Dating has never been a straightforward process. In fact, it could get easily complicated, depending on which factors we consciously or unconsciously allow to intervene. While the latter steps – connecting with someone on a more personal level, building a great foundation of a relationship, nurturing whatever you two have – are equally challenging, the initial one – to meet someone – requires the most time, effort, and energy. Most singles keep on failing this first step that they haven’t even experienced and enjoyed the other aspects of being in a relationship. After all, dating serves as the gateway to the possibility of lifetime happiness with someone.
The digital age has brought and introduced several innovations – one of which is online dating. Like anything being introduced that’s a bit different from the traditional ways, online dating has its fair share of pros and cons. There’s no definite black-and-white online dating guide or manual, and depending on which perspective you’re looking from, this could be a good or a bad thing. The good thing is, there are several proven-to-be effective etiquettes and precautionary measures you can take to mitigate risks while enjoying the journey. We’ll be sharing with you here some tips for online dating.
What is Considered Online Dating?
Before you even delve into details on how to start online dating or how to successfully date in the virtual world, let’s first understand what exactly this is.
As its name implies, online dating – or also referred to as internet dating – refers to the act of surfing the internet for the sole purpose of meeting someone and, hopefully, building a relationship with them. Unlike traditional dating wherein individuals usually get attracted to physical looks first before they make a move, online dating usually starts with common interests and hobbies. Such factors shape the connection and nurture the bond until the relationship is leveled up or toned down, depending on how the first face-to-face contact goes.
In most cases, a dating app is used to administer online dating. There is, however, great diversity and several creative ways of accomplishing internet dating. After all, as its name implies, virtual dating could mean dating in the virtual world regardless of which digital platform is used.
- Through Dating Services – Online services that are programmed with algorithms and features that are specifically meant for smart and intuitive match-making. Since you have a proven-to-be-effective system on your side, you’re more likely to succeed if you utilize an online dating app. This is especially true if you’re wise enough in choosing the dating service provider that could best cater to your needs and preferences.
- Through Social Media Sites – There are also successful friends-turned-date-turned-partners on social media sites. After all, these digital platforms also aim to connect users around the world to virtually socialize, expand social networks, and yes, also find life partners.
- Through Other Digital Platforms – Other digital venues like gaming platforms, standalone instant messaging apps, streaming websites, online forums could all be means to date online. Any platform that offers a way to communicate with other users could foster virtual dating.
How to Find Safe Online Dating Sites
As aforementioned, the best route on how to date online successfully is through the use of reliable and efficient online dating sites. Sure, social media apps could also serve similar purposes, but unlike dating services, these aren’t specifically or solely programmed for dating.
Hence, if you’re looking at how to start dating, you might want to start by looking for dating sites worth your time, effort, and money (for exclusive apps that require membership/subscription fees). Since there’s quite a number of such platforms in the market today, be sure to be thorough and keen in selecting which one/s to see. Take into consideration not only the possible success of your dating journey but also the safety and security of your overall experience.
Here are some important factors you might want to consider when choosing which online dating platform to use.
- Special Focus; Target Audience
If you have a specific set of standards or qualifications, it’s best to check out what a platform specializes in. Most dating apps choose to narrow down the audience they cater to for more targeted and effective services. If you’re into voluptuous plus-size women, per se, you might want to check out sites that specifically foster such members.
- Algorithms Used; Features Offered
Most online dating apps utilize the swipe feature – swipe right/up when they come across a profile that picks their interest or swipe left /down if they think the user is a bit out of their league. There are, however, innovative apps that showcase unique ways of initiating conversations – you might want to explore those. Also, if you’re not a fan of LDR (long-distance relationships), choose one that uses geo-based match-making algorithms.
- App Accessibility; Interface Convenience
Like any other mobile app, the ease of access significantly affects the overall experience. So, select one that has a user-friendly interface.
- Price Tag; Overall Value
If you’re into more exclusive groups, be sure to not only focus on the amount of the required fee but also the overall value it can give you.
- Safety Nets; Security Settings
Choose a dating platform that has safety rules and guidelines in place. Check out any available settings or features that ensure user safety. The basic report and block feature can go a long way in steering yourself from malicious users.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned factors, here are 10 great apps you might want to look into.
- Tinder – For a quick and easy way of getting a date. With its swipe feature, geo-based match-making, and user-friendly interface, this pioneering site makes up for an ideal choice. Follow these Tinder Hacks to gain the most out of this dating app!
