First, the good news: Looking for love (or lust) online has finally shed its negative stigma, becoming the most common strategy for singles looking to meet someone new.
Now the bad news: Dating sites’ so-called “matching algorithms” may actually make it harder to find Mr. Right, according to a new study published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
But does that mean you should swear off dating sites for good?
“Not so fast,” says online dating expert Julie Spira. Just because it can be hard—not to mention daunting—doesn’t mean you should throw the baby out with the bath water.
Keep these tips in mind to make online dating work for you.
1. Don't turn your profile into a novel. When it comes to creating the perfect online dating profile, you want to give enough information about yourself, while still leaving room for romantic mystery, says dating and relationship coach April Braswell.
“We know that men are visual; they don’t like reading long-winded emails—or profiles. My recommendation is to keep it simple,” Spira adds.
2. Practice truth in advertising. One of the keys to digital dating success is to be authentic, Spira adds. “Do everyone a favor and don’t lie about your age. Add captions to the photos on your profile and include the year they were taken. And make sure to smile so you appear approachable."
3. Respond promptly. Remember the golden rules of waiting three days before phoning a guy back or not picking up when he calls? Forget ’em, Spira says. Since the era of Facebook and Twitter, the pace has picked up, big time. If a great guy writes to you, don’t hesitate to write back. Online dating is a numbers game and chances are he’s writing to several women at once. While you’re waiting a day or two to write back, he may have found someone else who’s piqued his interest.
4. Set up a phone date. Before you meet, have a chat on the phone to see if there's any chemistry.
Red flag: “If your date refuses to talk and insists on only sending text messages, move on,” Spira says. And if the conversation is like pulling teeth, wish him the best and be thankful you didn’t waste your Saturday night hanging out.