7 Ways to Make Online Dating as Awesome as it Should BeOnline dating is super easy. It’s not even hard to find good guys. But finding a good guy who’s right for YOU—now, that can be a challenge.

It’s kind of like shopping online. Have you ever bought something online only to send it right back?

Maybe it was a summer dress. Or a cute top. Or, if you’re really daring, a pair of skinny jeans. Whatever the specifics, it looked amazing on the website. But when it arrived and you slipped it on . . . ugh.

The picture was misleading. The quality was poor. The color was off. Or, it just didn’t work when you saw it in person.

If you’re something of a fashionista, this can be a real problem. The internet is great for finding killer deals. But who cares if you have to return most of the stuff?

Does this remind anyone of internet dating?

Never before in human history has it been easier to meet potential partners. There are tons of online dating services. But holy cow, can they be a pain. How many guys look great online, only to leave you disappointed in person?

I’ve talked to plenty of women who just don’t do internet dating anymore. They’ve had too many bad experiences. I get that.

But at the same time, online dating can be great. It gives you a chance to spell out exactly what you’re looking for and learn a little something about possible matches just by browsing profiles. In theory, it’s a great idea.

There’s got to be a way to make internet dating as awesome as it could be.

There is.

The following 7 tips are your guide to getting the most out of online dating services. Stick to these suggestions, and you’ll be way more likely to find the kind of love you’re looking for.

1. Make an impression.

Your online dating profile is your chance to shine.

Use a good, well-lighted picture that’s both recent and flattering—but NOT photoshopped. Your bio should be upbeat and true to your personality. Also, be honest about what you’re really looking for. If you want a long-term, serious romance, say that.

2. Forget about Tinder and Bumble.

Swiping services like Tinder and Bumble are appealing because they’re easy. But the results are rarely worth it.

Your chances of meeting someone who’s looking for a deep connection on Tinder aren’t great. Traditional dating sites are a much better bet.

3. Be courageous.

Courageous online dating means two things. First, don’t be shy about making the first move. If you read a profile you like, send a message. It’s totally okay to be bold.

Second, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If his profile is vague or you aren’t sure what he’s looking for, ASK. Cutting to the chase can save you a lot of hassle later.

4. Be smart.

Most of the guys using online dating services aren’t out to take advantage of you. But you should still be appropriately guarded.

Don’t give out personal information, like your address, right away. Hold off on social networking connections until you know him a little better. And every first date should be in a public place.

5. Embrace the coffee date.

Speaking of first dates, avoid lengthy plans. Coffee shops make great first dates because you can talk for an hour over coffee without any obligation.

If you don’t like coffee, that’s okay. It’s not about the beverage. It’s about making the first face-to-face connection casual and short. If you’re having fun, you can always hang out longer.

6. Find out what a friend thinks.

As you’re browsing profiles and meeting guys, find out what a trusted friend thinks about potential matches. Just make sure you ask someone who will be completely candid.

If your friend thinks a guy is a waste of time, hear her out. She knows you, and you trust her. She may see something you’ve missed.

7. Listen to your instincts.

If you have a bad feeling about a guy early on, pump the brakes.

It doesn’t matter how good he looks on paper. If your gut is telling you something’s off, move along. You don’t owe potential online matches anything. Just keep browsing.

Online dating services are a great resource. It’s entirely possible to find fulfilling romance on the internet. The trick to harnessing the power of online dating is in the strategy.

Focus on what you want and need out of a relationship. Be smart, bold and even a little selfish. And don’t apologize for your happily-ever-after dreams.

Prince charming is out there. The internet might just help you find him.

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