Online dating is so ingrained in our cultural dating roadmap that it isn’t so much a question of whether you want to start online dating as when you’re going to give it a try. Maybe you’re just dipping your toe in the waters, maybe you’re back on apps after a breakup, or maybe you’ve been doing it forever and suspect you could be having a better time of it.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, what “rules” you’re supposed to follow, or are looking to get more matches, check out these nine experts’ number-one piece of advice for online dating. We could use all the help we can get, right?
Put yourself into a dating mindset.
“When building your profile and looking for potential dates, your mindset should follow what you’d like the outcome to be. Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship, a hookup, or something in between, let your mind consider the result you wish to achieve so that your profile vocabulary and tone match.” —Sunny Rodgers, ACS, clinical sexologist and certified sexual health educator
Don’t be timid.
“Be entirely yourself rather than projecting a more muted version of yourself. The more that you show your personality, the more the other person gets an idea of what a relationship with you would be like. You might as well jump in immediately!” —Gabrielle Alexa, love and dating writer
Be and put yourself first.
“We all want a flattering photo that peaks the maximum number of people’s interest. Go ahead and choose that picture, but recognize that it’s a slippery slope. There is a temptation to create or communicate a [version of] you that, like an Instagram post, will garner the most likes. Do not contort yourself to fit what you presume others desire. In your mind, put your wants first. Use Tinder to communicate what you actually desire, so you can find someone you truly like.” —Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., author of “Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free”
Stop looking for your perfect match.
“We know it sounds counterintuitive, but you read this right. Online dating makes it easy to filter people based on what’s worked for you before (or what hasn’t) and create an impossible mold of what you think is your perfect match. The problem is that eventually your matches all either seem to blend together and you lost interest, or you run out of options. Keep an open mind, and try [Liking] someone who isn’t your usual type. You might find that your ‘type’ isn’t as important as you thought.” —B+L, co-hosts of “Not Your Girlfriend’s Podcast”
Stop worrying about nailing a pickup line.
“I think that there’s this idea that you must have a witty, thoughtful, and overall brilliant opener when you’re messaging someone first on a dating app. That’s just not true. Sure, it could be cute if you managed to find a funny way to illustrate you read their profile and share a common interest, but if you can’t do that, don’t stress. It doesn’t matter what you open with as long as you open. ‘Hey, any exciting plans this weekend?’ is something you can say to anyone. Really, it’s as simple as that.” —Zachary Zane, bisexual activist and writer