Meeting People Online

Online Dating

7 Tips for Meeting People Online

Mackenzie Buck

Written by: Mackenzie Buck

Mackenzie Buck

Mackenzie Buck is a freelance writer and digital nomad. She earned a master's degree with distinction from the University of Manchester. Her relationship advice has been featured on the New York Post, among other publications. She has worn a variety of hats in the digital marketing space over the years and is excited to bring her unique voice and storytelling chops to DatingAdvice.

See full bio »

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

See full bio »
Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

Remember when we used to meet people by joining book clubs and joining Tuesday night bowling leagues? Yeah, me neither. And we’ve got technology to thank for it. 

Since the introduction of the internet, social networks, and, eventually, dating apps, the way we connect with our fellow humans has been completely transformed. Coffee shop run-ins, house party hookups, and flirty cocktail bar encounters have mostly — but not entirely — been replaced by dating-app-borne relationships. 

While this evolution comes with its fair share of disadvantages, there’s one plus that you simply cannot deny: Meeting people is easier now than ever before. All you need is the right tips and internet-smarts to make your efforts as effective as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the big ones. 

1. Choose the Right Dating Platform

Choosing the right dating platform is important for the same reasons you go to some friends for comfort and other friends for a dose of tough love. Each dating app has the capacity to meet different people’s needs in different ways.

For example, if you’re a 40+ single dad looking for a life-long partner, you’ll likely have more success on mature platforms like Match or eharmony. Both of these sites have been around for decades and have a good reputation for creating matches that last.

★★★★★
eharmony 4.8/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.8/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “Simply put, eharmony is where you go if you’d like to speed up the marriage process. Complete a free questionnaire, get matched for free, and find your lifelong partner all in one fell swoop…” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

On the other hand, if you’re a fresh-out-of-college professional and in search of a casual hookup, you may have better luck if you download hookup apps like Tinder or Grindr.

Or if you’re in a happy long-term relationship looking to add a third person to your bedroom dynamic, you can take a whack at Feeld, Adult Friend Finder, or Ashley Madison. Whatever your dating goals happen to be, there’s an app to help you reach them — all you need to do is define them, do the research, and explore your best options.

2. Complete Your Profile (Add Multiple Photos)

When we live in a world where we can heat up a three-course meal in the microwave in under three minutes, it’s easy to expect that good things will come into our lives with little to no effort. But allow me to hit you with some truth: Online dating takes work.

Yes, you can go on a swiping spree from the comfort of your couch, your desk chair, or your toilet, but that doesn’t mean that you can press a button and the love of your life is going to appear on your doorstep ready to risk it all. You’ve got to put in the time and the effort before you can see the results you want. And it all starts with setting up a good profile.

Each app will have different requirements and a different look for user profiles, but they will typically all include a bio (a place for you to write a few words or sentences about who you are), dating preferences (a section for you to describe who and what type of relationship you’re looking for), and photos of you. Niche dating sites may have a few unique sections or prompts. Christian Mingle, as an example, asks singles for their favorite Bible verse.

★★★★★
ChristianMingle 4.5/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.5/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by gender, age, education, more

Our Experts Say: “ChristianMingle is strictly for Christian singles, and it has a large user base that you can browse through by your individual preferences…” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Regardless of which app you go with, do not to skip steps in the signup process. In other words, make sure to fill out your profile completely — and with as many photos as the platform allows.

This part of the online dating process is your opportunity to give the algorithm the information it needs to identify your most compatible matches. Your profile also gives these potential matches a glimpse at who you are and what you’re hoping to get out of the experience. The more information you can include, the higher your chances of coming out the other end happy and satisfied — perhaps in more ways than one, if you catch my drift. 

3. State Your Intentions Early

I feel like every rom-com in the history of the world has taught us otherwise, but one of the most important qualities you can bring to a dating interaction is clarity. Rather than trying to reel someone in by being dark and mysterious — or, even worse, by trying to win the IDGAF Olympics — being upfront about what you’re looking for on a dating app is the best way to ensure that you actually find it.

