Thankfully, meeting someone online is so simple these days. There are plenty of websites out there tailor made to exactly what you're after ready to match you up with either a new friend, a casual date or your future husband or wife. In fact, a study conducted a couple of years ago by Match.com found 17% of couples, or 1 in 6, who married between 2006 and 2009, met each other on an online dating site.
You never know where online dating could take you/Image by Julien Haler
So is online dating for you? Well if you're a bit lonely, new in town or even reading this article by yourself late on a Saturday night then perhaps you could use some help. Read on for my advice on how to succeed in the world of online dating.
Pick Your Scene
There are plenty of websites out there to pick from, some free and others now. Don't just sign up to the first website you come across. Depending on what you're after, this is very important.
eHarmony is the place to go if you're after something serious
A lot of these guys also have smart phone apps so have a look there also, it could be an easier way of signing up. Blendr, for example, have a great app for the iPhone and iPad.
Picking the right site is absolutely important. You won't find anyone looking for something casual hanging around on eHarmony.
Be sure to fill out the about me sections as thoroughly as possible. Be clear in what it is that you're after. Don't lie here, but also leave a bit of mystery about yourself. Maybe mention about the time you injured yourself in a hilarious manner or about an overseas adventure you've had and see if you get any questions about them. It could be a great conversation starter.
The photo section is also very important. First impressions count and this is make or break. Don't pick a photo with multiple people and please, whatever you do, make sure you're smiling. No one wants to see what you look like on a bad day just yet.
All you need is something casual, like a snap you took when out on the town with friends, from a day at the beach or sitting down having a coffee and a laugh will do wonders. Adding some pictures showing off your hobbies is also a good move. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this right here proves it.
What to Look For
Be honest and open here. It's a total waste of time for you to go talking to someone who is only interested in something casual when you want to meet someone interested in a relationship. They might be nice to chat to, but you're not going to change their mind no matter how attractive you are. Just stick within your search parameters and you'll find plenty of people to relate to.
Plenty of people are dating online these days/Image by Ed Yourdon
Sit back and ask yourself what kind of person you're looking for online. All dating websites should make it easy to customise your search from age, height, smoking habits, whether or not they have pets, what industry they work in and even their hair colour, eye colour and Zodiac sign.
How to Talk Online
Etiquette is so very, very important. I can't stress that enough. Hopefully you've picked up a thing or two throughout your life but most important remember to be polite and pleasant. DON'T TALK IN CAPS or 'anthin lik thiz' because you're going to come across as rude and stupid.
It might take a while, but eventually someone will respond to a message of yours. Don't send an abusive message or anything like that if you don't hear back from that person you really like. Sad to say, but you might just not be what they're after.
Speaking of emails, be sure to send something that's going to stand out from the pack. A simple 'hi, how are you?' sounds perfect but unless they're super interested and your picture speaks volumes you're not going to hear back. Be funny, be witty, ask a couple of questions from things you read in their profile. Tailor an email to suit each person and you'll have great success, don't just make them feel like they've received the same template email you've already mailed to 10 other people.
Time to Meet Up
Congratulations! You've emailed someone, they responded, you guys hit it off and now it's time to meet up.
If you played your cards right you should already know plenty about the person so you'll have lots to talk about. Re-read their profile once more before you head out the door for that first date as a refreshed - there are sure to be plenty of talking points hidden within their interests.
Play your cards right and this could be you/Image by Ed Yourdon
I met my lovely husband on RSVP 11 years ago and we have just celebrated our 6th "Wedding Anniversary. I was a single mum, working in a predominantly female industry, I was in my mid 30's so the bar/nightclub scene wasn't for me. I dabbled in online dating for 3 years with plenty of "misses" and a few hits, before I met Mr Right. I would never have met my husband if it was not for online dating - he lived in Brisbane, I lived on the Gold Coast at the time. I tell all my single friends to give it a go - it really can work. Just be sensible and follow "the rules" (i.e. meet in a public place to begin with, don't be handing out your address or too many personal details too quickly, let someone know where you are going and who with - all the common sense stuff). It really is as great way to get to know someone - yes it's a bit scary and that first date can be nerve-wracking - but obviously I have no regrets. Go for it!