Are you ready for online dating?

If you have been contemplating the idea of online dating but haven't had the courage to take the plunge yet, maybe it's simply because you are not sure if it's right for you.

A lot of people feel the same when they hear terms like online dating and cyber-dating, as they sound so overwhelming. After all, there are millions of people out there, literally a whole world waiting for you to meet, and this can be intimidating and puzzling for anyone.

If this is how you feel, then you will need to think about what your expectations are of a date and whether trying out online dating could bring you closer to what you are really looking for.

Met on Midsummer's Eve

Getting to know yourself first

Given the fact that online dating requires you to make a profile of who you are and what you want in a personal relationship, first you need to make this clear to yourself. So take your time and really think about this. Try to understand yourself and establish what you want to gain from online dating from the very beginning. You're the one who knows yourself best, so try to honestly say if you think there may be a possibility for you to find someone online. If the answer is yes, then go for it!

Bear in mind that you should not go online to look for a relationship simply because your friends do. Peer pressure is always worth resisting. Moreover, if you feel uncomfortable about this kind of contact, e-mailing potential dates or sending instant messages, online dating will probably not work for you.

Being open minded

If you want to access online relationship opportunities, you must be open to all kind of possibilities, since people you meet online may become your friends or dates. Try not to be judgmental, as they are all just ordinary people, just as interesting and exciting like yourself. So if you decide to go ahead, make sure you do this with a friendly, welcoming attitude and with an open mind.

You should also bear in mind to be honest regarding your intentions, as well. If you want only casual dates, make sure you let potential partners know about it. It is a question of fairness and respect not to get another person's hopes high, and waste their time and money (especially if you are on a membership fee site).

After getting some clear ideas about the whole issue, you should try to make up your mind about your choices. What exactly are you looking for? Do you fancy someone younger or older than you are? An independent woman or a relatively sheltered lady? A career man or a wannabe artist? The number of variables is infinite, and online dating finally gives you the chance to pick and choose just like you wanted, because there are plenty of fish in the sea of World Wide Web.

So go ahead and establish your priorities, then remember them once you start browsing through profiles. Make sure you think through what you really want, because as they say, you just might find it.

Finding the one

After narrowing down your criteria, make a further effort to be clear about your plans. Most online dating sites offer you the option to search the members' database by choosing different criteria, such as geographic position, interests, or even hair color. Besides these, you could also refine your search by stating whether you want casual or serious dates. This is a very efficient method for you to focus on what you are really looking for, but don’t forget to remain flexible to a certain extent. After all, some of the best friendships may start out as one thing and grow into another. So don't constrain yourself too much.

Met on

Keeping it real

On the other hand, though, do your best to be honest. If traveling across the country to meet someone is not really your cup of tea, don't lead anybody on and put off the inevitable. When you try online dating, do your best to treat the others as you would like to be treated, all the more if things tend to get serious. In fact, one of the most important things you have to determine is how serious you are when it comes to a long-term relationship. Some people are looking to enlarge their circle of friends, while others want to have someone with whom to hang out on the weekends.

For all these options you can try, where you have plenty of opportunities to meet people in your neighbourhood. If you are looking for romance, this site offers you the possibility to clearly state this into your profile. Moreover, you can guide your searches by criteria such as state or territory, postcode, the type of relationship desired or whether they have a photo in their profile or not. You can also refine your search by using tags, in order to find people who share your interests.

Nothing to lose!

Online dating sites are a great method of making new friends, especially if you have just relocated to a new city or a new district. Be sure to read the profiles of the people you contact to see exactly what they are after. Some may want to get married and settle down, while others may simply wish to have fun without committing to anything serious. So it is better to know where you stand on these issues and how the others’ goals fit yours. It is also better to be crystal clear about your interests and values when you approach someone to e-mail or chat with them.

Believe it or not, if you choose online dating you will not be placed on the fringes of society – as a matter of fact, you won't be even part of a minority. As online dating has developed a lot and moved into the mainstream in the past years, you can now take advantage of a huge number of opportunities to meet people who share your views and interests. And since you already have an idea of what online dating is like and how to go about it – just get in the game and start cyber-dating!