Once you’ve decided to find your next date online, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by how much hard work you have to put in.
I mean, sure, it can seem real easy at first. You make a dating profile, send out a few messages, arrange the first date … but then the time to go on the date looms and they either flake, or they turn up and look nothing like their pics.
Actually getting somewhere with someone pretty awesome online takes more work than that. Separating the wheat from the chaff and talking – and meeting – someone who seems genuine, cute, and who you really connect with is effort. Major effort.
But it’s totally okay. If you’re new to this online dating world – first of all, congrats – I’m going to use my experience to help you out with 15 online dating tips for beginners so that you get more responses and go on more dates with great people.
15 Best Online Dating Tips
1. Use The Right Photos For Your Dating Profile
Your pics are the biggest real estate on your online dating profile. These are your attention grabbers. If you want to take only a single thing away from this online dating advice then it got to be this.
First impressions are everything when it comes to online dating. If you’ve uploaded the wrong pics, people just won’t right-swipe on your profile.
Especially your profile picture. If your follow-up photos are meh it won't be that big of a deal but if your profile picture is bad then you will not land any matches and dates.
A wrong pic might be one that’s too dark, one that hides your face, or one that’s otherwise low-res and blurry.
You need to give out the right vibes and energies with your pictures because it’s these and not your personality that’s going to grab attention first. Here are some tips:
- Face forward in at least one pic.
- Mix things up with both headshots and full-body shots. Not showing your body suggests you have something to hide.
- Try to upload at least one activity-based photo. You don’t need to be jumping out of a plane but it’s better if you’re doing something fun and outdoorsy.
- Don’t pout! It makes you look like you take yourself too seriously and people generally don’t want that when they first start chatting to someone.
- Avoid filters – No one truly believes you look like that!
2. Don't Leave Your Bio Blank
Don’t make the mistake that many beginners make by not adding a bio.
While simply adding a link to their Instagram account might work for some of the hottest people on the planet, it hardly helps to get a conversation started.
Moreover, your bio will act as a dog whistle to people you want to connect with.
Make sure to create a bio that preserves the tone of the platform, too.
For example, a Tinder bio looks very different to an OkCupid's bio.
4. Be Short, Snappy and Engaging in Your Openers
You don’t want your first messages to be long most of the time because it can put the other person off.
C'mon, it's just a dating app.
Especially if they’re super busy, seeing a huge message in their inbox can make them puff their cheeks out in exhaustion. They might think about getting back to it later, but they might just decide not to bother.
So, it's a major deal breaker on dating apps.
A good idea is to send short, snappy but engaging first message to people to keep the conversation flowing:
- Short – Preferably send two or three lines of text for each message. Break a big message up into smaller messages
- Snappy – Be direct and to the point all the time
- Engaging – Ask questions so that the other person has something to reply to. Questions keep conversations moving forward
Inside Scoop: Tips For First Online Dating Message
3. Be Funny on Dating Apps
I get that some people don’t know how to be funny on dating apps. But if you can crack a joke – even a really terrible one – as soon as possible, it helps both people to relax, builds rapport and can move things forward.
It’s important that you don’t take yourself too seriously, at least at first, as most people online dating don’t want to get sucked in by vampire energy straight away!
And being humorous can be really easy, especially if you’re talking to someone who’s naturally funny.
As an example, I got talking to a girl on Tinder once and – almost straight away – I jokingly said I’d have to un-match her because she hadn’t seen my favorite movie.
Then, a few messages later she jokingly threatened to un-match me because of something I hadn’t seen. She appended it with an emoji so that I knew she was kidding around.
This kind of humor is fantastic at creating sizzling connections and you should use it as soon as you can.
5. Don’t Get Desperate For Quick Replies
I used to oscillate between following up and not following up when someone hadn’t replied to my last message for a while. Now? I never follow up with someone I’m chatting to on an online dating site.
- If they’re interested, they will get back to you eventually. Even if it’s been 5 days or a week, just hold your horses. They’re busy and if you break ranks and say “hey, just wondering if you got my last message?” you will instantly make them lose attraction for you. Be cool, be chill, and just wait it out!
- If they don’t get back to you at all, they’re not interested, I’m afraid. A follow-up might draw out another reply from them, but believe me – it’s more of a pity reply than anything else. Sending lots of follow-up messages means you’re doing all the work for absolutely no reason. It’s not going anywhere so just quit and move on.
6. Don’t Reveal Your Feelings Too Early
Nope, you’re not in love with them after just 4 messages. And, no, they’re not the amazing person you’ve been waiting for all this time.
The thing is that it’s very easy to idealize people we’re talking to online. In their pics, they look exactly like the crush we’ve always had in our heads.
