The first stage of online dating is to craft a personal profile that accurately describes you, your dating style and your desired mate. Many online dating websites ask you a series of questions to help you customize your profile to find ideal matches. This stage involves some time and personal reflection to write meaningful, concise answers that potential dates may wonder about who you are as a person. You should also use a photo to attract attention to the profile.
The next stage of online dating involves reaching out to potential matches and communicating back and forth. During this step of the process, you read the profiles of other members, decide who you're interested in, and then seek to learn more about each person you find interesting. Initiating contact for the first time with a stranger is an anxious stage for some online daters. If the other person has an interest, you can then communicate to see if you have a connection.
The next stage of online dating is getting to a place where you're comfortable enough to exchange numbers with the other person and talk on the phone. Some people prefer to speak to a human voice before moving on to the next stage, while others prefer to keep phone numbers private until meeting.
The final stage of online dating is to take the date off-line and meet up with the person who you've been communicating with over the Internet or on the phone. This is another stage that can be difficult and anxious time, since you finally have a chance to come face-to-face with the person. Singles coach and therapist Nina Atwood suggests that you take precautions when meeting someone you met online. That includes meeting in a very public place and performing a basic Internet search on the person. She advises, "The bottom line is this: Never, ever, ever let your attraction to someone cause you to abandon your common sense or ignore those internal warning bells."