Online dating has been a thing for a long time. And it’s getting to be a bigger thing by the day! Studies indicate that the number of couples who meet online has nearly doubled since 2009. Online dating offers more diversity and expands your dating universe beyond your neighborhood and workplace. It’s getting easier, too. The number of dating sites has grown as more people accept online as a norm.
With thousands of sites out there, how do you know which is the best online dating for you? All online dating services use matchmaking software to connect you with potential dating partners. Typically these services ask you to complete a survey that probes your attitudes and preferences. Sites that employ the most comprehensive surveys are—at least theoretically—better equipped to find you a suitable match. So put those extra-curious sites on the top of your list as you explore the many options.
But you have to put in some work, too. Just like in the “real” dating world, online dating can be a competitive sport! Building an online dating profile that expresses your unique personality and presents you in a positive light is absolutely essential.
Many publications and dating sites offer guidance on how to do that. Professional photographers have developed a sub-specialty in creating portraits for online dating profiles. Even old-fashioned matchmakers have expanded their services to include helping you create an attractive profile.
While many singles appreciate the range of choices online dating services offer, others prefer to narrow their scope—and increase the likelihood of finding the perfect partner—by using sites that are geared to their particular dating requirements. You’ll find sites that specialize in connecting farmers and other rural residents. Sites for cat lovers, tall people, allergy-prone daters, marijuana users, and even Trekkies. Niche marketing is alive and well in the online dating realm.
Even if you think of yourself as the consummate dater, the online dating world has its own set of rules. Some of these apply to the new etiquette of social media. How long should you wait before responding to someone who reaches out to you? Are there certain conversations you should avoid? Is it okay to break up with someone online?
But there are also important safety precautions you should take. Some amount to common sense. Use your own car or take public transit when meeting your date in person until you truly trust his or her character, for example. Other rules protect your privacy and prevent ongoing, unwanted attention from someone who just doesn’t float your boat. Don’t share too much information or give out your phone number too quickly. And while dating can often mean meeting up for a drink, stay sober. You might not always be in control of your feelings, but you should always be in control of your body.
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