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How to Find a Date Online

Updated on December 19, 2012

Does Cupid...

A classic Greek statue of Cupid
A classic Greek statue of Cupid | Source

...Now Live In One Of These

This IBM computer actually dates from the early 1980s, but the basic design remains the same.
This IBM computer actually dates from the early 1980s, but the basic design remains the same. | Source

One Of The World's Leading Dating Sites

Zoosk was the first dating site I tried after seeing it advertised on Facebook.
Zoosk was the first dating site I tried after seeing it advertised on Facebook. | Source

A Review Of Zoosk

Why Online?

The first time I ever gave online dating any serious thought was around two years ago, when I noticed that some of my Facebook friends had signed up to an application which connected you to a dating website called Zoosk. Prior to this, I’d always regarded online dating as the kind of thing reserved either for the kind of people that never left their mother's basement, or for desperate middle aged men or women, who had perhaps come out of a long term relationship and were looking for something new. I know! How judgemental am I? After briefly considering it, I laughed off the notion, declaring proudly to myself that I was a young, reasonably good looking man, who, at 24 years old was surely in his prime. However, a closer look revealed that my prejudices were ill founded, a quick glance at some of the profiles on Zoosk revealed that many people, even very attractive people were taking the plunge into the world of online dating, presumably because either they were too busy to go to the traditional social hot-spots, or they were looking to meet somebody with a similar interests and a good personality, rather some of the sleazy characters that frequent those social hot-spots.

With my mind refreshingly broadened, I proceeded to open an account with Zoosk, but during the course of doing so. I had to complete one of the hardest tasks that any shy, reserved and normally introverted person could ever be asked to do. I had to sell myself, talk myself up, try to relay to people exactly why I would be good relationship material. At the time I remember thinking that nobody was going to be interested in me. But the response I got was astonishing, I kept receiving messages known as ’flirts.’ Basically whenever you click on a Zoosk profile, it gives you the option to click on a ‘flirt’ button which generates a series of auto messages, including ’Do you believe in love at first sight?’ It also gave you the option of typing in a custom message, and sending little gifts too.

I sent messages out to a few girls that seemed nice, but never received any responses which seemed bizarre and a closer inspection at most of the ’women’ sending me messages revealed that they were only 18, a little too young for me. Although, from the look of some of their profile pictures I wouldn't have been at all surprised if they were much younger than 18. That instantly set off alarm bells in my head, so I chose to ignore any messages from anyone younger than 21. I do remember receiving a lovely message from a 23 year old woman, who shared some of my interests. However, when I tried to respond, I was left feeling bitterly frustrated.

Free Doesn't Always Mean Free

Often whenever you see an advert for a dating website on the TV or internet, they’ll make sure to mention that it’s free of charge, but there's a catch. It is indeed free to register, but you then to have to pay for a subscription in order to enjoy the full benefits of the site. This goes for all of the big dating websites like Zoosk, Match and eharmony. It’s a shame really because I’ve heard nothing but good reports from these websites, but I guess it’s a case of getting what you paid for. Personally, I wasn’t prepared to throw £20 a month at a dating site on the off chance that I might actually find Miss Right.

So it was back to the drawing board, or Google in my case. I searched for dating sites that were totally free of charge and the one that kept appearing in the search results was one called Plenty of Fish. I had heard of it before, but from what little research I’d done, I’d developed the notion that it was a simply a place where sleazy people arranged hook up’s and that kind of thing. However, upon closer inspection. I, was once again proven very wrong.

A Truly Free Dating Site

Plenty of Fish is one of only two totally free dating sites along with okcupid.com
Plenty of Fish is one of only two totally free dating sites along with okcupid.com | Source

How To Succeed On Plenty Of Fish (For Men)

How To Succeed On Plenty Of Fish (For Women)

Plenty Of Fish.Com- It Really Is Free!

Plenty Of Fish calls itself the largest dating site in the world, and its not hard to see why. It’s 100% free, you can opt to purchase a subscription, but all that really does is give you a better ranking in searches and also allows you to check when a person was last online. The range of different people, all looking for different things was staggering. Everything from simple friendship to intimate encounters (sex) was represented, there were plenty looking to enter a long term relationship, but what astonished me was that there were some women who were actively seeking somebody to marry.

