The Ultimate Online Dating Guide

10 Online Dating Rules Men and Women Should Follow

Back in the old days, people used to meet their ideal partner through what seemed like a stroke of serendipity. Maybe you would run into your next date at a friend’s birthday party, or maybe you’d finally meet the great love of your life ordering a cup of coffee in the morning from your favorite spot.

When it comes to dating today though, more and more people are meeting their match online. While online dating has certainly become more popular and socially accepted over the last 10 years, that doesn’t that everybody is doing it the right way.

Use these tips to help you get the most out of online dating whether you’re looking for a hookup, a life partner or something in-between.

1. Be Honest With Yourself

Before you sign up for any online dating site and starting building your profile you should sit down and figure out what you’re really hoping to get out of joining the world of online dating. After all, online dating sites are just tools, and all tools can be used differently depending on the task at hand.

Are you looking for a hookup with somebody that you find attractive and aren’t repulsed by? You’re not alone, so there’s nothing wrong with that thinking if you’re upfront with a potential partner and yourself about it.

Maybe you’re looking for casual dating — the type of relationship where you can meet up for a movie and a drink once a week without a ton of pressure on moving toward that common goal of marriage? A lot of people out there are looking for somebody to spend time with without hoping for marriage.

Perhaps you are looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. Many people find partners that they end up marrying or forming long-term domestic relationships with, so it can certainly be done.

2. Pick the Right Dating Site

Not all dating sites are equal, and somebody who is looking to get married shouldn’t necessarily be using the same site as somebody looking for a hookup. Luckily there are so many popular dating sites out there that you can take your pick or try a few at the same time when you first start out.

· is a site that’s really all about finding the perfect partner for dating. Most users tend to be looking for significant relationships, but adults in the 30+ age group looking for casual dating can do well on the site too.
· Like, is geared toward people looking for long-term relationship. boasts that it has helped more couples meet and get married than any other site, so that should tell you something about the average eHarmony user.
· One of the most unique and specialized dating sites out there, is specifically set up to help Jewish singles meet. Not everybody is devoutly religious of course, and even people who aren’t Jewish but are looking for a Jewish partner can sign up. is best for people looking for casual dating or long-term relationships.
·         Grindr: Grindr is actually an app that you can use on your mobile phone, but unlike the dating sites above, it’s really all about the hookups. Grind is aimed specifically at gay, bisexual and same sex hookups, so you probably won’t have much luck if you’re a man looking for a woman or vice versa.
·         Tinder: Tinder came before Grindr, and it’s the biggest site out there that aims to help people hookup. While people do meet and start dating through Tinder, mostly people meet for more casual, often short-lived relationships. The site and app are mostly used by straight men and women, but same sex hookups can happen as well.
·         OkCupid: OkCupid is one of the most popular dating sites with the under 40 crowd because it’s a little bit more offbeat than most. People use it for all sorts of relationships too, making it one of the few all-purpose dating sites out there. They also offer lots of personality tests and questions that many users think is an intriguing and effective way to find a potential match.

3. Let Your Personality Shine

When you meet people out in the real world there’s usually some context to the meeting. You locked eyes going for the same muffin at the pastry shop or you were both checking out the same sofa at the furniture store. When you meet online that context isn’t there, expect for the fact that you’re both looking for somebody.

That’s why it’s so important to show off your personality and really be yourself. If you love to spend your time playing video games and watching TV, don’t tell people that you sit around and read Dostoevsky at night.

Be honest about who you are and let your unique personality shine through. You’ll attract people who really want to spend time with you whether you’re looking for a couple of fun nights or a lifetime commitment.

4. Show Your Best Side

Online dating is about finding somebody you’ll enjoy spending time with, and attraction plays a big role in that. If you really want to meet the right person for tonight or for a lifetime, you’re going to want to show off your best side.

Look for pictures that are recent and actually look like you, but try to find ones that you think are flattering. Maybe you like how you look in a certain color or at a certain angle. Maybe you’re proud of that bikini body or washboard abs.

Find pictures that are flattering or have a friend take them. There’s no shame in taking pictures for a dating site these days.

The friend that helps will probably want you to do the same thing to return the favor if they’re single!

5. Limit Your Exposure

It can be tempting to upload 50 pictures of yourself and write a novella about who you are when you first join a dating site. After all, the more information you give other users, the more likely you are to land a real catch, right?

No, not really. In fact, putting up too many pictures and saying too much about yourself can really take all the mystery out of getting to know you. Limit your pictures to a handful of good ones and make your profile information short and sweet.

6. Don’t Bore Potential Dates

It’s great to tell people looking at your profile that you’re interested in golf, ancient Chinese literature, backgammon or sewing circles, but you shouldn’t go on and on about it. Just because you love golf doesn’t mean your potential partner does.

By making hobbies and things you like too much a part of your profile you could scare somebody away who would otherwise be ideal for you. Nobody (unless they’re a fanatical golfer too) wants a partner who prattles on and on about it 24/7.

7. Avoid Negatives

Some people think it’s an excellent idea to list off everything that’s wrong with them on their dating profile, taking the approach that it’s better to be an honest version of yourself than lie to a potential partner. Honest is wonderful, but you don’t have to be a negative Ned or Nancy.

If you feel like you must disclose something you should do it in a positive way. ‘Unemployed’ means you’re looking for a new line of work in an exciting field. ‘No car’ means you enjoy the sights and sounds of public transportation and feeling the cool air on your skin.

Nobody wants to go on a date with somebody that’s constantly pointing out their own flaws.

8. Know People Lie

Even if you’re completely honest on your dating profile, you need to know that not everybody else will be. That guy you’re interested in might be 260 instead of 220, and that girl you’ve been thinking about messaging could be 5’2″ instead of 5’7″.

Unfortunately there really isn’t much you can do about this. Take time to make sure all the pieces add up before you message somebody. If the person you’re interested in looks 22 in their photo but says they’re 44, they’re probably lying about their age.

9. Move Relationships Forward

It’s easy to keep online dating online for a little while, and many people go back and forth through e-mail messages for weeks before they meet. However, that isn’t necessarily the best way to navigate the early stages of starting a relationship.

Instead, send a few e-mails back and forth and build up a rapport. If you like the person let them know you want to talk on the phone. Just hearing a person’s voice and seeing how you interact when you’re not behind a computer screen can tell you a lot about your potential chemistry.

After a phone call or two you should probably consider meeting in person. If they’re hesitant it’s probably because they’re not sure about you or they’re lying about something and nervous to come face to face with you.

10. Stay Safe

Dating advice columns always tell women to be safe when they’re looking for a partner online, and while that’s good advice, it applies to men too. Not every psychopath out there has a Y chromosome, so even guys should keep safety in mind.

To keep yourself safe you should avoid giving out your e-mail address if you have your last name included, your home telephone number, your workplace or your home address. You should also meet in a public place for your first date.

You never know who is behind that profile and you don’t want to risk your safety for any reason.

Ready to Get Started?

Online dating can seem scary if you’ve never done it before, but the ability to meet people you’ll click with really is unrivaled. There’s nothing wrong with meeting people in person, and some of the best relationships are still forged that way. That doesn’t mean online dating can’t help you find the person you’re looking for too though.

Use these 10 tips and you’ll be an online dating pro in no time!