- CatholicMatch – For Catholic singles looking for a serious relationship built on Catholic Christian values and practices. It showcases a faith-focused positive and healthy environment.
- Bumble – For confident women who won’t mind taking the first move. It hands the power to its female members, allowing only female-registered users to initiate conversations.
- LargeFriends – For individuals who are into plus-size men/women. It features local communities and public forums where users can freely join for open and positive interactions.
- OkCupid – For romance-seekers looking for a free dating site. It utilizes in-depth personality-based matchmaking algorithms.
- Coffee Meets Bagel – For users who don’t want to get overwhelmed with random matches and messages. Conversations can only be initiated after liking a profile.
- The League – For picky users with specifically high standards. It’s an exclusive dating app that only takes career-driven and well-established members.
- Grindr – For members of the LGBTQA+ community. It offers options for friendship or romantic relationships.
- Facebook Dating – For Facebook users looking for an online date. This free app boasts a myriad of safety features and security settings.
- SeniorMatch – For individuals aged 50 and up looking for a romantic relationship or companionship. It also utilizes location-based matchmaking algorithms.
Tips For Safe Online Dating
Bear in mind that ensuring safety and security within such digital platforms isn’t a one-man job. It takes constant efforts from all parties involved, and yes, that’s including you. While there’s no definite black-and-white online dating guide or ultimate online dating advice, there are several dating tips you might want to consider. Here are some online dating tips for women and men alike, as well as those who are part of the LGBTQA+ community.
- Trustworthy Platform
On top of the list of online dating tips in selecting a trustworthy platform. You may refer to the guidelines outlined above to better ensure you only join or subscribe to dating sites that are capable of meeting your standards without compromising your safety and security.
- Background Checks
Before investing so much time and effort in someone you just met online, be sure to do your homework first. Initiate at least basic background checks on them – through a quick Google search, a thorough social media stalking, through a third-party search engine, or by collating as many public records as you can. People search engines like Kiwi Searches would be your best bet if you’re looking for an effective but hassle-free way of conducting background checks.
- Personal Details
Always remember to keep private details private. Before creating your profile, double-check what information is included and which data can be accessed by the general public. Avoid posting identifying details that could be traced back to you. Never overshare information, including personal details (legal name, DOB), confidential numbers (SSN, CC, bank accounts), addresses (home, work), and routine details (schedules, routes, appointments).
- Suspicious Acts
Be keen on warning signs and don’t overlook the red flags. Watch out for too early declarations of love, too good to be true promises, and special requests/questions with an odd sense of urgency. Above all, don’t entertain and as much as possible don’t get involved with any money-related situations regardless of how convincing the sob story that comes with it is.
- Face-to-Face Meet-Ups
When the time comes that you both finally decide to level up your relationship, be sure to share the progress with a trusted friend or family member. It helps to have a set of fresh eyes, someone who’s capable of giving you objective and unbiased opinions. Let them know the details of your first meet-up. Also, be sure to choose a public place or somewhere you’re personally familiar with. If possible, drive yourself to the rendezvous and never drink too much during the first date.
In addition to the abovementioned tips for online dating, here’s a list of online etiquette to retain the openness, positivity, and efficacy of any online dating environment.
- Respond promptly and don’t keep the other person hanging for an unreasonably long time. At least reply within 24 hours or send a heads-up in case you can’t respond for a few days.
- If you’re the one not receiving timely responses, be very strategic in sending follow-up messages. Whatever happens, keep your cool and never bombard them with what might sound like needy messages.
- Ask the right questions to have a better grasp of their reality. Ask interesting questions to create a clearer picture of what and who they really are.
- Be extra sensitive in initiating too personal or sensitive conversations such as family-related stuff, ex-lovers, personal intimate struggles, religious beliefs, or political stands.
- If you’re into sexting, wait for certain cues indicating you’re on the same page or be extra careful in opening up the idea to them.
- Don’t drop sweet phrases – good morning, sleep well, I love you – right away as these could scare people.
- Utilize emojis, smileys, stickers, GIFs, or even memes to keep the conversation lighter.
- Wait at least a few days before exchanging numbers or adding each other to other social media sites.
- Just be honest.
- Never attempt to demand a huge leap of faith or a change of character to meet your standards.
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