Been single for a while? If you haven’t tried online dating yet, it might be the right time to join the bandwagon. Who knows, you might actually meet your dream girl or guy on the internet – you’ll never know if you don’t try. Interested but not sure how to start? Here’s a beginner’s guide to online dating for you.
Beef up your computer security
The internet is not a safe place. If you don’t have antivirus, anti-malware or any other internet security software installed, your computer is at an even higher risk. Everyday millions of security threats are lurking on the internet, and many of them are directly targeting online dating users. So before stepping into the realm, it’s better to take some preventive measures by installing suitable protection software. Even if you’re on a tight budget and cannot afford expensive products, you can still choose from the many freebies out there such as Avast.
Another important part to be careful with is your passwords. To protect your accounts on online dating sites, strong passwords that won’t be easily deciphered are a must. Poorly constructed passwords such as those with only a random word and a number can be easily cracked by brute force attacks, and hackers will then be able to access all your personal information online, including your email accounts, credit card details, bank info, and so on.
So how to create a strong password? One way to do so is to start with a long phrase. Let’s take a nice quote from the late George Carlin for an example: “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.” Take the first letter of every word to get IECPTIADI. Then replace some of the letters with numbers and you’ll get 13CPT1AD1. Next, replace some upper case letters with lower case ones and you’ll have 13CpT1ad1. Finally, add a special character at the front or the end of the string, and your strong password 13CpT1ad1* is created. Too difficult to remember? It won’t be the case if you’re using key phrases that you have already known by heart.
Choose an online dating site
Now you’re all set and good to go. If you’re not sure which one among the thousands of online dating sites works best for you, start with a popular one such as Match.com. Don’t sign up on too many sites at once, and look before you leap for premium membership. It’s always better to try everything out before considering a paid service; and even if you have already decided to become a VIP on a site, go for a monthly plan if the option is available. In this way, your wallet won’t suffer too much if things don’t work well. And if you’re lucky enough to score a stable date within the first few months, you can choose to stop renewing your monthly membership.
Another option is to go for free chatroulette services like Bazoocam. You can video chat with a random person on these sites, and if you don’t like who you’re talking to, you can always skip him or her and move on to the next one. However, don’t give too much personal or private information right away, because the person on the other side is still a complete stranger, and not everyone on these chatroulette sites are looking for a serious date or relationship.
Polish your profile… with honesty
No you don’t have to create a stellar profile by saying you’re the hottest babe or dude in the country. If you want to get into a real and lasting relationship, just try to be honest about everything, including your body type, height, personality, hobbies, etc. As suggested by The Huffington Post, you might even consider sharing about your sexual behavior. Avoid using fake or overly Photoshopped photos as profile pictures; instead, try to upload a full body image, plus another close-up shot of your face. If you want even better results, ask for help from photography veterans. On a similar note, be honest and realistic when describing the kind of partner you are looking for. Don’t mess around by writing fake information; it won’t do you any good if you’re actually looking for something real.
Last note: online dating is not a one-hit wonder
Don’t expect to find your perfect match within a few days or on your first date – it certainly can happen if you’re lucky enough, but chances are, it’ll take some time before you find the one. So keep at it! If your first few dates don’t end up too well, don’t give up and try again. With every date and every person you meet, you’ll inch closer to knowing what you really want. That’s the fun and beauty of online dating.