To get the tips you need to navigate your online dating experience with confidence and ease, start with these simple dating tips. # 1. It’s Okay to Overthink It I know, I know. Dating, and all online dating websites, are the stuff of nightmares. I mean, I just think about the countless hours I’ve spent on sites like Match and eHarmony looking for a soulmate and what have I found? Scammers. Gross. Yes, there are dudes on Match looking for one-night stands, but I swear I’d rather take their $8.99 deal than have to have any sort of actual relationships with them. And then there are guys like my ex-boyfriend, who gets off on swindling lonely hearts. So, yeah, I know that getting started online can be a bit of a nightmare. That said, don’t overthink it. Don’t overcomplicate things. Just because you’ve dated offline doesn’t mean it’s hard to find someone online. And even if the guy you are interested in falls into one of the many categories that online dating sites classify as a scammer, don’t give up just because you’re first date did. If you feel he or she is worth the effort, take him or her out on a second date. Trust your instincts. 2. Actually Read Other People’s Messages Whether you’re meeting someone online or on the street, reading the first message you get back is important. People who message without reading the first message are almost guaranteed to send you a generic, one-word text. And they definitely won’t tell you that they’d like to have a three-hour coffee date with you. Seriously. After a while, it’ll look like this: I’m going to call it a night. I can’t wait to meet you. Bye. The key is to open your messages up to more than just an on-screen snippet of the person’s profile. Go a step further and actually read the first message back, taking the time to get to know who the person actually is. This may sound obvious, but it’s important because those little things like talking a little bit about their first message or their interests and hobbies really show that you really do care about them. 3. Don’t Skip the Phone Call One of the things I hate about the online world is that it feels like everyone is in such a hurry to get their “date” over
The traditional methods of meeting people—joining clubs, volunteering, and going to networking events—will still yield the best results, but the Internet has opened up a world of possibilities. Social networking sites (or “SNSs”) like Facebook and Myspace have become common places for finding dates. Unless you are already a huge music fan, a regular at open mic nights, or have made a hobby of modeling, you probably don’t even know about them. Here’s what to look for when you start searching for your ideal date on any of these sites: When you’re online dating, you want to look for someone who matches your own needs. 1. Be an early adopter of social networking sites If you’re a late adapter of social networking sites, you’re in for a hard time finding a date online. Not only do sites like Facebook and Myspace (the latter, formerly known as the world’s largest social network, has more than 200 million members) allow you to send messages and search for others, but they also offer some valuable (and useful) information. If you’re not on Facebook, you’ll need to upload your favorite photos to the site. If you don’t have any photos of yourself on the Internet, they’ll have to be uploaded to your profile when you join; luckily, this is pretty easy to do these days. Check out our guide to how to upload photos to Facebook. If you’re posting photos of your new, hot girlfriend, that’s a definite turn-off if you’re looking for a relationship, but if that’s a friend’s photo, it’s just your friend being cute. Once you are a part of a social networking site, the possibilities are endless. (Just don’t overdo it.) So if you’re not already an active participant in these sites, you’re missing out on all the information that you could be using to help you find a date. For example, are you friends with some of your friends’ friends? Do your friends have a lot in common? Do you both like the same music? Do you have the same political views? It can be time consuming to join every site where you know someone (and there are a lot of them!), but once you’re in, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your circles open up. If you’re looking for a relationship, you may want to join additional sites where people you know are also members (like myspace) so you can be sure to find someone who is


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