Question: how did you meet your current partner? And what about the last person you dated? Chances are, you’ve gone on a number of dates with people you’ve met on one or more online dating sites.
And while these apps are mostly a pain, they can actually work. Think about it: at this very moment there are probably thousands of couples worldwide lying to their families about how they met (being too ashamed to reveal that it was online). It’s true though, online dating is simply the most popular way in which to date today.
So why not learn a few new skills that can improve your online dating experience and ultimately, help you get what you want?
There are several ways you can improve your online dating skills, but it all starts with being honest with yourself about what you’re actually hoping to achieve.
Before you even jump on the Tinder Train or join the Plenty of Fish Party, ask yourself what your dating goals are. Are you looking for a long term partner? Someone to start a family with? A play partner, or just a friend? Knowing this will come in handy when it comes to improving your online dating skills.
Once you’ve set your dating goals, here are seven ways that you improve your online dating experience:
1. Set Your Non-Negotiables
A non-negotiable is something that’s not open to discussion or modification. When it comes to a relationship, some popular non-negotiables can include honesty, reliability, dependability, and compassion. Again, once you’ve established your online dating goals, you’ll then be able to set your own non-negotiables that will help you find Mx. Right (Now).
2. Have a First Date ASAP
If you’ve been swiping left and right, and finally feel like you’re vibing with someone, try not to wait too long before your first date. You may be having intense and fantastic conversations online, but remember that this may create an almost fantasy in your mind that this person is ‘the one’ before you’ve even met. This could lead to disappointment when a face-to-face meeting does actually happen.
Not just that, but if you spend a lot of energy on one person for a prolonged period of time and it turns out that they’re not what you’re looking for, you’ve wasted some of your own precious time.
3. Honesty is the Best Policy
There’s no shame in the game. If you’re simply looking for a hookup or friends with benefits, that’s totally fine… but be honest about it (in a respectful way). And if you’ve got long term relationship goals, or marriage and kids on the cards, it’s best to be clear about your intentions early on so that you can match with someone that you can connect with.
Everyone navigating the sea of online dating is looking for something specific, and naturally, not everyone they match with will want the same things that they do. By being upfront and honest, you’ll be saving each other’s time, and open up more energy for you to find what it is you are after.
4. Be Kind to Yourself!
There’s always going to be someone prettier than you, smarter than you, more witty, slimmer, curvier, taller or shorter. This is merely a fact. But online daters have been made even more aware of this fact with the rise in online dating. A simple swipe and everyone is replaceable.
This has led to a massive increase in ghosting, breadcrumbing, and simply ending things early because there’s plenty more people to date on these apps. This is why it’s so important to be kind to yourself. Try not to take rejection too personally, as it really does happen to everyone—and much more so now than ever before due to the ‘easiness’ of finding a date, thanks to technology.
5. Your Profile is a Reflection of What You Want
When it comes to your actual dating profile, remember that what you post is a direct reflection of who you are and what you want.
Just like we mentioned in number 3, you could be upfront and honest by writing what you’re looking for in your bio instead of writing it to each individual match. This will also help prevent those looking for something different from swiping right on you, creating a not-so-great match.
6. Present Yourself as Accurately as Possible
When it comes to the photos you use on your online dating profile, a lot of people tend to find the most flattering pictures in order to get more matches. But if you’re hoping to meet your matches in real life, it’s better to show more accurate and realistic photos of yourself.
The truth is, people can be shallow, and being rejected because you’re not as “attractive” as your online dating photos will almost always sting. Choose a great photo of yourself, preferably smiling. Smiling faces generally tend to attract people as it makes one seem more approachable and fun. It’s also a great idea to showcase some of your personality, such as photos of you laughing, engaging in a hobby, or holding a cup of coffee.
7. Open with Something Unique
Did you know that there’s actually a term for those who ignore people who start online dating conversations with “hey”? They’re called hey-ters! Yes, indeed, we’ve all been there. You’re all excited because you’ve matched with someone who looks amazing, but then are hit with the most boring opening line ever… “hey”.
We’re sure you hate it when this happens, so why not be the change you wish to see. Start using clever and impressive opening lines, such as asking them about something they’ve written in their bio or commenting on a photo. You could even start a conversation with a game of truth or dare or two truths and a lie. That’s always fun.
So, as you navigate the virtual world in search of… whatever it is you’re searching for, we wish you all the luck, and are totally rooting for you. Go forth and be great (and safe) online.
Helena is a sex-positive freelance copywriter in her early 30’s from Cape Town, South Africa. She’s travelled and lived in various countries in Asia and Europe for almost a decade, and continues to live her dream — traveling the world independently as a copywriter. Having written for various companies and magazines within the industry, she has extensive knowledge in the field of sexual health, the escort industry, and sex toy marketing.