If you’re only swiping to find someone who can keep your bed warm during the cold winter months while you grind away in med school, say it. If you’re burnt out by hookup culture and ready to find a partner for the long haul, say it. If you just got out of a five-year relationship and have absolutely no idea what you’re looking for, please, I beg you, say it. Put it all out on the table.

The more clearly and effectively you state your intentions, the more time you’ll save and the better you’ll be able to avoid hurt feelings on both ends. 

4. Do Some Online Vetting Before Meeting In Person

If you’re new to the app scene — or, perhaps, you’ve missed out on the iconic masterpiece that is Catfish — you may not be aware of just how easy it is to get duped online. With the help of fake profiles full of a couple of stolen photos, online perpetrators can do some pretty serious damage if you’re not careful.

Photo of an online scammer
Online daters are not always what they appear to be on their profile.

It’s important to do a little extra research on your match before meeting in person. Check out any of their available social media platforms (many apps now allow users to link their Instagram accounts to their profiles), do a simple Google or LinkedIn search, or ask around within your friend network to find out if you have any mutual acquaintances.

Many cities even have Facebook groups where women can write posts about their experiences with people they’ve met on dating apps. This provides actively dating singles with valuable insights on some of the matches they may come across in their search. You’d be surprised what a little sleuthing can do for you. 

5. Don’t Write Long Letters & Become Pen Pals

Ask any experienced online dater and they’ll probably mention dating app burnout. This is a phrase typically used to describe the feeling of being overwhelmed — or even numb — to the matchmaking experience. With all the small talk, instant gratification and accessibility, many singles get frustrated with the process and tend to give up on matches fairly early on.

As a single on a dating app, there’s really not much you can do to protect yourself from this burnout other than 1) taking necessary breaks and 2) getting straight down to brass tacks.

Instead of exchanging a long thread of back and forth messages, consider planning your first date relatively soon after getting connected. The alternative runs the risk of giving them too much time to get bored and move on to the next match before you even get the chance to meet. Ultimately, if you snooze, you lose.

6. Pace Yourself & Set Boundaries

Although the process of turning a match into a first date can be a quick one, we encourage you to take your time and act intentionally when deciding on your post-first-date moves. Even if the initial encounter goes well (and here’s to hoping it does), do your best not to allow the butterflies in your tummy to cloud your judgement.

5 Great First Date Tips for Men
Establish healthy boundaries when getting to know a new person in the dating world.

At the end of the day, you really don’t know someone until several months into a relationship (some might argue a few years), and you want to be on guard and in a clear enough headspace to spot red flags. Love bombers, we’re looking at you.

Additionally, give yourself permission to set necessary boundaries that will help you feel good and safe about the trajectory (and speed) of your relationship. This can look like being deliberate about the information you choose to share, deciding on communication preferences (texting versus calling, for example), or even cutting off all communication if things get uncomfortable.

7. Don’t Let One Bad Match Discourage You

With so many potential matches at your fingertips, it’s easy to get tricked into thinking that online dating will just be win after win after win. But this simply isn’t the case. Compatibility is still the most important factor in any dating space — online or not — and finding success in your search will come down to a combination of effort, timing, and luck.

To arm yourself against the pain or frustration that comes with this cold, hard truth, you’ll need to keep things light and positive. Instead of thinking to yourself “I had a crappy date, so that must mean I’m not cut out for this whole ‘app’ thing,” you could say: “I had a crappy date, which means me and that person just weren’t compatible. I’ll take what I learned from this experience and carry it into the next one.”

Dating Apps Can be a Great Place to Meet New People

Notwithstanding all the times I’ve complained about dating apps to my boo-ed up friends, I can’t deny that they’ve brought a lot of interesting experiences into my life. I’ve used apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble BFF to help me explore foreign cities, find dates to holiday parties, and even meet friends for yoga. Plus, the stats don’t lie: 40% of all new couples meet on dating apps — making online dating the number one way to meet people for relationships.

At this point, it’s not a matter of whether dating apps work, it’s when they’re going to work for you. And guess what? There’s only one way to find out!

Advertiser Disclosure

DatingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). DatingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.