Relationships

6 online dating tips

By: Jen Kirsch

Author: Canadian Living

Relationships

6 online dating tips

By: Jen Kirsch

There is a bit of a stigma about online dating. You might think it's for people who are less social than you are. Or perhaps you're worried that someone you know might come across your dating profile and tease you about it. But everybody knows someone who has met their spouse or significant other online, so there is evidence that good things can come of dating in the digital world.

Julie Spira, an online dating expert, bestselling author and founder of cyberdatingexpert.com, shares six tips for finding a date online.

1. Create an irresistible profile
The first step toward making an online connection is to create a profile that gets noticed. "Men are so visual, they don't read your entire profile. But they do look through your photos," says Spira.

She recommends looking your best for these pictures and to post three to five images, since men respond more favourably to a higher number of photos. Your primary photo should be a headshot where you're smiling and looking into the camera, and where you look relaxed and approachable. You should also include a full-length shot.

"If you don't post a full-length photo he will think you have something to hide," Spira says. "Men want to see the full package." The next shot should be an activity shot, maybe of you on vacation or doing an activity that you enjoy, to show off more of your personality.

2. Pursue online dating like you would a job
When you're on the hunt for a new job, you invest time in putting together a clean résumé that presents you well and searching for the perfect positions to apply for. And when you get a call back for an interview, you put your best foot forward whether it ultimately leads to a job or not. If it doesn't, you don't quit looking for a job, you stay on the hunt until you find one.

The same idea applies to dating online, says Spira. Don't let a bad experience discourage you or cause you to write off online dating as a whole. "Make the kind of effort that you put into your business résumé and consider your online profile your love life résumé," she says.

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3. Take the relationship from online to offline as soon as possible
Since there is only so much you can learn about a person digitally, it's important to talk on the phone with any potential dates to see if you have phone chemistry. "You go back and forth with emails, instant messages and texts, and at the end of the day you have yourself a digital pen pal," says Spira. "The point of online dating is that it's just a vehicle to get you to meet someone offline in real life." So if you're still chatting online but haven't gone on a date, it's best to move on. If he's not available to date you in real life, find someone who is, Spira says.

4. Don't waste your time
When you do connect with someone and arrange to meet them in person, if it's not going well (whether there's no chemistry or you have nothing in common), be honest about it. Spira suggests saying something like: "I really enjoy talking to you, but I don't know if we have enough in common or if I feel a connection." Your date might be offended, but chances are he will appreciate your honesty. "Don't waste your time when you know in your heart of hearts that it's not going to be right," she says.

5. Do some research -- but not too much
People are going to Google each other and that's OK, but don't go overboard with your background checks. "I want people to look at the people they are going on dates with on Facebook to see if the profiles match. Check out that he is who he says he is, so you can feel safe before you go on a date with him," says Spira. But if you start reading his Twitter feed, his Facebook wall and monitoring his every move, it's a downward spiral. "There is a fine balance between too much information and enough information to make you feel safe," she says.

6. Keep the pressure off
Look at online dating as an opportunity to expand your social or business network -- it will help take off some of the pressure. The less pressure you put on the process, the more successful it will be. "Don't go on a date thinking about him being 'the one' -- do it to expand your network," advises Spira. Continue to set up other dates and to see who else is out there. "Don't get in the 'I'm in an instant relationship' mentality, because it will scare him," she says.

When you're dating online it's important to commit to the process and to go with your gut instinct. And make sure to be real with how you represent yourself and how you behave in a relationship. "There is nothing worse than being inauthentic," says Spira.

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6 online dating tips