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How Can I Meet People Online? Real World Dating Tips for Singles

Updated on March 23, 2018
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Eric Standridge offers relationship tips and tricks based on personal experience from the perspective of a former shy guy.

Online Dating Advice: Dating in a New Age

When the web was young, online dating was frowned upon. Finding love online was like arguing with the man at the roulette wheel over what’s considered an odd number; it just wasn’t done. Those were the days of the wild and unruly web where predators stalked every corner and every contact could be a veiled disaster.

Those days have long since gone the way of dial-up and AOL. There are still dangers out there, but in today’s world, online dating is now the official preferred method for singles to date.

Still, for many, this is a new experience. For others, the ones who are internet experts, online dating just hasn’t worked for them.

This article is full of dating advice, including several online dating rules to help you in your search to find love online.

The Facts about Online Dating

For those who are still hesitant about online dating, the facts should speak for themselves:

  • There are over 40 million American singles that use online dating and social networking sites to meet new people. 1
  • Single adults who are more likely to use dating sites are ones who are more sociable and have high self-esteem. They also tend to put more value in romantic relationships.2
  • 49% of Americans know someone who has found love online. 28% know more than one person.3

Online Dating Advice: The "Do's" of Online Dating

Real World Dating Advice: When creating your online profile...

  • ...provide quality photos. Nothing says more about you than your photo; make sure it's clean, crisp, and recent.
  • ...proofread. Look, it's simple. Forget about using "text speak", and really take the time to make sure that your profile is written well. This is a presentation of who you are as a person, so put your best foot forward and go all out. Check your grammar, your spelling (most browsers have a spell check function), and make sure that the profile is readable.

  • ...create something to attract attention. Think about the last time you scanned through a magazine. What articles attracted you? What about those articles was attractive? Now stop and think about your profile. Typically, you have less than three seconds to make an impression. Three seconds to find love online. That's not a lot of time, so make those seconds count. You have your own personality, and your profile is a potential match's gateway to you. If you don't catch their eye within the first three seconds, they are more likely to keep browsing.

  • honest. It's simple, yet profound. Post a real picture of yourself. Don't claim to be someone that you're not. Answer this: What happens if you get along great with someone online and then decide to meet in person? Is your match going to know who you are, or are they going to know who you pretend to be? Sooner or later, the truth will catch up to you. You have a distinct personality, use it. Be honest the first time around, it will save a lot of misunderstanding later on.

Real World Dating Advice: When engaging in conversation with someone you haven't met in person...

  • different. What sets you apart from everyone else? What is it about you that people are attracted to? Be who you are, and be proud of that person. Do you have a good sense of humor? Use it. Are you smart? Be smart. Are you shy? on building your confidence, but don't pretend to be someone you're not. The point of online dating is to find love online by meeting someone whom you can have a successful relationship with.  You can only do that if the person accepts you for you.
  • enthusiastic. Take part in the conversation. If someone interests you, don't be afraid to show it. You don't want to come across as needy, but at the same time, you do want the person to know that you're interested.
  • personal. Ask questions, get to know the person that you're talking to. Listen with an intent to understand. In other words, take a leadership role in the conversation. Either you and your match are going to click, or your not. The only way to know for sure is to ask those questions that are important to you.

Real World Dating Advice: Other "Do's" of Online Dating...

  • patient. Finding love online isn't instant, even though that seems to be what everyone expects. There are those few that meet the person of their dreams within just a few short weeks, but those few are rare. Sometimes it could take months to meet the right person. Remember, there's thousands of new people that sign up daily.
  • ...Set Boundaries. Only you know what attracts you to another person. Only you know what's important to you. Examine those things, and when you're looking for a potential match, don't settle for someone that you're not compatible with. In the same line of thought, don't set too many boundaries; keep those lines to the important things. By setting too many boundaries, you may pass by someone who you could build a lasting relationship with.
  • ...have realistic expectations. It's a simple fact; the person you meet online is going to be different than the person you meet in person. Online dating is just a tool, it is a way to help you connect with other people. While they may provide you with a lot of information, you still miss out on important parts of their lives until you actually meet them. Only a small portion of their personality can be seen through the internet.

