These days, loads of people are going online or using apps to find a partner. It’s the digital era and for young people especially, it’s often the easiest way to connect with others.
If you’re thinking of boarding the online dating train, good for you! Here are a few online dating tips to help ease you into the journey.
Important things to consider when creating your profile
It might sound a little weird, but your profile is basically your ‘pitch’, and if you want to grab people’s interest, you’ll need to make it intriguing. This doesn’t mean lying or making things up, but rather focusing on your most positive and attractive traits. Don’t rush it – take some time to really think about your profile and put it together. Here are some questions that can help you create the perfect pitch:
- What’s special, unique, distinctive or impressive about you or your life story? What really stands out?
- What are your best personal traits? For example, are you loyal? Generous? A good listener? If you struggle to answer this, don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family.
- Which people or events have shaped you or influenced your life goals?
- What kind of relationship are you wanting? Casual, long-term, friendship? Be clear about your relationship goals.
- What have you learned about yourself from your past relationships?
- What makes you stand out from the crowd? Why should a potential match pick you over someone else?
- What’s the single most compelling reason a potential partner might be interested in you?
Clever tips from online dating fundis
Still feeling a little unsure of your footing? Don’t stress – these online dating tips have helped others achieve success in the past:
- Include a photo. People who upload photos along with their profiles receive an average of 15 times more attention than those who don’t.
- Smile in your photo. Looking nervous, disinterested or aggressive isn’t a great way to attract potential suitors.
- Ask your friends and family for help with writing your profile. There are lots of things they love about you that you might not have thought of yourself.
- Avoid clichés at all costs. Love long walks on the beach, dancing in the rain and travelling? So does everyone else, and they won’t help you stand out. Think of things that are unique and specific to you and focus on those.
- Respond to every email you receive, even if your reply is a polite, “No thanks”.
- Keep your profile lighthearted and straightforward.
- Don’t reveal confidential information about yourself in your email exchanges.
- Don’t meet in person until you’ve actually talked on the phone. Voice and sound are a great way to judge chemistry.
- Don’t talk about your physical characteristics or theirs in an introductory message. Anyone who sends you naked photos in your initial interaction is probably not looking for anything serious.
How to stay safe
Although online dating is much more common and accepted than it once was, there are still risks involved. Here are some essential tips for keeping yourself safe when cyber dating:
- Verify any information that a potential match gives you as thoroughly as possible.
- Create a separate email account for your online dating activity.
- It may sound old-school, but get a post office box in order to register for online dating, instead of using your home address.
- If the website asks for it, give your cell phone number instead of a landline number.
Now that you’ve met the one…
Remember that when you find a great match in the cyber world, you still need to think about the realities of dating offline, in the real world. Apart from protecting your physical wellbeing, you need to think about your sexual wellbeing too.
Make sure you and your partner get tested for HIV and STIs so you can enjoy a worry-free sex life, and always use protection. You can get tested at any Marie Stopes centre in South Africa, where you’ll also get great, confidential advice on contraception for you and your partner. Make an appointment now to get tested by simply filling in our online form, or find out more about our sexual healthcare services now.