How Do I Navigate Dating Sites?

by Vera Lam

About Vera Lam

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Vera Lam is a freelance arts writer who has been writing professionally since 2009. She has contributed her expertise to several Web-based entertainment publications including Week in Rewind. She attended Fairfield University, where she pursued liberal studies.

How Do I Navigate Dating Sites?

Online dating sites have made it easier for people near and far, and from varied backgrounds, to meet and connect. Advanced filtering techniques make it possible for users to narrow the list of potential love interests based on categories such as age, location and sexual orientation. By learning to navigate these dating sites, you can take advantage of all their features and maximize your probability of finding that special person.

The Profile

The profile is the lifeblood of an online dater. It gives your potential interests a taste of who you are and acts as a major indicator of whether a strong match is possible. Don't post your photographs before filling out your profile completely. Chances are a user who contacts you before you complete your profile section will not be a good mate. Be specific about what you are looking for in a partner. Is your intention to enter a long-term relationship or are you simply looking for friends with similar interests? Stating exactly what you are looking for will reduce the chances that a poor match will contact you.

Preferences

The preferences section may include questions about height, weight, location, race, ethnicity, religion, employment, children and smoking. Many people skip this section out of laziness or because they believe it's irrelevant. Even if you have stated your preferences in the biography section of your profile, make an effort to fill out the preferences section. Many dating sites use the information in this section to filter searches.

Photos

Post pictures that look like you on a typical day. Stay away from photos that are old and edited with photo manipulation software. Choose photographs that capture your essence. A clear, candid shot of you works better than a picture in which you're posing and making contrived facial expressions. Upload multiple photographs of yourself in different situations. Having more than one photograph builds trust and conveys sincerity. However, avoid excessive uploads. Most people look at only two or three shots.

Advanced Filtering Options

Every dating site offers advanced filtering options. You can single out individuals by age, location, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, smoking habits, drinking habits and other factors. Conduct a few searches using different search terms and decide which combination works best for you. Searching for "single" individuals will help weed out individuals who are already in relationships. Similarly, searching for "seeing someone" individuals can help pinpoint those who desire polyamorous relationships.

Tips

Be as detailed and honest as possible. When filling out your profile, ask yourself, "Could this describe someone else?" and "Am I exaggerating?" Misrepresentation only wastes both parties' time. Avoid general adjectives and astrological information. Do not respond to messages unless you may be interested in connecting with the person. Otherwise, you're creating false hope.

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Photo Credits

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