“My friends have convinced me to try going online to resuscitate my dating life. While I’ve hooked up online for casual sex, I’ve never imagined that I could find a partner this way. I’ve had a profile up on a gay dating site for two weeks now and, although I’ve got flirtatious messages from a pretty wide mix of guys, it’s so hard to know how to approach this.”
We’ve all grown up being inundated with romantic narratives that present the initial meeting of future lovebirds as an almost magical and serendipitous event. So I can see how clicking and scrolling through countless carefully (or mindlessly) constructed profiles would seem like a charmless venture. I’m not suggesting that you approach dating like a tax return, but you may have to adjust to seeing this process as a practical one that, at times, will feel arduous and disappointing. After all, a good relationship is something that deserves a little elbow grease.
For starters, it’s important to choose the right dating site for you. Considering you are looking for a relationship, pick a site with that emphasis over those that seem mostly geared toward quick hookups. Spend a little time perusing different sites to see the types of guys and profiles on each one. Once you choose a dating hub to go with, work on creating a profile that reflects what you’re all about and is clear about what you are looking for. Steer away from obvious lines like “I’m into having fun” or “I can’t believe I’m on here.” Not only are they boring but they do nothing to distinguish you from the zillions of other boys out there. And please don’t get someone to take a staged and perfected photo of you — show a good but realistic shot that hopefully reveals a bit about your personality.
One of the biggest complaints about online dating is the amount of correspondence that leads nowhere. When people are online, they tend to flirt and express themselves in ways that they never would in person. While you are full-heartedly seeking out a mate, a lot of dudes online are simply flirting as a way of getting attention or distracting themselves. Try to pay attention to whether or not the messages you receive actually respond to the content in your profile. If some guy is seriously interested, he should be able to demonstrate that more articulately than simply praising your hotness or sending a virtual wink. This goes both ways: Try not to waste others’ or your time by lazily messaging guys you don’t realistically see as potential matches.
The biggest rule of thumb is: Trust your instincts. Don’t avoid loneliness by investing energy in guys your gut knows are wrong for you. Also, be authentic in how you present yourself so others can get an accurate read on you. If you are crushing out on someone, move the contact to phone and then in-person swiftly because you’ll only discover how you really feel about someone when you log out and join the real world.