When it came to creating a profile, Plenty Of Fish gives you a little helping hand by telling you what to talk about, chief among them is write about what makes you unique. Oh God! I thought. How am I supposed to know that? After a little bit of research via Google I came up with a detailed profile that hopefully would do the talking for me. Incidentally, my uniqueness came to me one night while lying in bed. Of course! I was raised predominantly by two women (my Mom and Nan.) Over the years they had instilled a perception and view of women that sadly many of my male friends lacked. I used to hear it all the time whenever socialising with my school and college friends, things like: ’Do you ever tidy your room?’ ’No way mate, that’s a woman’s work, so my mom does it!’ I always had to try hard to contain my disgust at hearing such sentiments, but at the same time I knew that they couldn’t help it. It was the way they had been brought up and it would have been foolish of me to try and change their outlook and perception of the fairer sex.

Anyway, I digress. With my profile set up, I proceeded to complete a Chemistry and Relationship Needs Test. The Chemistry Test basically assess your personality so that the site can send you suitable matches. While the Relationship Needs Test assess all of the things that you value in a relationship and again sends you likeminded or compatible matches. After completing that, it was time to go for ‘fishing.’ I remember reading during the course of my research that women receive twice as many messages as men, so the chances of getting a reply to a message are very slim. Moreover, it wasn’t just the amount, but the content, and some of it was shocking beyond belief. One woman wrote on her profile: ’Do not send me pictures of your w****, I’ve seen enough.’ Another wrote: ’No! I will not show you my b****!’ Also, there seems to be a lot of men, judging from what the women have written, going around and requesting private webcam sessions- how disgusting!

Initially my spirits soared as the number of girls viewing my profile rocketed, but the lack of messages seemed to suggest that any interest they were expressing was fleeting at best. I decided to take the initiative and send messages to any girl whose profile made me stop and look twice. I wasn’t necessarily looking for physically attractive women, but simply likeminded women who shared some of the same interests as me, another factor I took into consideration was compatibility, so I was always took the time to examine their Relationship Needs and Chemistry results, if they had been completed. Prior to joining the site, I watched a video about the best kind of message to send to a woman you may like. The fact of the matter is that women like what you notice about them, and I’m not just talking about their features or what they’re wearing. Just as important, women like a man with a good sense of humour. So whenever I sent a message, I always tried to be witty, while at the same time highlighting something in their profile, whether it be their job, hobby or interest that aroused my curiosity.

Browsing through the profiles, I quickly learned that many of the ’pretty’ girls, I.e. the ones plastered in make up or wearing short and tight dresses seemed to focus more on putting up as many as pictures as possible and neglecting to say anything about themselves, apart from things like ’Ask me.’ It may sound like I’m generalising here, but I’m only speaking from personal experience. Within two or three days I’d sent out maybe half a dozen messages, but my expectations were low, I didn’t even expect to receive one reply. But within another two days, I received two, one of the girls even apologised to me for the delay in writing back to me. Over the next few days, my low expectations were blown completely out of the water. I’m now in regular contact via text with one and have even arranged a date with her. Moreover, I received two more messages, with one of the women referring to me ’as a very nice guy’. How’s that for an ego massage.

I shall conclude by offering some simple tips on how to be successful on an online dating site:

  • Create a detailed profile that reveals what makes you special and appealing to a potential partner. Women like men with an element of depth. Correct spelling and grammar is an absolute must, as women value intelligence very highly. Make sure you mention any goals/aspirations and dreams that you may have, because women love a man with determination, drive and ambition. Try to think of something that makes you unique, whether it be a talent or something else and home in on it.
  • Don’t just upload pictures of you standing in front of a mirror holding your phone. Upload pictures of you having fun with your friends and family. It can be awkward trying to smile on demand, but if a woman can see you when you’re naturally happy that’s a major bonus.
  • Make sure you include a full body shot. I’ve scoured a lot of profiles and have noticed that many women only have photos of their faces, which is good, but men like to see the full body, and the same goes for women too. Concealing the rest of your body from a photo may suggest that you have something to hide.
  • Be honest- if you smoke, say so. If you do drugs, say so. If you’ve already got children, say so. If you’ve already been married before say so…okay, you get my drift. Lying when trying to find a partner will get you nowhere, because sooner or later you’ll come unstuck, and more than likely you’ll end up single again.
  • When messaging a woman- never just simply say ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ because that will result in instant message deletion. Also, never, and I repeat never attempt to call a girl ‘babe,’ 'babes,’ or anything similar on first contact, or any time in my book. For some reason, a lot of men think that women like being called such names, but I can assure you that most do not, and instead of sounding cool, you sound sleazy and slightly pervy, so please refrain.
  • Make sure you only message girls whose profile contains something that arouses your interest. Focus less on what she looks like, and more on what kind of person she is and home in on anything that interests you, while remaining honest about yourself.
  • Once you’ve messaged a woman, wait for them to reply before sending another message or deciding to take the burgeoning relationship to the next level e.g. swapping phone numbers. Do not resort to harassing girls that don‘t reply. If she doesn’t reply, then take the hint, she’s not interested, so move on.
  • Do not take rejection personally. Online dating is very much a numbers game, the more good and well thought out messages you send, the more replies you’ll receive.
  • Take advantage of the forums if the dating website has one. Ask questions, digest answers, read and absorb the knowledge of others who have been successful on the site. You’ll find that just like on Hubpages, the community is very supportive and always willing to help someone when needed.

