Should I Try Online Dating

Online Dating

Should I Try Online Dating? 7 Things to Know First (Feb. 2024)

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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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.

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I have a friend who was single for years and had grown so tired of it that she came to me asking “Should I try online dating?” My answer was a resounding YES.

She’d been asking everyone she knew to introduce her to every single guy they knew and had been trying the bar scene every weekend, but those things just weren’t working for her. She wanted to know if online dating would really work and help her find a steady boyfriend. I could hear the skepticism in her voice when she imagined swiping on her one true love.

Some people act like online dating is shameful or desperate, but it’s seriously an efficient way to date and possibly meet a special person — whether it’s for a hookup, date, or relationship. Here are seven things wary or nervous singles, like my friend, should know about online dating before jumping into it.

1. Online Dating is the Best & Easiest Way to Meet People

According to Statistic Brain, over 49 million people have tried online dating — to put that in perspective, that’s more than the entire population of Spain. Online dating is a very popular choice among modern singles, particularly young 20-somethings, and we expect that its numbers are only going to grow as the years go on and more dating websites and apps are created and more couples connected online.

2. There Are Thousands of Sites — Here Are Our Top 3 Choices

If you’re a newcomer to online dating, the most important question you should be asking yourself is “Which dating site or app should I use?” Research conducted by Forbes shows there are almost 8,000 dating sites in the world, which is a crazy amount of options. We’ve explored and tested the most popular dating platforms and have curated a list of the three best dating sites:


Founded in 1995, Match was the first dating website and has become a household name, whether you’ve seen the commercials, know someone who’s used the site, seen an ad online, or whatever the case may be. Below is a quick snapshot of what Match has to offer.


Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Match offers a personality-driven online dating site where your dating preferences matter and you can use search filters to find the right person for you.

Because Match is the dating website that’s responsible for the most romantic connections, you’re more likely to have success here than with any other dating service.


Zoosk established itself as a leader in online dating by being one of the first sites to also come in app form, making it much easier to date while on the go. Singles can sync up their Facebook or Google+ profiles with Zoosk and pull all of their information (location, age, interests, etc.). We’ve pulled some other key facts about Zoosk:


Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

In addition to having more than 3.8 million visitors a month, Zoosk has 38 million members in total and 3 million messages are sent on the site every day, so the user base is extremely active. And it’s diverse, too. Zoosk covers over 80 countries and has been translated into 11 langauges.


If education is a top dating priority for you, EliteSingles is a go-to dating site. About 82% of their members have earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate (or a combination of the three) — not to mention 90% are 30 or older and 100% want a long-lasting relationship.


Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

On a monthly basis, EliteSingles sees 165,000 new signups and 2,500 members find love. You gotta admit those odds sound pretty good.

You’ll have to pay a subscription fee to view photos and send messages on EliteSingles, but you’ll have access to a high-class dating scene, so it may just be worth trying.

3. Most Offer Free Trials & Accounts So You Don’t Have to Pay

Payment is a common thing on people’s minds if they’re considering online dating, and with some sites charging as much as one of your monthly bills would cost, it’s understandable. However, you don’t have to pay for online dating to take part in it. Most sites are 100% free and will give you access to all the features you need to find a match — such as profile creation, browsing, and communication.

For example, Match has an all-inclusive three-day trial that won’t cost you anything, while Zoosk has a free subscription that never expires.

4. Advanced Features Will Do All the Work for You

Something we’ve always liked about online dating is you can have all the control if you want, you can let the experts take control, or you can find a happy medium with both. Almost every online dating service allows you to search for matches on your own based on your criteria (e.g., appearance, lifestyle habits, and religion), but they’ll also suggest highly compatible matches based on that same criteria. Other ways to meet people are to look at members who’ve added you to their favorites list, viewed your profile, or sent you a virtual wink and decide if you want to show interest back.

Additional features you should take advantage of are the site’s help page, blog posts, and social media accounts, which usually have important tips about topics such as how to make a profile that stands out, which photos are the best and worst, what to say in the initial message, and how to ask for a first date.

5. Your Personal Information Is Kept Safe & Private

It’s true there have been some scary stories in the news about online dating experiences that have gone horribly wrong, so you need to know what to look out for to protect yourself and your important information. Member safety is always the number one concern to dating sites, which is why they often have a number of ways to ensure no one is in danger.

This includes things like never showing your last name or email address on your profile, providing buttons so you can block and report abusive members, making customer support available 24/7, and using SSL encryption technology to keep scammers away and make sure every user is actually a real person.

6. Millions of Singles Have Found Success on Dating Websites

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a study that found that more than 66% of people have gone on a date with someone they met on a dating website or app. Also, that same Statistic Brain research we mentioned earlier says one-fifth of current relationships began online. I’d say it’s pretty common to meet couples who found one another online and are now blissfully happy. You could be the next online dating success story if you play your cards right.

7. Even Celebrities Love It!

Online dating isn’t just for folks like you, me, and my friend — several celebrities have dabbled in it as well.

An article in US Weekly reports that sites like Match and Plenty of Fish have been graced by the likes of Mariah Carey, Martha Stewart, Halle Berry, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny McCarthy, Lily Allen, Carrie Ann Inaba, Joan Rivers, and Adele. From politicians to singers to actresses to models, dating sites and apps have seen all sorts of A-listers looking to date like the rest of us.

“I’ve always been a big believer that technology, if used well, can enhance one’s life. So here I am, looking to enhance my dating life,” Martha Stewart told the magazine.

We’ve Given You the Facts — Now It’s Up to You

After some convincing, my friend decided to give online dating a shot. She’s tried three sites, has gone on tons of dates, and, most importantly, is one step closer to finding the right person for her. It’s been an eye-opening and confidence-building experience for her, and I don’t think she’ll be going back to meeting people the old-fashioned way any time soon.

Online dating has a lot of potential benefits, and it could be a great way to energize your love life without going too far outside your comfort zone.

So, the next time you, or someone you know, are wondering “Should I join an online dating site?” think about the insights we’ve just given you. What have you got to lose?

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