And they seem so nice, friendly and genuine!
So much so that, before we know it, we’re telling them that they’re the person we’ve been waiting for all this time and we just had to say it because we love making people feel good.
Well, just don’t. You don’t know them yet. You think you know them but all you’ve done is idealise them in your head.
And revealing your feelings so soon makes you look weak … and unattractive. So save all that for now. Capeesh?
7. Be Mysterious
The thing with online dating is that you’ve got a fantastic chance to create something that instantly creates attraction: Mystery.
The mystery is what both men and women are attracted to, even if subconsciously. When we don’t know what someone is up to, when we don’t know when – or even if – they’ll get back to us, it can drive us crazy.
And the best thing? It’s so easy to create mystery on dating sites. All you have to do is take your time replying to them. Don’t reply instantly. Always wait for a few hours. Wait a few days occasionally.
Don’t worry, if there’s attraction already, you won’t break it by going AWOL for a few days. You will only increase it.
8. But Don’t Ghost Them Completely
Being mysterious and vanishing off the face of the earth are two different things. When you disappear for two or three days, you’re a mystery.
When you vanish for a month and then return … and then vanish for another month and then return because you always forget to check your dating accounts – you’re erratic.
And they might think you’ve got something to hide, such as a wife or husband.
If you’re really bad at checking your online dating accounts, get their number if you think this could go somewhere.
9. Reply At Their Pace
As well as creating mystery, it’s always a good idea to reply at their pace. Why? Because this creates rapport.
Rapport is super important when it comes to online dating, and you want to get into it as soon as possible (see above where I discuss cracking an early joke). When you’re in rapport with someone, it’s then yours to lose. Unless you do something silly, you’re on your way to get potential partners for your next relationship.
So reply at their pace most of the time. If they take a day to reply, you take a day to reply. If they suddenly take an hour to reply, you take an hour to reply. Mirror them.
10. Wait At Least a Week Before Asking For The First Date
The problem for beginners is that it’s very easy to get sucked into the idea that this person you’re talking to right now might be your ONLY chance. As such, you make the mistake of asking for a date after 2 messages.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
Asking for a date too soon – no matter how well you’re connecting – makes you look needy and desperate. Instead, it’s a much better idea to wait at least one week so that your matches feel comfortable.
One week is good because it definitely isn’t too soon and it isn’t too late. You can wait a bit longer and keep them guessing, but you don’t want to wait too long because things can fizzle out if you’re not careful.
11. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Never feel sorry for yourself in your messages when online dating. Had a bad day? Okay, you could mention it if you’re already in rapport with someone, but you will break rapport if you dwell on your bad day.
No one is here to save you just yet. Cut the whiny talk and save it for your best friend. When it comes to online dating, you need to stay light and positive at all times.
12. Spread Your Bets
Do you really think the person you’re talking to online is only talking to you right now? Maybe – but probably not.
To really succeed at online dating, you have to go into this with what’s known as an abundance mindset. This is when you believe there are lots of options out there. In other words, if this one doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter because you’ve got another option.
If, however, you go into this with a scarcity mindset, which is when you believe the person you’re talking to is your only option, you’re far likelier to screw things up by appearing needy and desperate. You miss them (and tell them so). You want to fast-track a date before they get away. You send follow-up messages. You ask how their day went every single day.
It’s a much smarter idea to talk to as many people as you can. This will not only build up your experience with online dating, but it will also ensure you don’t hyper-focus on just one person.
13. Cast Your Net
Spread your bets and cast your net, too.
What the heck does this mean?
It means venturing a bit further out of your current location because, well, you just never know if Mr or Mrs Right is 1 mile out of your current set location. Opportunity can knock anywhere so be opened minded about where you look for love.
14. Don't Get Obsessed With Online Dating
I see this mistake from beginners all the time: They commit to online dating so much that it’s all they think about.
All they think if is their next long term relationship. Finding love takes time.
They check their profiles obsessively and get upset when no one’s messaged them.
Be cool, be chill and make sure you crack on with your life. If you don’t, online dating will consume you and you’ll lose because you’ll soon start appearing needy and desperate.
Online dating should be something you do on the side for now until romance genuinely begins to bloom.
15. Have Patience
Lastly, and following on from the above point, have patience with this. You won’t meet someone straight off the bat, and it might even be a few days before you get your first genuine message.
You might have a few bad dates too but that's the part of game, right?
Learn to left swipe on profiles of other profile because you don't need to rush otherwise you will only bad first dates.
Time is on your side. Just have patience.
Use these 15 online dating tips to get yourself started on the online dating scene. There’s a lot to take in here, but the main things are that you be yourself; that you remain confident; that you’re fun and positive; and that you put the best version of yourself out there.