I threw myself in and signed up to quite a few dating sites, some paid for and others free. I had one time dates and others that lasted a good few dates. Some were utterly bizarre and others I thought wow he's really into me - until I discovered his profile picture on Facebook was that of his fiancé! Whilst currently in a relationship, I learnt a lot and so if you want to wise up here's a few things to remember.
Which dating site is best for me?
As mentioned above in the past I joined quite a few out there. First you have the paid sites such as Match, E-Harmony and upgraded membership on POF. Obviously these are the ones where people are 'serious' about meeting a potential partner. However, I did find that the ones where administrators were suppose to match me on my personality, didn't take into consideration many important factors such as distance, despite choosing the relevant settings.
Despite it's reputation for sometimes being a site for casual 'meet-up's, Tinder actually works quite well, as you can see if you have mutual friends via Facebook.
There are some signs to look out for on these sites to weed out the genuine daters to the ones that just want a one night stand.
- Always make sure there is a photo, at least one. Make sure that there is also a full body one, and one of someone smiling (you want him/her to have teeth)!
- If the photo looks slightly blurry, you can bet your bottom dollar he/she is not what they say they look like. Tread cautiously!
- If a photo is just a head shot then copy that image into Google images and make sure it's not some random famous actor the other side of the world (yes it happens a lot).
- Don't have a type, go with someone that you click with as often attraction comes after spending time together.
- Photos that include other friends or someone's hobby is always a good indicator they're an interesting person and interesting to others.
- Try and get a surname and do some investigations, type that name into Google and check out any LinkedIn or other social media profiles. This is not stalking this is safety!
- Avoid men who say they are 'separated'. This is purely because divorce is a messy business and very often the ex will start to manipulate if she/he thinks they have someone serious on the go. I know this seems unfair, and I was on there when I was separated however, it's best to choose someone who has their life sorted so to speak.
- Saying that, if the other persons ex partner has moved on and it's simply financial resolution then take the green light but go slowly.
- If writing your profile always include something personally fun about yourself. You want your dating profile to stand out, so mention hobbies but also something random you've done in your life.
- Again with your profile pictures, a head shot, full body shot and especially for women one without plastering your face with make-up on. Photos that show you 'natural' are best, so that you resemble whom you are when you meet. As for men never lie about your height!
- Don't write too much about yourself, but don't make it too general. You're profile is there to entice someone in, without revealing too much about yourself so as to make the other person want to know more.
- Check your grammar, this is hugely off-putting if you don't know your 'you're from your' etc.
- Make your profile fun, but be clear if you want a serious relationship. Remember there are people out there that want a genuine relationship. This doesn't mean to say you put up marriage and babies, but if you don't want a casual encounter then state that this doesn't interest you. It's best to be honest from the start and save some time-wasters.
- Humour is good for both men and women, it encourages banter and that's key in a relationship.
- If they have children, especially young children then expect the children to come first priority - always. If they don't put their children priority it says an awful lot about the person they are - often selfish.
- Don't be too 'needy', you want the other person to have the impression that you've got self-esteem and confidence so that you don't come across as desperate. If you don't have self-worth then go and get it before you start dating!
- That said arrogance is a huge turn off, as is pretentiousness.
You've got a date now what?
- Whilst texting is great, I suggest a couple of texts then suggest to meet up - you don't want a penpal. If they avoid meeting up then they're probably hiding the fact they're married or in a long term relationship.
- Always meet up in a public place and let someone know where you are going.
- Have a get out clause and get someone to call you pretending to be the babysitter, or a work call so that you can make the excuse to leave if you are not feeling comfortable. In fact I always got someone to call me regardless and used a code word for 'get me out of here'.
- When deciding on where to go for a date, don't choose the cinema as you want to be able to chat. A drink or coffee is good and not too time consuming. If the date is going well, then you can always go for something to eat after.
- Whilst having a drink calms the nerves, don't get drunk, it puts you in a vulnerable position and makes you take choices that you otherwise would have done if sober.
- What to wear depends on where you going, but for women never show too much skin. Something slightly fitted will show off your figure without giving too much away. A skirt, dress is usually suitable over trousers although skinny jeans are an exception if you're meeting up casually. As for men just make a slight effort, clean jeans or smart trousers and a shirt go a long way in making an impression and make sure your footwear is clean.
- Again hygiene is imperative, nails should be clean and smelling fresh is better than being suffocated in perfume or aftershave. Girls avoid too much hairspray and as mentioned don't plaster yourself in tons of make-up.
- A good indicator of a person is how they treat others. Is he or she respectful when they order food? Do they hold the door open for you - men should always do this. Manners go along way and are incredibly attractive.
- On the date make sure you listen, ask questions and above all have a giggle. Relax as this is supposed to be fun. If it doesn't work out then use this as practice for the next time.
- Do you invite him back or go in if he invites you back. Personally no, men will have more respect for you if you simply kiss them goodbye and then follow up with a goodnight text I had fun.
- Don't drag it out, if you didn't enjoy your date be honest and say you had fun but didn't think you were compatible.
On that note good luck and if all else fails, get a dog - the best way to meet people are on dog walks, especially as the dogs usually introduce themselves first!