Online Dating Advice: The "Dont's" of Online Dating

Real World Dating Advice: When writing your online profile, don't...

  • ...lie. Especially about important things like marital status, sexual orientation, weight/appearance, children, disabilities, etc. This is the most basic fundamental rule for dating online. One day, you're going to meet someone that you're interested in. They are going to find out who you truly are. If you really expect to find love online, don't shoot it down before it even begins.  Simply put: honesty is the best policy.
  • ...write an unenthusiastic profile. If you're going to date online, make a commitment that you're going to give it your all. People can separate the sincere profiles from those written by people who are just "checking it out." You may be skeptical about online dating, but when you write a reluctant profile, that basically says that you're skeptical about the people you're trying to meet. Either give it your all, or don't do it at all.
  • ...write a generic and vague profile. Do not write, "I'm not good with talking about myself." Do not write, "I'm looking for a good girl/guy." Give people something to read; create interest. Talk to them as if you were talking to a good friend. Show them who you are by the words you use and how you use them. Generic profiles generally get generic results - which is none. Create an interesting profile that makes a statement about you and you're more likely to meet a potential match.

Real World Dating Advice: When engaging in conversation with someone you haven't met in person, don't...

  • afraid to start a conversation. I mean it. You'll never find love online unless you take the plunge.  Social etiquette has changed a lot over the years, especially over the internet. It's perfectly acceptable for a girl to initiate conversation with a guy. Further, by relying on other people to start a conversation with you, you'll miss out on a lot of great opportunities. Take control, and don't be afraid to start a conversation.
  • ...constantly compliment someone all the time, especially if you've just met them. The occasional compliment is acceptable, but when it becomes constant, you'll only come across as needy.
  • ...reveal too much too early. While you are interested in the person, and you do want to ask personal questions, shy away from drama that can ruin a good thing. Don't talk about your ex's, don't talk about how you can't live without your Pookie-Bear, and for God's sake, don't talk about how much it stings when you take a leak - save this stuff for later when you're in a committed relationship. You're trying to get to know one another during those first few meetings. Find out what their hobbies are, what they value in life, and what they do for excitement, but above all, don't reveal more than needs to be too soon.
  • ...confuse one person with another. This should be obvious, but if you're talking to several people at the same time, make sure you know who's who.

Real World Dating Advice: When using online dating sites, don't...

  • ...give up. There are thousands of people trying to date online just like you.  They are all looking for love online.  Even if you don't meet someone who you can romantically relate to within the first week, don't give up - keep trying. Eventually, you'll meet someone who's a good match for you.
  • ...force chemistry. What looks good on paper isn't always what works well in real life. You may meet someone online who seems to have everything you've ever wanted, but in real life, that person may turn out to be someone completely different. If you're not attracted to them in person, let them go. If you try to force things, you'll only drag out the inevitable.
  • ...try to find a connection when there simply isn't one. So you've been trying to meet someone online for months, but there's simply nobody that you're interested in. Give it time, or try another site. Don't settle on someone just to have someone to talk to. If you do talk to someone, let them know up front what your intentions are. Make sure that you are genuinely interested in the person before you make a romantic connection.

Online Dating Advice: The Myth about Rules

To put it quite simply, there are no rules for meeting people online. Everyone is different and unique, and everyone has different ways of doing things. What can be interpreted one way can always be interpreted another by someone else.

This list is meant to stimulate and encourage. Use this list as you may, but remember, it's up to you to take control of your life and make things happen.


1. Information cited from The National, an Abu Dhabi Media Company.
2. Information cited from PsychCentral
3. Information cited from PRWeb 

© 2010 Eric Standridge


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