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A guide to successful internet dating

A guide to successful internet dating

Internet dating can be one of the most effective and rewarding adventures when searching for romance opportunities.  It can also be a demoralising experience that will leave you thinking there is no hope.  A recent survey discovered that six out of every ten single people have turned to the net ultimately for love. However it is worth remembering many of those people will happily mess around or want ‘sex only’ on their route to love, in other words they may want to find genuine true love but it may not be with you. Their profile may read like a Mills and Boon character, and there is every chance that they will behave impeccably when they discover their perfect match, however this might not be the case if you don’t measure up to their wish list. To gain the best from online dating you need to be armed with the right tools and know how.

  • Which site?
  • Your profile
  • The photo(s)
  • Effective communicating
  • Arranging to meet

Which Site

Most people who want to dip their toe into online dating will automatically go for one of the large dating sites they have seen advertised on the TV or in the media.  So these sites become generic. Think of it rather like going for a drink and choosing a venue. A regular working class average Joe or Joanna will choose a loud pub where they are going to meet similar people.  Someone with more refined tastes and interests is going to find somewhere a little more interesting.  Those with more cash to splash will be looking for the upmarket more exclusive venues to be seen at. So deciding on which online dating site you are going to try is very similar.

Most sites will allow you to register and trawl through profiles before you have to pay. You pay at the point of communication. Do your homework, look up key words and phrases on the internet search engines, for example ‘exclusive dating’  ‘dating for single parents’ - or dating for the over 50’s. There are hundreds of sites to choose from.  You will see the huge generic sites will come up in almost all your searches; they have the marketing and advertising budget to do this. But if you scroll down you will start to find the more interesting niche sites that will be more suitable.

Most internet dating sites range from around £15 - £50 per month. The fee doesn’t always reflect the calibre of people or even the number of people. It will usually cost you more to try the service for a month than if you ties yourself into three or six months, but I always think it is better to try the one month option first. It is more effective  to try two or three different sites at the same time rather than signing yourself up to one site for three /six months or more.

At the end of this chapter we have researched and listed some great sites that will cover a wide range of people and interests. These are our recommended choices.


Your profile

You will see that most people’s profiles read more or less the same.  Women will write something like ‘I’m just as happy on a night out on the town with friends as I am curled up on the couch with a good DVD’ and most of the guys profiles will probably include something in there about this being the first time they have done anything like this. Even the serial daters!

You will find that most men in an attempt to impress will tend to boost their salary/height/sporting interests etc where as women will always play down their extra pounds and knock a few years off their age or try and convince the reader that they don’t look or feel their age!

To sum up internet profiles - they suck! There is rarely any originality; people will often flick over this vital stage of the courting. Sometimes with the best intentions of going back at a later stage to inject some heart and flavour, but often by the time they  readdress this it is either too late or they have lost the plot and will to live with online dating!

So before you start, read some other profiles, think hard about the ones that impress you, and try and avoid writing anything like the ones that bore you to tears. My best advice is to avoid talking about yourself, or what you are looking for in a partner. Instead try to inject some humour. One of the best profiles I came across was one where the writer made a list of all the most irritating aspects of their personality. It was hilarious but at the same time intriguing. The reader could never be quite sure if it was serious or written in gest. But it did attract more interest and comments than any other profile I have come across.

Another great way to enthuse people to want to find out more about you – and that is exactly the point of a written profile  not as some would think to ‘impress’ the reader – is to compare yourself to a car, or animal or even a country. Or maybe try borrowing the likeness of several well known people or celebrities....good and bad. The most interesting profiles are those that include some wit, and are maybe a little tongue in cheek. Those of us who do not take ourselves too seriously are often the most genuine and interesting.

A profile doesn’t have to be too long winded. Most dating sites in addition to the written profile will also have a section where you list your interests and pursuits and preferences – the written profile is not really the place to write all this. It is more about getting the more interesting part of your personality out there. If you have nothing interesting or captivating to say about yourself then this is going to be a huge problem down the line when you meet people but guidance is given for this is previous chapters.


The photo(s)

This is another area where people just do not put enough thought and effort in. Photo’s you take of yourself in a mirror or outstretching your arm are not going to interest anyone, except those so desperate they will meet anyone.  The best snaps are holiday photos when you are feeling at your best and most relaxed and happy. Those taken when you are unaware and not so posed are good, or when you are taking part in a sporting activity. Although avoid putting up photos where you are just a dot on the horizon. Fine to include those out of site skiing or Para gliding shots if you also have a close up, as it does show other sides to your personality, but not if there are no other photos included. It is also best to remember less in more – especially if you are not particularly photogenic. It is better to have one average looking photo than several.

If you have no fairly recent photos, and it is usually fine to include pictures of up to two or three years old if they are particularly good ones, then get some done professionally. It doesn’t cost too much if you shop around. The cost usually only soars if you choose several shots after the photo shoot. If you can limit yourself to the best one or two shots you can use these for everything. It is better to have one or two really good photos than to have several average ones.

Remember you are marketing yourself, if you were going for a job interview or meeting someone on a first date you would normally present the best of yourself – first impressions count big style.


Effective communicating

Once you have got to this stage you don’t want to go and blow it. The best sites are those that allow you to send a quick flirt or ‘wink’ to the people who you find the most appealing. For a woman this is vital, as men do tend to sit back and wait for a woman to invite him to show an interest. Go through and send a quick flirt – and usually most sites have this option of a readymade message ‘I like the look of your profile what do you think of mine’ type of thing – to a chunk of people you find the most appealing. Then simply wait for the response. If you have a great photo and an interesting profile this is the most effective way to get started.

When the people respond the secret is to keep it brief. Be intriguing, don’t give too much away,  don’t respond to the messages immediately and appear too keen, however don’t be too bad mannered either and leave it days or even weeks before you respond. The best method for online dating is to give yourself three or four evening 30 minute sessions a week. For searching, sending quick flirts, responding, and arranging to meet. Avoid the long winded online chat like the plague – these will be your time wasters, the sort of people who have no other interests than to be chatting online.

Keep your communication short and sweet, and include a little light hearted banter.  Remember do not come across as too willing, even if you have sent  the first communication. Take your time to respond and don’t pour out your life history in the first few messages.


Arranging to meet

Once you have established  some rapport – and  really there should only need to be two or three short exchanged messages to get to this stage – then goo for the kill...’ok lets meet for a quick coffee’! A coffee date will always be the most appealing, it means they doesn’t have to commit too much time and this is always on the back of people’s mind when online dating, in case they discovers on meeting you that they don’t find you appealing. You will find that there is far less chance of them cancelling, postponing or simply not turning up if you have arranged just meeting for coffee.

You don’t have to wait for them to ask you out. Whilst posing yourself as a challenge is one of the most effective tools to longevity in a relationship, people will always be happy to have an invitation to ‘chase’. Once a move has been made to instigate a date – then men should actually then do all the running from that point.

To summarise, you select the most appealing people, you wait for them to respond, exchange a few brief emails and if it feels right then arrange to meet for coffee. Never leave it too long to meet, try and arrange to meet within the next 3-10 days. Exchange your telephone numbers and keep the ball in your court by telling them you will text/call to confirm the morning of your coffee meeting.

by Lorraine Adams