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With 40 million Americans now using online dating services, the chances of finding love online are higher than ever. However, to make the most of this, you need to know how to play the game, which is where our online dating tips can help.
In order to help you along, EliteSingles has created the ultimate guide to online dating, which will ease you through the different stages of looking for love in the digital world. We asked EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine if she had any tips for online dating, especially when it comes to those who are new to the experience.
Online dating tips: the nine-step guide
1. Make sure you are ready to start dating
Chances are that if you’re looking for online dating tips, you’re serious about turning your search into an online dating success. Whether you’re searching for your first real relationship or have recently separated from a partner, though, it is important that you are really open and ready to meet somebody new. EliteSingles Psychologist Salama Marine says that ‘dating online is like dating in real life. If you’re not ready to date someone, just don’t do it. It’s better to feel completely ready and confident enough to meet someone who can complete you.’ Make sure you are open and committed to finding a long term relationship and in turn you could meet someone really great.
- Finding it hard to get over your ex? Dating expert Dr Jane Greer shows you how
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2. Find the best dating site for you
Choosing the right dating site takes time and research – you want to find something that caters to your needs and desires. Salama suggests, ‘I really recommend, especially for seniors, not to use free websites. First of all, scammers tend to target older users who are perhaps not as internet-savvy; therefore it’s best to avoid this. Also, when you look for a website, don’t be lazy and ensure you thoroughly check the terms and privacy: does the website guarantee complete privacy of your messages and photos? If so, you’ll have the reassurance that people on the dating website are really there to meet someone, just like you.’
Once you have this reassurance and have chosen a dating site that suits your requirements, you are ready to get started. At EliteSingles, for example, every profile is reviewed by a member of staff before it is accepted to the site and users suspected of fraud or otherwise are proactively removed from the site. We ensure that everyone on the site is there for the right reasons to improve your chances of finding love.
- Do you have more questions about EliteSingles? Why choose us?
- What kind of people use our site? Find out here
3. Take advantage of online personality tests and intelligent matchmaking
It’s a shame not every dating website or app takes the time to truly get to know you and help you in your online dating journey. That’s why, at EliteSingles, we are dedicated to matching like-minded American singles with long-term compatibility in mind. As a result, our extensive personality test contains over 200 questions in order to create a comprehensive and accurate profile of you. The questions are based on the psychological Five Factor Model developed by Robert McCrae and Paul Costa and calculate your levels of neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness. These factors are then used to match members with similar traits in order to create the best chance of forming a long-term connection. We want to unite American singles who both complement and enhance one another, and we are able to do so effectively by using this system.
- Want specifics about how the personality test works? Find them here
- Curious about our partner suggestion criteria? Learn about EliteSingles matchmaking
4. Create a good online dating profile
One of the most important tips for online dating is knowing how to create a good profile. It’s important to have a profile that illustrates your positive qualities without seeming like you’re showing off. On your EliteSingles profile, for example, the first question asks you to describe yourself, followed by what your potential partner should know about you. These answers can instantly attract someone to your profile, but avoidable mistakes can easily deter potential matches, so it’s important to get it right!
Salama advises, ‘On your description, think about exactly why you chose to register. What kind of person do you want to meet? And what kind of relationship are you looking for? What are your values? But be careful, don’t say too much; this could break the mystery and, online or not, it’s important to keep some in the seduction game.’ It is important for you yourself to identify what exactly you’re looking for in a relationship and display it on your profile. But as Salama suggests it is also beneficial to maintain an air of mystery, just like in the offline dating world. Leave people wanting to discover more about you.
- Got writer’s block? Click here for more tips on how to create a captivating profile
- A psychologist’s perspective – Learn more about Salama Marine
5. Put up the perfect profile photo
According to a survey of EliteSingles members about online dating profiles, a shocking 52 percent said they wouldn’t even open a profile without a profile picture. So in short, perhaps the most important tip you can take from this guide to online dating is to include at least one photo of yourself. Tempting as it may be to use an old photo, don’t do it – it will only do you a disservice in the long run. It’s a good idea to take a full head and shoulders photo, preferably outside as natural light tends to be more flattering. Get your friends or family to help you with it and let your picture illustrate the real you. Professional freelance photographer, Toby Aiken, recommends taking a photo somewhere where you feel at ease – if you are relaxed and comfortable this will come across in the picture which is much more attractive. Then your potential partners will know what you’re really like, thus allowing room for a genuine, honest relationship to blossom.
Want more tips about what your profile picture says about you? Follow these 6 steps!
6. Make a great introduction with your first message
When it comes to online dating, the first message can be a deal breaker. It can be difficult to craft an engaging text that’s flirty yet appropriate and leaves an impression on the recipient. Avoid copying and pasting messages – our members tell us it’s obvious and a huge turn-off. Poor spelling is equally frowned upon – read it over before you click send! So what’s the best way to get the conversation going with your first message? Find something in their profile you both share and talk about that. This not only helps you establish your shared interests but also demonstrates that you have actually read their profile and paid attention to their hobbies.
- Want put a sense of fun into your messages? Here are our tips for flirting online
- So you’ve found someone who’s giving you butterflies, what next? Prepare for the first date here
7. Take your time!
There’s no rush to meet potential partners instantly. Building trust and a rapport with someone takes time, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking it slow. Exchange a good amount of messages and really get to know each other online before you meet offline. Salama also emphasizes; ‘Don’t be discouraged. It’s pretty rare to meet the perfect person instantly, and that’s for the best! You can improve your seduction skills and also get to know more about what it is exactly that you want. Maybe something will come to light that you didn’t realize before.’ And maybe you’ll find that trying to force a flower to bloom will kill that flower, so remember, patience pays off in the end.
- Want to try a date that’s a bit different? Here are our favorite date ideas
- Worried that you’re not doing it right? Here are the online dating rules that you can ignore!
8. Prepare for the first date
When you’ve formed a connection with someone online and you’re preparing for the all-important first date offline, the key is to keep it simple. Meet for a coffee or a walk in the park so that you have a chance to really talk and get to know one another. This way you can establish if there’s chemistry between you – if you feel like you’ve clicked online, then most likely you’ll click in person too! Salama Marine advises: ‘Focus on the future, not the past: no one likes to hear about an ex on a first date, right?’ Try not to compare your date to previous partners and allow yourself to be open to something and someone new. One of the best online dating tips then is to keep the past in the past.
- Want to keep the conversation flowing? Try our first date questions
- If things go very well, Here’s how to build a stronger relationship
9. And finally…Don’t lose motivation
Unfortunately, finding love at first sight is rare, and some people might experience a few bad dates before they meet their dream partner. Don’t be disheartened if you’re on a first date and you know the person sat opposite you is not the one. Try to make the most of the experience and learn from it. Just because you are both compatible in some things doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect for each other, and sometimes it’s best to move on to someone new. We all have to kiss a few frogs before we meet our prince or princess and you never know what’s around the corner.
About Salama Marine:
Salama Marine trained at the Paris College of Psychological Practitioners, and is now a registered Psychologist helping people with their interpersonal relationships in the realm of love, sex, and marriage. She has worked extensively within the online dating industry, and provides consultation to those wishing to connect with like-minded partners online.
EliteSingles Members survey ‘Online dating profiles’ 2014
Salama Marine BBC interview about online dating 2015