27 January 2012
The ultimate kick-starter guide to online dating
Everybody is doing it these days but it can still feel a bit overwhelming when we first begin to dip our toe into the waters of online dating so here are some tips to get you going.
For many people the computer is now the main way they organise their social lives, book holidays, stay in touch with family and friends and conduct their work lives so it’s understandable that it has also become the main way we find romantic partners too. Some people are still dubious about it so we have put together a handy little guide for you.
Why online dating?
Online dating really is no more than an introduction to people, but with the use of the internet you can be introduced to hundreds of people instead of the handful of single people you might normally meet in your social circle. Once you have struck up a conversation with someone dating usually proceeds much as it used to – in person. Here are just some of the pluses:
1. You will probably know much more about someone you meet online than you would if you agreed to a date with someone you met in a bar.
2. You can take your time browsing different profiles and really thinking about what you want from a partner.
3. The pond you are fishing in is much larger than your normal social circle giving you access to possible matches from all over the world.
4. You are not forced to talk to someone you are not interested in and can block any unwanted communication.
5. On websites like eHarmony you get the opportunity to fill in a personality profile which helps you get to know yourself more, most of us never take the time to really sit down and ask, ‘Who am I and what is important to me?’
6. You are free to flirt outrageously; a lot of people say that they feel bolder and more flirtatious when chatting online because they can edit what they are saying.
7. The website will use the latest technology to match you with people based on your own personal specifications which can be changed at any time.
8. If you are shy or nervous you may find building the initial stages of a relationship online much more comfortable as there is a level of anonymity.
9. It doesn’t cost a fortune; a monthly subscription is often less than a night out. It is better to go with a well known website that lets you sign up and view your matches for free and only charges a subscription when you want to communicate with other members
10. You are in control
Is online dating safe?
This is the most common concern for people when they are considering online dating, especially older people. The media reports scare stories about fraudsters and people being conned out of their life savings. The great news is that online dating with a reputable website like eHarmony is really safe, here’s why:
1. Your personal information is confidential. None of the information that you provide to the website when you sign up can be seen by anybody else. This includes your credit card details, address, phone number, email address and even your real name as you can have a screen name.
2. You decide who you talk to and who talks to you. If you are nervous about getting the initial contact started you can use the guided communication feature which take you through step by step. If you start chatting with someone and change your mind most websites will have a facility to block unwanted communication. Should anyone every make you uncomfortable at any time, you can block them from contacting you forever and report them to the site.
3. You get to see a photo before you meet. No matter how evolved we like to think we are, 95% of us based our opinions of people on first impressions and seeing a photo of someone before you meet them is reassuring for most of us.
4. You are not on your own. A reputable website will have a support team and advice pages which will help you through every step of the process from how to write your profile to how to stay safe on a first date.
5. Millions of people can’t be wrong. Online dating is an industry that has mushroomed in the last five years. Every day millions of people are logging on and finding love. If online dating didn’t work, they wouldn’t do this. But they do. And every day, new members sign up. The cycle of love continues. Have you logged on yet?