The Perfect Juggler’s Guide to Dating: Getting Started
Ok, so you've set up your online dating profile. You've answered the 324 questions it asks you (yes MySingleFriend.com I'm looking at you). You've chosen your 5 best photos and you've pressed save.
And now you wait…
If you're using an app like tinder then you need to start swiping. I have some guidelines what to expect on that app here.
However, if you're using a website, whether it be a local one like the Kent dating site, the Norfolk dating site, the Northampton dating site, the Oxford dating site or Shropshire dating site or a national one like Match.com, then you have a few options.
You can wait for the messages to roll in.
This could go two ways. It could work out well or could leave you disappointed. With these websites anyone can see your profile, unless you make yourself private, and therefore anyone can approach you. This may make for some fun conversations or it may mean your inbox quickly becomes full of lewd comments and requests for sexual favours. Do not do the British thing and politely respond to all your messages. Sadly you saying 'That's a very kind offer but no thank you' will be read as 'That sounds like a good offer but I want you to try harder and carry on sending me messages'. Find the delete button early and also the block button and use at your will.
By all means don't ignore everyone, every now and again there will be a ray of sunshine with a legitimate, interesting profile so start chatting and see how it goes.
You can send some messages yourself
In this equal (ish) world who says we can't send the messages first? If you spy a hottie and his profile sounds good then drop him a line. Sadly 'Heys' don't really spark the imagination so mention something you have in common. Crack a joke. Even a hideously cheesy line can sometimes break the ice…just so long as it's clear it's ironic to both parties! Just don't get too hung up on whether you get a message back or not. Sadly this online dating lark is mostly about fluke and the law of averages. Who's online at the same time as you. Who's not chatting to anyone particular already. Who's looking for the same thing as you relationship wise and who you catch an eye of with your photos. So don't get disheartened if you don't hear back from one guy. There's many more to choose from!
For the shy types (or the old-fashioned types) you can view someone's profile and hope they get the hint and message you.
This is a sneaky way of surreptitiously making yourself known to another person without having to worry about what to say first. Most dating sites let you see who has viewed you so, if someone you like the look of pops over to your profile do the same to theirs and hope he takes the hint. Or if you've been trawling through the options available to you and spot a dark, handsome stranger (which can sometimes seem like finding a needle in a haystack I know) then take a look at their profile and hope for the best.
No matter how you start your conversation sadly there are a lot of less than legitimate people on these sites so a few thing should to bear in mind:
- If they look too good to be true, it's probably because they are. That American doctor who looks a lot like Ryan Gosling and wants to marry you at the earliest opportunity may not be legit.
- If they don't have a photo, more often than not it's because they have something to hide. Every phone has a camera nowadays so 'I haven't go at any photos at the moment' is not a good enough excuse in my book.
- If they say they're from England but seem to be messaging you like English is not their first language it's because it probably isn't.
- If they say they want a long term relationship but their interests include 'gynaecology' or 'oral exams' they may be telling fibs.
My best advice is to dive in and explore the site. About 1 in 10 chats may lead to a date but what else are you doing with your evenings? Be safe and only give out your number when you're 100% comfortable with doing so but have fun. And let me know how you get on!
Disclosure: I was commissioned to write this post.