Online dating: Tips for finding love in cyber space
Looking for love as the song goes, can lead you to all the wrong places and online dating is no exception. To help you find a genuine Mr or Ms Right (or Right Now!) we've compiled our top ten tips to finding love online.
Write an interesting profile
Don’t write your profile online. Sit down and write your profile and then get a trusted friend or family member to look it over with a critical eye.
Also remember to avoid clichés such as describing yourself as “curvy” or saying that you “can’t believe you are doing this”. Avoid other clangers such as saying you like long walks on the beach, that you are really funny or love trying new things.
Put the best bits first to grab someone’s attention and learn the art of showing rather then telling.
Post a decent but recent profile picture
Few profiles however well written, will attract much interest without a decent profile picture. So get a friend to take a picture of you that you are happy with or find a photograph from the last six months that you can use.
It might sound obvious, but you really should be the only person in the picture. Other friends and family may not appreciate have their photograph posted on a dating website. Avoid shots where you are not the centre of attention.
Choose a shot where you are making eye contact and aren’t obscured by something else. Front-on shots are the way to go, but remember that a good travel shot may give you and a potential date something to chat about.
Be upfront about what you want
Whether it’s writing a profile, chatting online, talking on the phone or on a first date – it’s important that you are upfront and honest about what you want. You don’t want to waste your time or anyone else’s for that matter.
It’s all about how you present what you are looking for and the key is to take a measured approach. For example, don’t say on your profile that you don’t want any cheaters or liars, but do say you value someone who is honest and up-front.
Don’t say on a first date that you are looking to get married and have kids as this gives off a strong whiff of desperation, but be honest and say you are looking for a relationship and want to see how things go.
Organise an original first date
It is best to meet potential paramours in public, but this doesn’t have to be your run of the mill dinner date or casual drink. Personal profiles, messaging and phone conversations should give you an idea of your date’s interests.
For example, if your potential date is a big fan of MasterChef, why not meet up at an outdoor food festival such as the Taste of Dublin? If they love live music, why not meet up at Whelan’s to see a band you both like?
Be original, but don’t go over the top. That super romantic boat trip down a picturesque river might seem like a great idea, but if you discover in the first 10 minutes that there is no real spark, it could be the longest trip of your life. Event dates tend to be great ice-breakers.
Remember that conversation matters
Starting up a conversation with someone you don’t know can be tricky as you don’t want to say the first thing that comes to mind and you definitely shouldn't use a cheesy line like ‘do you come here often?’
Avoid tricky topics like politics on a first date, you should take the time to get to know someone, just as you would with anyone else you meet socially. Focus more on their interests in things like films, books, sports and music.
Be prepared to talk about yourself, but remember to be positive and not to sound off about your ex or your boss.
The first few phone conversations and the first date will involve a lot of talking and flirting, but you need to listen too. No one will find you attractive if you dominate the entire conversation.
You will also learn very little the other person without taking an interest in the things they have to say.
So by all means talk positively about yourself, but remember to ask questions and listen to what the other person is telling you.
Having a drink may seem like a great way to relax, but the key is to keep things in check. Try and keep the drinking to a minimum on the first date, to give yourself the best chance of getting to know the other person and accurately judging how things went later on.
You will also be in a much better position to read their body language and how interested in you they truly are, if you have kept the drinking to a minimum.
Think of how you usually behave after you’ve had a few with your mates, and ask yourself how attractive someone who doesn’t know you might find that person.
Respect is a two-way street
Your mother was right when she told you that you don’t get respect without giving some first. So if there’s someone out there who gets in touch but you're not interested, find a firm and respectful way to let them know they don’t light your fire.
Definitely don’t use phrases like ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. You need to find a firm way to gently let the other person down. Try and think of how you would like to be treated if the situation was reversed.
If you have been seeing someone for a few weeks, don’t end it over email or text message- this will make you seem heartless and cold. You can be kind and specific by saying things like ‘I don’t feel we have a lot in common’.
Just make sure you are very clear and don’t leave the other person thinking that you might change your mind.
Send regular messages
If you had a great time on a date and want to see that person again, this shouldn’t be something they need to find out from a psychic. Tell them you had fun and you’d like to do it again some time. If you are interested, keep the messages regularly coming, but not daily- just enough to show that you are still interested.
Online dating can lead to a lot of false starts with daters who begin with loads of messages and then drop off the face of the earth. Some people leave their profile up when they are seriously dating someone or the other things can get in the way of all this romance.
Remember not to take it too much to heart as you could find your next partner with the click of a mouse.
Don’t rush it
Becoming emotionally or physically drawn in too early can cause heartache further down the line. Getting to know a person takes time, so don’t rush in too early and overload the other person with your feelings. You will come across as needy and desperate if you tell someone you have barely known that you love them.
Equally, if sex is introduced too early, it can be a disaster. You need to know a bit about the other person and if they are right for you.