We turn to screens for nearly every decision. Where to eat. Where to vacation. Where to eat on vacation. Where to get treatment for the food poisoning you got at that restaurant where you ate on vacation. Where to write a negative review calling out the restaurant that gave you food poisoning and ruined your vacation. So it’s no surprise our screens are becoming the first place we turn to when looking for romance — because you need someone to take care of you when you get food poisoning on your vacation, right?
Online dating absolutely works when you are yourself, and hopefully, then encounter someone being themselves. It works when we don’t hide behind a screen and try to be an edited version of ourselves because, at the end of the day, it’s just a stepping stone to meet in real life.
So how do you make it work for you? Here’re some great tips to make the most of your online dating experience…
There’s a difference between oversharing in your profile and completely lying. Those are the kinds of half-truths that can really damage the chance of a relationship with someone.
You don’t have to necessarily air all of your dirty laundry on your profile, but as you are chatting with someone and getting to know them, it’s on you to be clear about anything that may affect the relationship.
Too much filtering.
The Internet offers a seemingly endless supply of people who are single and looking to date, as well as tools to filter and find exactly what you’re looking for. You can specify height, education, location and basically anything else. Are you trying to find a guy whose favorite novel is “Call Me by Your Name” and whose favorite sport is volleyball? You’re just a few clicks away from this dream guy.
But we are horrible at knowing what we want. Relationship experts found that the kind of partner people said they wanted often didn’t match up with what they were actually interested in. People filter too much; they’d be better off vetting dates in person.
Online dating is just a vehicle to meet more people. But what works well for predicting good first dates doesn’t tell us much about the long-term success of a couple. A study led by the Northwestern psychologist Eli J. Finkel argues that no mathematical algorithm can predict whether two people will make a good couple.
Be passionate about your passions.
Trying to come across as what you think is impressive will do you no favors in the long run. For example, pretending that you’re way more into hiking than you actually are to impress an outdoorsman will catch up with you when you actually meet. If you’re truthful about your passions and hobbies, you will inevitably find someone to connect over those things with.
If you pretend you run marathons on the weekends, you’re bound to meet someone who will put that to the test. You want to meet someone who likes the real you, so be genuine.
Learn from your mistakes.
Regardless of how things pan out, most of the people we talked to agree that dating is a great way to discover new things about yourself. Dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes, and stay in the game. Sure, sometimes you’ll get burned. But sometimes, with enough perseverance (as well as luck, timing, a good profile and a positive attitude), you’ll fall in love. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you can say “What’s wrong with these terrible people on these awful sites?” Or you can ask, “How can I make this work for me, despite the obvious flaws?” You know where I stand. But I’ll tell you, all it takes is one person.
Put yourself out there.
It’s relatively easy to sign up, pick your best photos, and start swiping. It’s much harder to actually communicate with other people, to put yourself out there, to say, “Hey you look like a nice person.”
Plenty of people use online dating apps but panic a bit when it comes to actually initiating or responding to a conversation. If you want online dating to work for you, you’re going to have to have a conversation or two or three. Chatting to different people and getting to know new people is all part of the fun.
Once you have connected online, let things flow naturally and you will meet when you both feel ready and interested. Some people prefer to meet right away and take it offline to experience the chemistry in real life. Some people prefer to build up a rapport and have a conversation over text for a few days or weeks before meeting.
Whatever works for you and the person or people you’re talking to is fine, as long as you’re using the platform and engaging with the opportunities. Next time you find yourself asking ‘does online dating work?’, remember the power lies in your hands.
So does online dating work?
While it’s clear that online dating doesn’t have a 100% success rate, most of the people we asked thought it was a worthwhile experience when they were able to identify their goals or develop meaningful connections.
In general, whether you’re using an app or meeting someone at the bar, if you’re clear with your intentions and you communicate what you want, you can find someone who is right for you.
While there are plenty of people out there who still find fun flings or real connections in real life, and while some would still rather do it that way, it’s safe to say that online dating does work in some shape or form. Whether you end up only learning about yourself and what you’re looking for, or you establish a long-term commitment—or even if you form a real connection with someone who ultimately doesn’t work out—online dating can help you grow.
Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?
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