I’ve Finally Mastered Online Dating—This Is What I Did

I used to have a serious love/hate relationship with online dating until I decided to modify my approach just a bit. By implementing these changes, I’ve significantly improved my experiences in meeting men online.

I got over the stigma. This was probably the biggest hurdle for me. Meeting strangers online was a big no-no growing up, so I had to learn to embrace the new normal as an adult. I had to convince myself that meeting a guy through a dating app was no different than meeting him in the mall. In fact, I don’t know any more about the guy in the mall than the guy online. Also, if he’s using a dating app, he’s at least showing that he’s interested in pursuing something with someone. We’re at least on the same page in the beginning.

I started being honest and straightforward in my profile. When I signed up on my very first dating app, I used a fake name and an obscure picture. I now realize how silly that was. Now, I make a conscious effort to be more authentic and truthful. This started with me using my real name. I then decided to actually write something in the “about me” section, which was left blank for months. I’m honest about what I’m looking for as far as marriage and kids. If a guy isn’t interested, he’ll keep scrolling and I’ll save myself a lot of headaches.

I uploaded multiple profile pictures. Instead of uploading my “best” pose, I give several looks at different angles. I did this after noticing that I didn’t like it when guys only had one picture on display. That one photo may not be enough to see if you’re actually attracted to the person, so I like to give guys as many options as possible.

I started making the first move. There are some apps that require women to take the first step in contacting a guy and I absolutely love it. You never have to hear from someone unless you speak first. This puts you in total control. I’ve learned that there are some guys who are just as nervous about online dating as I used to be, so I started taking things a bit further. If the conversation is going well and enough time has passed, I may ask for their number first—or at least get their last name to connect via social media.

I took advantage of video chats. This step comes after we’ve moved past the dating app to either a social media connection or phone calls. I believe in video chatting mainly because I don’t want to be catfished. If someone refuses to chat with you via video, you need to be suspicious. Either that person isn’t who they claim to be or they have a full family, wife included, at home. Either way, run for the hills.

I stopped giving out my number too soon. I made this mistake just once. I had a decent conversation with a guy that lasted several hours and decided to take the chance. He then called me at 4 a.m. the next morning. No sir. I had to block him after realizing he was a jerk. Now I make sure I get to know someone a bit better before exchanging numbers. I don’t have a set time frame, but if it’s one of the first things he requests, I’ll see it as a bad sign and move on.

I chose to only accept day dates for the first meeting. This is just a safety issue. I know bad things can happen at any time, but I prefer being in a public setting during the day over meeting someone at night. It makes me more comfortable overall.

I decided to practice patience. You run into so many horrible personalities through online dating, which makes it easy to get discouraged. But patience is key. In spite of all of the toxic jerks and plain weirdos online, I know there’s one out there for me if I just wait patiently.

I started talking to multiple guys at once. I previously focused on just one guy at a time. Once we connected, I didn’t bother pursuing any others. That was a mistake. The truth is, most online dating connections don’t last. It baffles me how I couldn’t grasp this concept in the beginning. Having multiple connections at once has greatly improved my chances of landing a date.

I relaxed. These dating apps don’t consume me. I also know they’re not the be all, end all to finding love. I’m still open to bumping into the love of my life on my next visit to the post office, but in the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy online dating for what it offers: a great opportunity to meet new guys—and maybe get a few great dates in the process.

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