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    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      JKenny - Great hub and great advice!! I tried Zoosk for a little while and had the same frustrations you did. My reaction was the same too. But then one of my brothers and a cousin came along and found someone to marry online. My cousin met his wife on their church dating service. My brother was looking for women from another country and ended up with a nice Russian girl. They've both been married for several years now. Maybe I'll try again.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi again watergeek, yep Zoosk was a pain in the ass. But I'm glad that your cousin and brother have found happiness on there. You really should give it another go, but I'd suggest Plenty of Fish. I'm doing really well on there, I'm chatting to four girls, and I've got a date arranged with one next Friday. The way things are going, I'll have to change my name to Casanova hehehe. Thanks for stopping by.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      James, A very detailed look at online dating. Having been married 32 years, I have little interest in going to any of the sites, yet, I am constantly bombarded by their emails wanting me to stop in. Being honest on a profile would probably not help me any, especially once the wife found out I'd been looking around. C'est le vie! Great hub!

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Richard, you're very lucky that you don't need to go down this avenue. It's for poor saps like me hahaha! I'm not sure why they keep sending you emails, surely there must be a way to stop them.

      Funnily enough I do see married and attached people on there who are looking for friends. But I don't know, I'd get quite suspicious if my partner was still surfing dating sites. Oh well! Hopefully I'll find someone special soon, and I can leave the online dating world behind forever. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Diane Woodson profile image

      Diane Minton 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

      Well done, personally I think that it takes allot of depersonalization in the whole concept. However lots of people like it. lol

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Some great advice there James. The secret seems to be to treat potential partners as interesting human beings first and to value yourself. I hope it brings you great joy. Good luck.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Diane, I can understand that view. Its why I've stayed away from dating sites until very recently. However, I'm one of those people who definitely like it. I'm going on a date next Friday and I'm really excited about it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Chris, that's it, you've hit the nail on the head. Never set your standards too low and remember above everything else that you're talking to other human beings. Thanks for popping by and the good luck, it's all going well thus far.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Good luck, James. I hope things continue to go well. I never had good luck on any of the sites. Nowadays, there are so many people from Africa using pictures that they have stolen, and trying to bilk money from you. They are easy enough to spot, but that just turned me off. I do understand what you are saying, though. Your advice is very good.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Deb, that's the problem when you decide to sign up to these sites. You never quite know who you're dealing with. When I was Zoosk, I kept getting messages from 18 year old girls, but I'm pretty confident that they were much younger. So it always pays to be careful.

      Also, I think there may be a possiblity that gay men may be posing as girls so that they can pick up straight men. I say this, because I came across a girl whose username was Stevie. It did arouse my suspicions, but it might be paranoia on my part.

      Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      I happen to know a girl named Stevie. She's really nice, warm, creative, definitely female. Sometimes girls are given boy names because their parents expected (or wanted) a boy and already had the name chosen.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Really! Thanks for that watergeek. Maybe I am just being paranoid, just seemed a bit suspicious. But now you come to mention it, I do remember a girl in my school called Shane. Apparently her Dad really liked the name and decided that was what he was going to call his child that, regardless of gender. So thanks for pointing that out, and reminding me of a person I'd long since forgotten.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      lol...excellent advice!

      i met my man on-line - about a year and a half ago - and it's been amazing..

      your tips should be adhered to - you know whereof you speak! It's a jungle out there..

      i shan't share the site on which we met - as it's not exactly mainstream - but, it's the same all over!

