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10 Simple Steps to Help You Navigate Online Dating

Online dating doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds, trust me! You just have to know how to navigate this rather interesting landscape to make it worth your while.

I mean c’mon, online dating is extremely popular in 2021. Many people that I know have met their partners through an online platform (cough cough, me included). I think at one time there was a negative tone when someone mentioned they were online dating, but not so much anymore.

Practically everyone has met someone online because let’s face it. It’s not always easy to meet someone in person, ha!

The truth is that for many women and men, the people they meet in person may not be “the person” for them. I’ve been on several first dates with different types of people but have only really felt the most at home when I met my now partner. I think that goes to show you how unpredictable life and dating can be.

So before we get into it, I hope to change your mind if you feel hesitant to start online dating. Because it is truly what you make it and I hope to help make it a wonderful experience for you.

Also, let’s be real. Online dating isn’t new. Online dating companies and apps have existed for well over 25 years. Yep, you’ve heard me correctly.

Match launched in 1995 which means that people have been looking for a partner or someone to date online for quite some time. The only difference in 2021 is that online dating can be overwhelming with all of the platforms out there to choose from.

So it can be extremely overwhelming to start online dating if you are unsure of where to start. It can also feel like you are wasting so much time trying to find someone even worth the time you’re dedicating to being on the platform.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

It will also definitely feel like a waste of time if you’re not showing up as your best self or prepared enough to actually meet people. Like anything you do, online dating requires some intentionality. If you want to meet someone, you have to act like it!

So using my past experiences and the experiences of those I know who have had great success with online dating, I have gathered 10 simple tips to help you navigate online dating with ease.

These tips aren’t meant to be an end all, be all. You can follow these tips and still not meet someone you want to seriously pursue. But hopefully this improves the quality of your experience and makes online dating way less daunting. So good luck and here’s to meeting your person!

Figure Out What You Want

First things first. You can’t really navigate online dating correctly without knowing what you want to get out of it. You need to know what your end goal is ideally. Purpose is everything.

What I mean is that you should have some idea about what you’re looking for. Are you looking to date and hope it leads to a relationship? Or do you want to socially date and just have fun, nothing too serious?

Do you simply want to make friends? Because I’ve definitely seen people on dating apps say they just want to make friends. How truthful they are being about their intentions? I can’t say….

But at least they said it and put it out there! This saves so much time and makes it easier for people with like-minded intentions to connect versus trying to figure it out later down the line. You know, like after you catch feelings.

So be real with yourself about what you’re looking for and be prepared to offer it if someone asks. It will save you a lot of time and help you swiftly remove matches that don’t fit what you want.

Stick To One App

There are so many dating apps out there that I know for a fact I can’t name them all. But the popular ones that immediately stand out are:

Again, I’m sure there are many more but these are the ones I hear of the most, especially for millennial women.

The reason why it’s important to stick to one app at a time is because there are SO many people on each app. Some people are dating on multiple apps which is a waste of time. Because you may wind up swiping left on someone you aren’t interested in more than once. And it will get annoying after it happens a few times!

This takes time away from meeting potential matches and seeing new faces. It’s also overwhelming to manage your profile, conversations and much more across multiple platforms.

Find one that works for you the best and stick with it for a little bit. You can then re-assess and try a different app if you are finding little to no success.

I personally recommend Hinge seeing as I met my life partner on it 🙂 Plus I liked that it didn’t require a basic profile setup. You can add weird and interesting facts which made it way easier to start a conversation!

Have A Solid Profile

This one sounds pretty straight-forward but a lot of people shoot themselves in the foot by not building a solid profile from the gate.

You shouldn’t be leaving a lot of fields blank or not going into any detail about who you are. You don’t have to tell the world your deepest and darkest secrets, but you do want people to know a little bit about you so they can decide if you’re a fit for them. Just as much as you want to know if they are a fit for you!

Don’t be afraid to answer any platform’s questions that can help you and the tool, find you a good match. Isn’t that the whole point of online dating anyway?

Just be sure not to go overboard. You don’t have to write an essay about who you are or the things you like to do, but be open and share things to help paint the picture you want people to see when they see you.

Reach out First

I know a lot of women who completely and utterly refuse to reach out first, which is totally fine. Everyone should only do what they feel comfortable with.

HOWEVER, I think that puts you at a disadvantage if you’re never willing to reach out first.

I think it’s human nature to appreciate being pursued, whether you are a man or woman. We all like knowing someone wants us or wants to talk to us. I don’t care who you are!

Some people, like men, will like that a woman spoke up first. It doesn’t mean they are less interested than you are, it simply means you spoke first (we’ve got to stop overthinking these things, seriously!)

Again, you don’t have to reach out first to every person or match you come across while you’re online dating, but don’t feel discouraged to do so! It’s perfectly okay to reach out first and strike up a conversation. Where it goes from there is entirely up to the both of you.

Ask Lots of Questions

I absolutely hate having a dry conversation and that’s usually what happens when people don’t ask enough questions. It gets so annoying and irritating, fast!

To avoid having dry or quickly-ending conversations, try to ask a lot of questions. The point of online dating, no matter your intention I discussed earlier, you are ultimately trying to get to know someone. Questions are a natural way to do so.

But you don’t want to drill anyone either. It should be a back and forth conversation with you both answering questions, providing additional insight and maybe a follow-up question. It should flow somewhat naturally!

