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Online Dating FAQ

What exactly is online dating?

Think of your favorite place to go and meet attractive locals. Online dating services aim to bundle these physical locations into neat, virtual worlds where people can interact and develop relationships. The type of relationship will depend on the dating website and, most importantly, what you're looking to achieve from the new acquaintance. Just like nightclubs spread throughout big cities, there's essentially a dating website for every niche preference. Be it mature singles or farm owners, the general process of creating a profile that gives others a clear notion of who you are will help attract potential matches. Depending on your tastes, some sites will naturally be preferred over others.
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Is online dating safe?

Generally, yes. Most popular and well-known dating websites have fraud prevention systems in place to ensure that the person behind the screen is who they say they are. However, these are a few steps everyone should take in minimizing threats unexclusively linked to fake profiles.

  • Don't Publicize Contact Information - Let's face it, sometimes the sketchiest people are the ones with the most legit profiles. It's oftentimes hard to decipher right off the bat, but over-exposing personal contact information is a sure way to attract potentially threatening users. You might find that having a clearly outlined and multi-faceted communication channel will up your chances of meeting tons of matches, but this also leaves you quite vulnerable to those who you'd rather filter out. Dating websites generally have enough features to prevent you from having to post this information publicly and, if not, it's a good indication that you should consider another service.
  • Watch for Red Flags - Whether it's online dating or offline dating, casual conversation plays a key role in how far a relationship will go. It's a good idea to make sure that the other person is being consistent in the things that he or she tells you. This does not require you to play detective, but if the person answers a question one way and then answers it differently when asked at a later date, this could be a bad sign - especially if you begin to notice a pattern. Other red flags include refusing to meet in person, suspicious and unverifiable photographs, monetary propositions, and eagerness to meet in person. Be smart and use your instincts.
  • Meet in a Public Place - Make sure to meet some place where you know there will be other people around. This helps ensure your safety, as you will have witnesses just in case something goes wrong. Also, avoid meeting the person at night. You need to literally be able to see what's coming, and having daylight on your side is a great way to do so. As stated above, if you're chatting online with someone who never wants to meet in person or always finds an excuse not to, consider it a serious red flag.

What type of people use online dating websites?

Generally, those willing to try something new and recognize the wealth of possibilities made available through the internet. The ability for dating websites to narrow down matches based on information you provide them is a feature that offline dating doesn't offer; hence, online daters are also those people who wish to save time. You'll find that the specific answer to this question will vary from site to site, as many dating services are built with predisposed characteristics and tastes in mind. What kind of person are you? You could be just a few clicks away from meeting tons of more interesting people with similar characteristics - that's how prevalent digital dating services are becoming in our culture.
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What are the best free online dating websites?

It's actually rare that you'll come across a dating website that doesn't allow you at least a few free privileges. Such a website will usually allow you to browse its database or, in other words, get your feet wet before signing up for premium services. Some websites will offer you as much as free messaging to other members, while others restrict non-paying privileges to signing up and basic browsing.
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What's a good monthly price for an online dating site?

This does not only depend on your budget but, more importantly, what you're looking to get out of online dating. Generally speaking, dating websites that promote paid services tend to offer a more quality experience for users, in terms of membership pool as well as the services themselves. It's important that you weigh these factors against the price of memberships when surveying online dating websites. Moreover, realize that many sites arrange their pay scale so that users are saving money overtime. Make sure to read all of the details in these situations.
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Should I join more than one online dating site?

It certainly doesn't hurt to join more than one dating website at a time. While it's usual for people to wait until they're disappointed with their current dating service before making the switch, statistically speaking, you're upping your chances of success by splitting your time amongst a couple of sites. Your time, though, is at the center of how you'd best answer this question. Making profiles for 2 or 3 dating websites is the easy part, but actually maintaining a presence on them will be the more challenging, time-grabbing aspect of your decision. If your overall online dating experience becomes mediocre on the account of navigating too many websites at once, perhaps it's best to narrow your list considerably.
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Should I converse with multiple people within the same time span?