      It's SO easy to write a profile that will DRIVE away women in droves..lol

      i've often reached out and offered advice to the lovelorn..lol..

      Such as the men that lead with something along these lines: Recently divorced, or - I haven't dated in 20 years, BUT, or - I kicked the bitch out, or - I've been a little depressed lately..

      LOL...

      you know, James

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Oh God! Men actually write that stuff, that's just as bad as some of the women I've seen that put things 'Don't know what to write here!' Yes, we all feel like that when we create a profile, but don't actually say it, you've got to try and sell yourself and show you that have at least a bit of confidence lol.

      What exactly do you mean by not exactly mainstream eh?...hehehe...only kidding, I know you won't tell. Glad you found happiness though.

      Anyway thanks for stopping Leslie, appreciate it.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      "I kicked the bitch out . . . "? Hahahaha! I can't believe someone would start a profile to attract women that way. It reminds me of a guy I used to date. He told me how his wife and daughter would do a great job cleaning the house; then he and his son would deliberately mess it up again. He thought it was funny, but talk about a warning! Luckily, all guys aren't like that, James Kenny included. :)

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hahahaha! Oh right! Nice one watergeek. You had me going there for a second...or a few hours :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So interesting and very useful also. A great hub .

      Eddy.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you very much Eddy. Glad you liked it. Take care and enjoy your weekend.

    • Appsthatpayyou profile image

      Appsthatpayyou 4 years ago from London

      Hi JKenny. An absolutely real look at online dating. Super hub.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you Appsthatpayyou, glad you liked it.

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

      As someone who's been married since before the internet, I found this interesting.

      I appreciated how you stressed that humane values and good sense are universal, whether in a bar, a church social, or on-line. I very much like your words, "Never set your standards too low and remember above everything else that you're talking to other human beings."

      A friend of mine from grad school found her husband from a personal ad mentioning Star Trek in a New York Jewish newspaper: a "long tail keyword search" that got results.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks Kris, I think that's what people tend to forget when they're on the internet, they forget that there's a person behind the words, a person with feelings that can easily be broken. People seem to think that just because they can't see or hear the person, that gives them licence to behave however, they want. I'm personally a big believer in treating others in the same way I'd like to be treated- it's a simple philosophy and it works.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting diversion from your more typical subjects. I am so glad to be happily married. I have friends who have navigated these sites. I'm not sure I would have your courage to put yourself out there. Being a fellow introvert it is a very hard thing to do. Congrats on having the courage to take that step. Hope it works out for you!

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      I'm happy for you Teresa, hopefully some day I'll find someone I'm willing to share my life with. Trust me, it was terrifying, and there are a lot of weirdos out there. Fortunately for me things seem to going very well indeed. But its still early days yet.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, James, you've written a really great, well-thought-out, been-there-done-that hub, and I clung on to every word. I used to think online dating was for 'losers', people who hadn't a chance of finding someone the 'regular' way. Boy, was I wrong! Because my kids and my friends have many friends who are happily married to partners they found online. As of this writing, we know three couples who are on their way to getting married. I'm quite sure their site was Ok Cupid.

      How did your Friday date go (7 weeks ago?)?

      Very interesting work, James. Voted UP.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Mizjo, Yes I was of the same opinion. But like you I was proven wrong. Its so much better than trying to find a girl in a nightclub, because there's more of a chance that you'll end up with someone you're actually compatible with. My Friday date went brilliantly, I've seen her twice since, and seeing her again in the New Year. We've already reached the boyfriend/girlfriend stage and we've both since come off plentyoffish.com; so we'll see where it goes...

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      That's wonderful, so happy for you both. You certainly look like a great catch! She must be as well.

      Now to make my daughter interested in online dating. She's so resistant!

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Haha! Thanks for that mizjo. Best of luck with your daughter!

    • profile image

      Beth37 4 years ago

      I have to admit you pissed me off a little with that whole "desperate middle aged ppl coming out of relationships" remark. I would hope you're no more desperate when you're 40 than you are when you're 2o, but whatever... that aside, it was a good hub. I think you gave men pretty good advice. :)

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Okay, I'll admit I was wrong to say that, you can be desperate at any age, believe me I know. Thanks for popping by.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you very much!

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