I’m feeling a little presumptuous writing this despite being heavily in the dating game the last few years! I’m no expert, but I’ve been in long term relationships and marriages, had success and failures and have extensive experience of the modern online dating trend in particular. There’s a pile of stuff I’ve learned over the years that people still seem to have no clue about when they set about to find a partner so I’m writing it all down here. Hopefully it’s of some use to someone!
Fill out your Profile
If you’re serious about meeting someone, make a reasonable effort! Add as much info as you can, particularly a self-written bio extolling your virtues and getting as much of your personality across as possible. Add more than one good quality photo and include all angles. There’s no point hiding stuff or lying at an early stage, it wont do you any favours if you meet someone. Don’t hide your weight if you’re larger, don’t hide your age, your height, anything. Don’t just add one photo of your dog or cat and presume attraction is all about personality, it’s not. There needs to be physical attraction. And don’t add filtered or 10 year old studio photos, let people know how recent your photos are.. Check spelling and grammar twice!
Don’t just put your profile up and wait for Mr or Mrs right. For women in particular this invites a pile of unwanted attention that’s impossible to sift through. Use whatever search or filtering tools are on the dating app you choose to zoom in on your ideal partner then be brave and make the first move! Screw letting the man go first. It’s 2023, if you like what you see, go get it before someone else does. EVERYONE is going to be flattered at receiving the first message.
Once you’ve made initial contact with a potential, engage properly. If you’re going to be away for a while, let them know. Also, ask questions. People love to be asked about themselves and it’s a great way to find out more about them. Make sure to keep early communication on the dating app and don’t give out your number too soon although don’t be shy about giving it out either. If they turn weird, blocking their number is easy.
DO NOT GHOST. Ghosting is a phenomenon of our modern society where everything and everyone is disposable. If you’re not feeling it, tell them. It takes a few seconds to let someone know they’re not for you. It might hurt them but not as much as leaving them wondering.
Give people a chance. I’ve chatted to people where I thought they were total dopes initially but after a bit more probing, they surprised me. People can be nervous initially and not themselves.
Have a video call before you meet in real life. Photos and texting are fine but seeing a person move and speak is another level and you should get a pretty good indication of their personality that could save some awkwardness if you meet.
Don’t abandon your profile if you lose interest in the whole thing or meet someone. Either pause it or delete it and keep things tidy for everyone else. There’s nothing worse than seeing your ideal partner, messaging them then getting no reply because they’ve fucked off..
The First Date
When it comes to meeting someone for the first time, girls, don’t meet in quiet, secluded places and guys, let the girl choose the meeting place! Don’t commit to a full dinner or any full on, lengthy activity on the first date because if it doesn’t work out its an hour or 2 of pure, awkward hell! I’ve been there.. Stick with the coffee or walk. There’s always longer dates next time. My own personal tester is that if the first date doesn’t end with at least a little kiss then it’s probably not going to go anywhere! If you are unsure after date one, have another one to get more sure.
After the First Date
Don’t play games! If you got a good vibe and think you like them and they like you too, let them know! Don’t wait for the other person to initiate contact and don’t try to play cool. You just might lose them. Swap numbers if you havn’t already and take some time to get to know them better before meeting again but make a plan to meet again soon and do something a bit more interactive and lengthy maybe. Don’t rush headlong into bed or into a relationship too quickly. Take time to properly get to know someone first. Strange things can pop up!
Online dating in particular can be a numbers game. It’s unlikely that you will be the only interest that a person has. It can be hard to choose between 2 or more potential partners but you need to have at least one real life date with anyone you think is worth it. DO NOT mention your other dates to anyone you’re interested in. It can only cause friction. One lead should soon begin to emerge but if not, good luck! It will be difficult, but it’s kind of a nice problem to have!
This is my personal Achilles heel! More often than not, there will be one or 2 things about a person you’re not quite sure about. If you ignore them then they could come back to haunt you as they’ve done with me on many occasions. I kicked myself for ignoring the red flags then but in fairness, you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. If you stopped on every red flag that people have the human race would die out pretty quickly! Try to deal with any red flags early on by being open and honest. A good example might be peoples pets and kids. Sometimes people literally don’t have the time or ability to date because they are a lone parent or have a barn full of animals that can’t be left. It might feel wrong to judge people like that but at the end of the day, if they can’t actually meet you on a regular basis then there’s no point? There might be a temptation to offer to do all the travelling for someone awesome and to get over a hurdle like that but in reality, that gets old pretty quick. The effort of meeting up should be shared as evenly as possible or resentment will creep in.
Dating, particularly the online variety gets a bit of bad press these days. People constantly blame the systems in place but they work great. It’s people doing it wrong that causes all the stress. It’s always people that ruin systems! Don’t be that person. Treat people online as you’d treat them in real life or how you’d like to be treated yourself. Be open, honest, make an effort and enjoy the process of meeting all kinds of new, weird and wonderful people! If you don’t meet “the one”, you might make a good friend or 2. There’s plenty of proof that online dating works. All 5 of my major life relationships started online and even though most of them failed, they were very worthwhile and much fun & experience was had by all!
Best of luck!