Dating

Online Dating – Can Love be Found on the Internet?

Still single? Where have you been hiding? Don’t linger in the rain forests too long. There’s lots of sunshine in the city. And because online dating has its safeguards making it a very sophisticated sport, you need not worry about being stalked. Cyberstalking has penalties that would make the mischievous think twice about harrassing you online.

Online Dating: Which One?

According to Jeff Cohen (about.com) who wrote a brief but packed guide on online dating, the top six online dating sites are:

  • Match.com
  • Yahoo! Personals
  • eHarmony
  • America’s Internet Dating
  • True.com
  • U-singles.com

As you can see, the Amazon is not the only place where you could hunt down that rare and almost extinct species of homo sapiens. You can take an exploratory and discovery tour without leaving the comfort of your living room. All you need is a high speed internet provider (you wouldn’t want to have dial-up service – think of the thousands of photos you can oggle at). With the numerous choices available to you, you’ll want to narrow down your choices to a select few so can start flirting harmlessly. Your flirting style will be your trademark and will determine how many responses you get!

Before settling on one online dating site, you may want to evaluate each one and sign up for a trial period. You’re not limited to the top six above. If you’re a Christian and prefer to meet fellow Christians, there are Christian dating sites as well. When you’re looking for a service to sign up with, find out what age group it specializes in.

We looked at the first two sites: Match.com and Yahoo! Personals. Match.com claims to have produced 250,000 marriages a year. For an online dating service that’s competing with many others, that’s a significant number. If this claim is true and they can prove it, the number of marriages that results from a dating service is a good selling point. After all, many are looking for a lifetime partner, not just a date. You do get a combination of people who won’t go beyond online flirting and those who are hard hitting hunters who wish to settle down and build a family.

Match.com introduces itself as the online dating service that “takes the lottery out of dating”, because they know that finding a date can be a time-consuming endeavor. Patience has its virtues, but the not-so patient do want to connect meaningfully and immediately. This is where Match.com fills that need.

Yahoo! Personals on the other hand caters to two distinct types of people: those looking only for dates, and those looking to build deeper relationships. Yahoo! Personals also makes the process of finding a date almost a painless exercise, guiding you through the steps and providing examples that you can follow. They have communication tools you can use to create an attractive profile and help with “how to say it” strategies.

Regardless of which online dating service you choose, you’re bound to stumble upon someone who will attract your attention. There are thousands – millions – of people who are hoping to find a friend, an e-mail buddy, and a match. If there’s compatibility, chemistry and camaraderie – we like to call it the three C’s – then the next letter in the alphabet could follow – D (as in dating). And if you do hit it off, you could skip the other letters and maybe – just maybe jump to – M (as in marriage)!

Ready to come out of your shell?

Profile is Key

Never written your own profile before? Don’t know what to say or how to say it? Afraid your profile will be ignored because it reads like the riot act? No problem. Most online dating sites have designed a questionnaire that will extract your preferences so their computers can yield suitable matches. What these dating software programs do is take highlights from the questionnaire and come up with a profile that’s 80% complete. The remaining 20% is what you want to add. It could range from “tell us something about yourself that you’re proud of” to “mention a few things you don’t want to hear on your first date.”

Generally, a profile will have to contain your age (sorry, but this is mandatory – to avoid mismatching an 18 year old with a retiree, for example), your geographical area (without necessarily divulging your complete address), personality traits, your views on love and romance andyour interests and passions (for purposes of compatability – although it has happened that pet lovers can still connect with pet haters and diehard organic farmers can connect with confirmed city slickers).

Now let’s tackle the photo issue. The reticence – or fear – of posting one’s photo online is perfectly understandable. You may have heard ofunpleasant incidents. Unfortunately, the numbers speak for themselves: 99% of online dating sites will confirm that posting a photo has a statistically higher rate of receiving replies. People on the prowl are like search engines or search spiders. If they don’t see you, you just won’t get “ranked” or get invited to the party. To know you is to see you – if an adage ever existed –and it couldn’t be truer for online dating.

Safety First

To show you how sophisticated and professional online dating services have become, they put a great deal of emphasis on privacy and anonymity. Of course you’d have to give up a bit on your anonymity, but privacy is 100% guaranteed. And if you happen to have some bad luck and find someone undesirable who is bothering you, site moderators will encourage you to report it. Your real name, address, phone number and private email address will never be given to anyone, unless YOU yourself give it to someone online.

If your online friendship or flirtation leads to a date, follow the cardinal rules: choose a very public meeting place, drive home alone, tell family members and friends where you will be going and what time you expect to be home, practice safe sex and make sure your cell phone is running on a full battery. Do not reveal too much of yourself on the first or second date unless your instincts tell you this is a person you can trust. Lastly, unless your date makes it expressly clear that he’s inviting you, pay your share of the bill so that no one gets the wrong impression. Just in case…

Chasing after love is a perfectly legitimate and noble undertaking, but don’t “court” trouble.

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