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Are you having no luck with online dating? Hang in there because the game isn’t over yet. Maybe you just need a new strategy, an attitude adjustment, or a fresh look (online or offline) to make things work the next time you ask a person out.
Consider this: About 8,000 dating sites exist, and more than 49 million Americans have tried online dating, but not all of them have met with success. Only 66% of people have dated someone they met online, while the others swiped, matched, chatted…and left empty-handed.
Whether you’re looking for a one-night stand or a steady relationship, online dating has the numbers to make that happen. But it’s not always a cake walk. Sometimes you can spend weeks, months, or even years without getting lucky online, and that can wear you down and leave you feeling burned out. We’re here to pick you back up.
Our dating experts have been through the online dating ringer and found personal success in the swiping scene, so we can offer can-do advice to help turn your luck around. Here are seven sure-fire tips for improving your online dating life!
The first step to having romantic success online is choosing the right dating site. You’re setting yourself up for failure from the beginning if you use a dating platform that doesn’t cater to your relationship needs, appearance, personality, and lifestyle preferences. The best way to decide on an online dating site or app is to read reviews from users and third parties (like ours) and ask your single friends for recommendations. Below are our top three favorites:
Match can work for anyone — no matter their age, gender, sexual orientation, location, profession, religion (or lack thereof), education, or hobbies. It was the first dating site ever created (circa 1995), and it’s responsible for the most romantic connections of any other dating site.
Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
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Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
Browse Free: View Photos Now
You can take Match for a test run by signing up for a basic membership — which will allow you to fill out a profile, edit your profile whenever you want, upload numerous photos, and look for matches. You’ll also get daily match suggestions sent to your inbox, and have the ability to “like” members, and create a Favorites list, among other things.
Next up, we have Elite Singles. If intelligence is one of your turn-ons, you’ve come to the right place. More than 80% of members on Elite Singles hold a bachelor’s, master’s, and/or doctorate degree. You’ve also come to the right place if you’re 30 or older and are looking for a lifelong partner — more than 90% of members are at least 30, and 100% desire a serious relationship or marriage.
Search, Receive Partner Suggestions
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Browse Profiles Free
Relationships: Serious Relationships
Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions
Browse Free: View Photos Now
Elite Singles offers a ton of free features, including registration, profile creation, photo upload, browsing, flirting, and a unique personality test to get you started. This dating website and app caters to a more sophisticated crowd of single professionals, and it requires users to pay a monthly subscription for the privilege of messaging and viewing photos here.
Zoosk rounds out our list. In terms of the mobile experience, it hardly gets any better than on Zoosk. You can register via your Facebook or Google+ profile, saving you a lot of time. Once your info and photos are uploaded, you can start browsing via the Carousel, SmartPick™, see who’s currently online, and who’s viewed your profile.
Fun Dates, Serious Relationships
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Start Zoosk for FREE
Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships
Match System: Search and get match recommendations
Browse Free: View Photos Now
Zoosk will keep track of who you like and who you don’t like, and the site/app will use that information to recommend even more compatible matches in the future. Another perk? Zoosk is free to download via iTunes and Google Play.
Having grammar errors and typos in your profile is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you’re dating online. It’s not that you’ll miss out on one person or two — a majority of singles will pass on you if you appear to be unintelligent and look like you don’t care about your dating profile.
We’re not all journalists, so check out grammar tools, like Grammarly and the Hemingway app, which will do all the work for you. You could also ask a friend for help, but, at the very minimum, you should double-check your own profile.
Your photos are the first things people are going to look at, so if you only post one photo (and it’s a bad one), you might as well cancel your membership right now. It only takes one-tenth of a second for someone to form an opinion about you, and a blurry, far away, or inappropriate photo is going to make him or her form a bad opinion of you.
Online daters want to see your face, body, and photos that show what you like to do, so upload at least one portrait, one full-body shot, and one action photo (e.g., of you skydiving). Give people a little glimpse into your life, and you’ll be rewarded with more likes, messages, and dates.
Since people tend to be so focused on photos when they’re dating online, you want to make sure you aren’t becoming too picky. It can be easy to swipe left on someone because her hair was shorter than you like or his teeth were a little crooked, but try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
At the end of the day, those kinds of superficial dealbreakers don’t matter. If a potential match has everything you’re looking for, but maybe they don’t like the same movies or have a different job than what you’d like, they’re worth going on a date with to see where things go.
Not everyone is good at writing about themselves and bragging on their most attractive qualities, but that’s an essential part of writing a good dating profile. One or two generic sentences aren’t going to cut it. If you need some help, try talking out loud to a friend about yourself and your dating preferences, and have them write down or type out an example profile while you talk.
Basically, you don’t want to just tell people what movies you like or what your career goals are — you want to give them the why behind it. Provide meaningful details that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Did you get into sports because your older brother played and you always looked up to him? Did you play in college? Did you become an accountant because your mom and dad are both accountants? Did you join a math team when you were in middle school and that’s what made you fall in love with numbers? Obviously, these are just some examples, but think about the motivating factors behind how you got to where you are in life, and share those with your fellow singles.
Research shows that humor is one of the most attractive qualities someone can demonstrate online, but you don’t have to be the next Kevin Hart, John Mulaney, or Amy Schumer. Figure out what humor works for you.
Maybe you’re the type of person who always has a funny story to share, or maybe you have a dark sense of humor that’ll appeal to others who do, too. You could be self-deprecating, satirical, highbrow, or something else. The point is to play to your strengths!
We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you — online dating can be a lot of work. You get out of it what you put into it. If you’re only spending an hour a week looking for dates and messaging people, you’re going to see results that match that effort. The opposite is also true. If you’re spending an hour a day online dating, you’ll have a higher chance of meeting someone you really like.
The average millennial spends 10 hours a week on dating apps. They’re out there hustling and making it work, and you should be, too. Not saying you have to make online dating your part-time job or anything, but you may need to put in some effort and do a little extra credit if you’re not getting the results you want right away.
We can all find time somewhere. Maybe skip taking that fifth Buzzfeed quiz or watching the seventh episode of “Stranger Things.” It can wait until tomorrow. Instead, log into your dating site/app to see if anyone new has joined. You never know where a few likes and messages could lead.
The stats we mentioned at the beginning of this article prove that online dating works. But, if you haven’t had any success yet, it’s understandable to get frustrated and start to think that something might be wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you! Making even a few small changes will make a big difference. Think of this article as your very own four-leaf clover — there to give you a little luck when you’re feeling down.