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April 9, 2014
by Sheila Sayani, MA, MFT

Navigating Online Dating

April 9, 2014 02:55 by Sheila Sayani, MA, MFT

Everybody's doing it-

How many Americans have tried online dating? According to one study, while there are approximately 54 million single people in the U.S., 41 million have admitted to trying online dating. That means that out of every 4 single Americans, 3 of them have done or are currently doing online dating! While this number seems high, it actually should not come as any surprise.  As we have transformed into a world where the Internet and social media are a way of existing, it only makes sense that love connections would be made via the Internet.

What makes online dating so appealing? Well, firstly, it’s EASY! You don’t need to dress up, drive anywhere, or put much physical effort into it. And the other appeal is that it actually works. However, people often complain about the challenges of online dating. But if you are seriously interested in giving online dating a shot, then a few of the following tips can go a long way: 

  • Include a profile picture. Many people are hesitant to put a picture of themselves up on the internet. They often feel “exposed” or “uncomfortable” with the idea. While these feelings may exist, pushing through this first step is important. Just as you would like to see who you might be potentially pursuing a date with, they would like to see you as well! Profiles with pictures garner more attention. When choosing the “right” picture, make sure that it is a recent photo. Try to include a headshot of yourself so that potential daters can really see your face. If possible, share 2-5 pictures so that there is some variety. Stay away from using group photos, or a picture of you with your arm around someone. Photos should be neutral, but pleasant. Make sure your smile is welcoming and friendly. One helpful step to take is to ask friends which photos of you are most appealing and friendly.
  • Write in your profile. As you create your profile, keep in mind that having information in your profile is invaluable. Many avoid this section, or feel like they are unsure of what to say. This is your opportunity to charm and to express yourself. Be honest when writing your profile. We often have ideals of ourselves that we would like people to see, but make sure to take your mask off and be genuine. Share with others what is unique about you. Tell them about your passions. Avoid talking about very personal topics, but include some personally relevant information so that your profile is different from the thousands of others on the site.. Try to stay away from using clichés. Make your profile stand out and represent your voice. Turning to friends and family for ideas when writing about yourself can be helpful here again.
  • Make an effort. If you have decided to bite the bullet and try online dating, do not give up after your profile has been created! When you become a new member on a dating site, your profile is most viewed at this time. This means that it is important for you to be checking emails and to be making connections as soon as you join. When people write you, do not feel obligated to engage with everyone, but if there are people of interest, write them back. Try not to wait for days or weeks before responding. Make an active effort to read through profiles and find who appeals to you. Don’t be afraid to contact others because you “shouldn’t” be the one to contact them. There are no rules when it comes to who initiates contact online. Sometimes, it helps to set a schedule around when your check your profile. Perhaps you can say that every day from 6:00 pm- 6:30 pm, you will be going online to check and to respond to emails, as well as contacting people you are interested in.
  • Be realistic, but have fun. While for many the prospect and act of online dating is grueling, tell yourself that you are going in with a positive attitude. Going on dates and making connections with people can be a fun activity. Don’t fool yourself by saying, “I must meet someone online.” Think about online dating as another opportunity to meet people. It’s an opportunity, not a guarantee! Just because you have decided to pursue online dating, that does not mean that other attempts at meeting potential daters should go down the drain. If you make online dating your only source of connection, you will find yourself very disappointed. Online dating is not typically a short-term commitment. The process can take months or a few rounds and different dating sites. Going in with a realistic perspective can prepare you so that you are not disappointed. Make sure to laugh, smile and just enjoy the experience! 


About the Author

Sheila Sayani Sheila Sayani, MA, MFT

Let's face it--life sometimes poses challenges that leave us feeling overwhelmed & lost. As your therapist, I will help you find more fulfillment and satisfaction in your life & your relationships. I will provide a safe space for you to achieve what you are looking for.

Sheila Sayani can be found at
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