good idea, but if you can tell from someone’s profile that they have an ironic sense of humor, it might work if the line is cheesy enough to elicit a groan. One way to get your message immediately deleted or never opened is to just say “Hey.” This is one of the most common complaints that women, in particular, have about online dating; men think that merely making contact is enough to get the ball rolling. Instead, check out the person’s profile, find something interesting about them, and reference that in your initial message.
Don’t be frightened by the world of digital dating! It may seem like there are a lot of rules and unspoken social codes to follow, but if you’re open, genuine, and put some work into your profile, you’ll be matching in no time.