Also, ask important questions about who they are. You want to know about their qualities, what they bring to the table. You want to know if you will get along with them and want to talk to them, meet them, etc.

Online dating is not and should not be a one-way street. You both have to be a match for each other in order for this to work!

Don’t Give One-Word Answers

This goes with my point above. You should want to avoid dry or boring conversations! They don’t help you get to know anyone and is just a waste of your time, and theirs. Make sure you aren’t contributing to a boring conversation by giving one-word answers to every question.

Answering every question with a yes/ no answer and not offering anything back is…..annoying and boring! That person will almost always move on without much effort because it obviously feels like you aren’t putting in much effort either.

If a question is asked which doesn’t require much of an answer, that is fine. Use that as an opportunity to follow up and ask a question yourself.

Or you can try to elaborate on your answers. Provide examples, experiences, something to show that you are human and have something to share. Because trust me, you do!

Also, giving someone a lot of one-word answers can make them feel like you aren’t interested. No one, including you, would want to drag information out of someone. Keep that in mind and respect the time you both are putting in to have a conversation, period.

Use A Variety of Photos

When I was online dating, I hated seeing profiles that either only had one lousy picture, or a bunch of pictures where I couldn’t actually see the person. Both didn’t give me a good enough picture to deem them attractive, or not, so I usually passed altogether.

People want to see the real you so they can see if you’re a fit for them and vice versa. I’m not saying physical attraction is everything, because it definitely isn’t, but I would be lying if i said it wasn’t a factor in online dating.

How you look is normal tied to peoples’ first impression of you. Show them your best!

Try to have different type of photos that show your face, like a cute selfie or a picture in a group where someone else takes the photo. I think photos are a lovely way to capture both our physical beauty. You should use that to your advantage.

This means using photos that show you being happy or smiling. It shows you in a positive and welcoming light which is perfect for online dating because you don’t know this person in real life, yet.

Also use different photos. Don’t use 5 photos with filters, or 3 selfies up close. Diversify your photos and use different ones so they can see the full picture that is you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About Their Intentions

I am all about being intentional, which I mentioned in my first step. But don’t be afraid to be clear about their intentions too.

A lot of people forget that online dating goes both ways. It isn’t just about you, but the people you will be interacting with. You should know your intentions, but you also shouldn’t be too afraid to ask what their intentions are either. It doesn’t have to be a super serious conversation, but I do think it should be had.

You want to make sure that the person you are engaging with shares the same qualities with you, but also the same intentions. Other wise, what the heck are you doing?

I remember one time when I was online dating, I was having a decent conversation with a guy and thought we would meet up one day. Like go on actual dates. Well I didn’t ask the guy’s intention before he started sharing and asking explicit details that was not okay for me.

He wasn’t looking to date. Let’s just say he wanted to do the do, and go the go.

Nothing wrong with that at all, but it wasn’t what I wanted. So i wished him luck and went on my way.

My point is, as women it can be hard to stand up for what we want. But you should be confident in asking someone’s intentions. All that does is ensure you both are on the same page before you dive in too deep.

Get Comfortable Before Meeting

I am firm believer that both parties should be comfortable before they decide on meeting up. This one is so important for a solid, fun and lasting first date!

A lot of people out there swear that meeting quickly after the first or second conversation is needed but I completely disagree. I am an awkward kind of gal and the idea of meeting someone who I know absolutely nothing about, scares the crap out of me.

I’m not saying I need to know everything before date #1 (that would be impossible), but I should be able to know your first and last name. I should know some of the things you like, your background and if we have any type of rapport.

Yes, rapport.

It’s the same thing that you look for when you make a new friend. It’s the same thing when you’re interviewing for a job and want to see if you’re vibing with the interviewer. That’s what you should look for before meeting!

Take a few days to have some conversations with the person. Maybe after conversation #3 you realize they aren’t for you for whatever reason. Now you saved yourself the trouble and energy to go meet in person only then to realize it.

And while you can’t predict everything, my point is to just make sure you’re comfortable. Comfort levels will vary by person, but don’t let anyone bully you into meeting or hanging out before you’re ready. You take care of you and your feelings first.

Stay Diligent & Stay Safe

In all honesty, online dating is a fun experience and is a great way to meet potential mates. But you still have to be mindful and intentional about protecting your self and your safety.

So make sure to not divulge personal details like your personal phone number (before you’re ready, and even then be careful), home address, etc. If things don’t work out, you want to be able to easily break away from this person!

I also would advise against driving together for the first date. Save that for down the line when you’ve established more of a solid relationship or built up some trust (or verifying information like a crazy person. My partner admits to googling me before our first date!)

You don’t want someone you barely know, knowing where you live. It sounds scary but there are people out there that don’t have your best interest at heart. You have to stay sharp.

Instead, opt to meet in a public location with lots of witnesses (sorry, I watch lots of Law & Order SVU LOL) and make sure you have travel arrangements ahead of time to leave on your own.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can share your location via GPS on your cell with a friend or family member. My girls and I have did this on dates just in case things go wrong or we need to make a quick exit. That way someone close to me knows where I am and who I’m with. Rather be safe than sorry.

I know it may sound extreme, but online dating is not much different than meeting someone on the street. You wouldn’t invite someone on the corner back to your house, right? Don’t forget that in the name of online dating either.

So these are my 10 steps to navigating online dating! I hope these can help you have fun and find what you’re looking for, whatever that may be!

Do you have any fun or interesting dating stories to share from your online dating experience?!

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