Create a terrific online dating profile
We spend so much time online connecting with friends and family that it makes sense to try and find a love interest that way too. Despite some people’s hesitation, online dating is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa.
As widespread as online dating is becoming, there remains a certain social stigma to it. To most the idea of turning to online dating reeks of desperation and even people who are on dating sites won’t freely admit it for fear of judgement. The irony is that more people are on some form of online dating service than you think. As the saying goes “‘you can’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.
Most dating platforms, be it online or mobile apps, work on the so-called “freemium” principle whereby it is free to sign up, create a profile and have a look at what’s on offer. They’ll start charging fees for you to be able to use certain main functions, such being able to message potential love interests. Most sites offer varying levels of subscription, with longer subscriptions being more cost-effective. While they’re all more or less the same, there are some differences worth considering.
Coming out of your shell
Searching for love online is convenient and relatively safe (you’re not hanging out at all hours in seedy cocktail bars). It also affords even the shyest among us the opportunity to engage with potential partners they would never have approached socially. As with everything online, you should carefully consider what you are willing to share.
Here are some tips to make the most of your online dating experience:
Most dating sites require you to create a profile name. For safety reasons, it’s not a good idea to use your real name as creepy online stalkers are rife. Try to choose a name that’s simple, concise and even boring – and try stay away from anything with blatant sexual innuendo or clichés, such as SexyHottie69 or Girlofyourdreams.
Your profile picture is what is going to attract attention. Use a recent, unaltered pic of yourself and include a couple of pictures that show you’re a real person, like a pic with your dog or out with friends. However, don’t overdo the group shots, or include only group shots. Bear in mind that a person viewing your profile will probably have no idea which one of the five people you are. Remember, pictures can be deceiving and only as good looking as your worst picture. Ladies, go easy on the cleavage and guys, put a damn shirt on!
Before writing your profile, look at others’ profiles to get an idea of what to write. It will also give you an idea of what to write to stand out from the masses. Be concise and avoid going into too much detail or using generic phrases such as “I’m loyal,” (I’d hope so!) or “I like to have fun,” (who doesn’t?!). Be realistic and ask someone to look at your profile to see if it’s a true reflection of who you are.
4. Perfect mate
When looking at other people’s profiles, remember that you are looking for shared interests, not another version of yourself. Be mindful of people’s preferences. If they’re looking for someone between the ages of 35 and 45, living in Johannesburg, they’ll most likely not consider a 50-year-old from Durban.
5. Meet ‘n greet
One of the dangers of online dating is that you can fall in love with the idea of a person due to the curated versions of ourselves that we present online and via text. The best advice when starting to chat with someone is to set up a date with them as soon as possible. When texting, you can think about what to say before replying, but you don’t have that luxury in person and your real personality comes through. There is also something to be said about a connection between people that can rarely be felt when engaging in text or online conversations.
6. Safety first
There are a lot of creepy people out there and when you do decide to meet with someone you met online, remember that you are still meeting a complete stranger. Ideally set up a daytime drinks date in a public place, and go easy on the drinks. Tell a friend where you are going and when you’ll be back.
7. Fun, fun, fun
Relax, have fun and don’t take things too seriously, after all, this is no different to regular dating.