*This is a sponsored blog post by Plenty of Fish, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
I was recently talking to a friend about the stigma of online dating and how it’s completely changed in the last few years. I met my second ex-husband at a bar in 2007. I met my first husband in a bar in 2005. When I divorced for the second time in 2015, my dad begged me to please stay out of bars – at least when it comes to meeting men.
Years ago before my marriage, I remember secretly dating online, not telling my friends because I was too embarrassed of what they would think of me. As my friend wisely said to me the other day, “How else do people meet in their 30’s?” She completely hit the nail on the head. As a 36-year-old, my day consists of working from home, working out from home, eating lunch at home, spending the evening at home, and occasionally going out on the weekends with friends. I live in a tiny town (a town I grew up in and have no interest in dating former high school classmates), and an hour away from the nearest big city. My chances are slim to none that I’d even meet a single guy- let alone actually have a romantic connection with him! It’s no wonder I met my first two husbands in a bar!
Upon becoming single in the last few years, I knew online dating was probably the only chance I would have to make a real love connection. And you know what? I was right! The fact that you can meet tons of people nearly every day, and sift through profiles looking for people you have common interests with, makes it so easy to weed out the ones you don’t want and spark up a conversation with someone you may hit it off with!
Over the last couple of years, I was able to talk with several guys a week, getting to know them, and then deciding whether to meet to see if we had the spark in person. I met someone new most weeks and went out on several dates, even dating a few more seriously. I feel like in this short amount of time, I’ve become a bit of an online dating pro and wanted to share some great dating tips I’ve discovered!
8 Successful Dating Tips for Finding the One
1. Be yourself. Post your actual pictures, write down what you actually like to do. Don’t fudge it. I actually didn’t meet too many guys that didn’t look like their picture, but I was amazed by how many of them told me they had met tons of women that looked nothing like their picture. One guy told me he was supposed to meet a 30-year-old, when what looked like a 60-year old was actually what showed up at the door! If you’re not genuine, you’re just wasting your own time and his too! If doesn’t fall for you over your awesome personality, he wasn’t your guy anyway!
If you’re skittish about sharing your own pics, google tips for how to get a great selfie. There is tons of info out there and believe me-lighting can totally ruin or make a picture look amazing! And remember, if he doesn’t fall for you over your awesome personality, he wasn’t’ your guy anyway!
2. Don’t be afraid to hit him up! See someone you like? Online chatting is easy and takes the stress and pressure out of starting the conversation. I quick “Hi, I’m Cindy, I saw your profile and I love to snowboard too!” is a great way to get the conversation rolling. Point out something you both have in common. Don’t expect much of a reply (or one at all) if you just say “Hi.”
*Plenty of Fish recently unveiled a newly redesigned mobile app which includes Spark, a new in-app feature that allows a user to easily initiate a conversation. By picking up and dragging a conversation icon over any aspect of a potential date’s profile, users can instantly quote and comment on profile content – from photos to interests. Spark is part of POF’s commitment to helping singles connect in a meaningful way, to more confidently and successfully engage with potential dates.
Members are 22% more likely to receive a reply to a message sent with the new functionality and Spark increases the probability of a message leading to a conversation (at least 2 replies by each person) by 15%!
3, Once the conversation starts up, ask HIM questions. Don’t shy away from them when he asks you too (or it will look like you’re trying to hide something) but keep the conversation going and show you’re interested, by asking him what his interests are to keep the conversation rolling.
Some of my favorite questions to ask him:
- What are some of your favorite things to do? What do you like to do for fun?
- What kind of music do you like? What is the last concert you saw?
- What is something you’re super passionate about?
- What is your favorite kind of food?
- Do you have kids? Pets?
Ask him things you’re interested in too. If you love to travel, ask him the best place he’s ever traveled too. If you love cooking, ask him what his favorite food is?
Still stumped on some conversation starters? Use Plenty of Fish’s Handy app to help facilitate dialogue and a more meaningful conversation!
4. Keep the conversation light. Just started talking to a guy that night? Don’t kill it by talking about how your dog passed away last week. Now is the time to be lighthearted and keep the conversation simple. I like to send a funny youtube video or Gif to keep it light and playful.
5. Play it Cool. Men like to pursue, and not that there is anything wrong with taking some initiative, but less is more. Wait for him to contact you the next time you two speak. Don’t be pushy as it may come off that you are insecure or bossy. I’ve found from my experience that men sometimes will shy away if they feel like you’re pursuing them, but if you sit back and let them come to you, the relationship seems to progress easier and quicker too. This is just what I’ve seen from my experience, and obviously not every guy is the same, but in the beginning, it can be really hard to tell if a guy would rather work for it or sit back and let you come to him.
6. Follow His Lead. Again here, I like to wait for him to start asking the deep questions. Some guys can shy away from a girl that digs in too fast. Wait until he’s ready, but take it to this level before you meet if you’re looking for something real. If it’s just a casual relationship you’re looking for – then, by all means, keep it casual! If you want a more meaningful relationship, from my experience, the deep conversations are where the intimacy and emotion start to build
7. Ready to meet him? I actually think differently on this one and don’t wait for the guy to ask. If I know of a concert coming up I want to go, I will ask him he wants to go. If I’m available Sunday afternoon, I’ll ask him if he wants to meet for coffee. Whatever you do, don’t ask him to a movie. Worst first date ever. You need to be in a setting where you can talk! So you can get to know each other! Also, don’t ask him on a long drawn out date for your first meeting. Keep it casual and short (think a couple of hours) so if the sparks aren’t flying, you can get out of there easily without making it awkward. Also go for something on the cheaper side, as money can be a real issue when it comes to dating, and knowing who is paying for what. I offer to go dutch unless he offers to pay (which I will gladly accept – but I love me some chivalry!)