Getting to know multiple people at once - perhaps on account of tooling multiple dating websites at once - is fine as long as you see fit. Online dating is a very progressive form of nurturing relationships and many people find themselves trying new things, such as conversing with multiple interests until he or she decides on a next step. But, as previously mentioned, if you feel that your overall experience could be bettered on account of conversing with the fewest number of potential mates within a given time span, it's probably best to channel your efforts that way.
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How do I know which site is best for me?

Try them out. Expert and user reviews are a great way to learn the ins and outs of just about anything in today's culture, but when it comes to knowing exactly how well a dating website will work for you, there's no better method than signing up and exploring what's available. Many websites offer free trial periods for this very reason. Consider the monetary investment when browsing dating services, as well; be sure the service is something you want to continue with before coughing up too many of your hard earned dollars.
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How long will it take for me to find a date?

One of the most important things to remember about online dating is that there is no time limit to how long it will take to find your perfect match. Each person and situation is different. Luckily, many dating sites have various options available for users to start connecting; so, if one method is dragging along, try something else. Set your own time frame and remember that proactivity helps render better results. In addition, try consulting the dating website's help center and ask for advice on what to do in the event of a stagnant search.
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What makes a great online dating profile?

The age old cliché "Be yourself" couldn't ring truer for creating your best online dating profile. With any information you include, it's imperative that it indicate who you are. The contents of your profile are what most people will consider when deciding whether or not to contact you, so think about how you'd feel if the shoe were on the other foot and you found someone dishonest after chatting a bit longer. A few things to consider when building your profile include:

Profile Picture: Maybe that photo with you and three other friends is not the best choice for your online dating profile. You should choose an updated photo of yourself to make it clear who owns the profile. Note: The "updated" part is key. A good rule of thumb is to select an image that is no more than a couple months old and omits the fewest recent changes to your physical appearance. Show yourself engaged in one of your favorite hobbies or doing something that simply makes sense for you, given the contents of your broader profile.

Realize what You Want: Some people believe that opposites attract, so perhaps only including information on your profile about what you like to do could restrict you to matches who enjoy these same activities. Whatever you're into, make sure to state that clearly, in your own, unique way. You're not just building a profile for a dating website, but you're building it for the people who use it; help yourself reach the right users by spending some time to think about what you're attracted to.

Positivity: Online dating eliminates many of the stresses of traditional dating, where pursuing a relationship with someone usually begins with you knowing hardly knowing anything about them beyond your initial attraction. Online dating allows people more informed pursuits and most users generally want to reach out to those who seem approachable and may enhance his or her life in some form. Overt negativity may get you nowhere in that regard. This does not mean you should avoid mentioning any shortcomings, just do so in a way that betters your overall person.
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How long should I chat with someone online before meeting for a real date?

Until both parties feel comfortable. Rushing into things and waiting too long both present considerable threats to the overall outcome of the relationship. Rushing could mean meeting up with someone who you barely know anything about. This could be physically dangerous, given the possibility of illegitimate profiles, but it could also mean you being disappointed to find that your date isn't as interested in you as you thought. Provide enough time to give your matches a clear, full understanding of who you are, as well. As far as waiting too long to meet up, you risk developing a fantastical image of your "other" and the relationship itself. The internet is great for meeting people, but could result in unrealistic expectations if an in-person foundation is not set in good time. The "right time" to take things offline could be the first pivotal decision you make with that special someone you're chatting with, but be sure to recognize it as such while letting things progress naturally.
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What additional perks/services can I receive from online dating?

Many dating services have special avenues designed for more platonic interests such as finding friends who like the same foods as you or someone who wouldn't mind being your workout buddy. Online dating is also a great way to sharpen your skills if offline dating has been difficult. It's better to be upfront with someone about this, but if you're simply looking to explore what options are out there without committing to any particular person, the internet dating sphere is a great place to get started. Socializing with others is a healthy habit to develop, no matter the intent. Get out there and see for yourself!
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