Digital Dating: Rules, Advice & Tips for Online & App-Based Dating

Online dating has become the norm, but that doesn't mean people are instantly good at it! First, you need to decide which of the many available dating apps and sites are the best, and then the real work begins. You’ll need to know how to craft a bio that shows off your assets, avoid common online dating pitfalls, and set up offline dates with the people you meet in your apps and online. But don’t worry, I’ve put together the following list of my best online dating tips that will help make using dating apps and websites fun and rewarding.

Related: 5 Best Dating Apps for Finding Love in the Digital Age

Digital Dating: Choosing the Right App

Consider your age, location, sexual orientation, gender identity, and what you’re looking for as helpful guides to choose which apps to try first. In my experience, location matters the most when it comes to using dating apps. In areas with a smaller population and dating pool, apps that are synonymous with online dating such as Tinder (free) and OKCupid (free) have the most users available for me to connect with. But closer to city areas and urban sprawl, I can confidently use apps that are growing in popularity like Bumble (free), and Coffee Meets Bagel (free.)

There are also apps that put a fun spin on trying to connect with someone. For example, Hater (free) matches people based on what they commonly dislike. I can think of nothing better than bonding with someone over how chocolate mint ice cream tastes like frozen chocolate toothpaste.

Online Dating Rules: Writing Your Bio

The best dating advice I’ve received (by which I mean, I’ve read online) is this: Instead of making a list of what you want, make a point to show what you bring to the relationship. And believe me, the best way to put that advice into practice is to write bios on multiple dating apps to find a kindred spirit (or at the very least, someone who thinks watching a scary movie with me on $5 Tuesday is a solid date). When writing my bio, I start with my hobbies, include a little bit about my job and maybe my family or social life, and then I end with what kind of relationship I’m looking for. Am I set on finding a long-term relationship, or am I just looking for something casual? Or do I just not know yet? Put it in the bio. Stating deal-breakers such as “no smokers” or “must love coffee” can save you and the people looking at your profile some time, but remember to word everything politely. It’s hard to understand tone of voice when reading online.

Online Dating Tips: Choosing Your Profile Pictures

Creating a good profile requires just enough effort to show that you tried. Pictures work absolute wonders on the number of responses you receive. Most apps have a limit of up to ten pics you can post on your profile. It helps for your first photo to be a clear, well-lit selfie. A full-body shot of yourself is also a must and is a great way for you to show off you enjoying a hobby or standing next to a cool art mural. Group shots with friends at events can help be an ice-breaker for conversation, but limit these group pics to two. I’ve passed on many profiles that had me guessing who was the one common person in all the photos. Remember you can have fun with changing up or switching out your posted pics. My most popular pic was added months after I created a profile and features me in a banana costume sipping on a margarita.

Online Dating Advice: Set Up a Date

Finally, the whole point of online dating for most people is to meet in person. After some back-and-forth messages establishing mutual interest (especially when you clicked so well over your shared hatred of chocolate mint ice cream) suggest meeting for dinner, a walk in a public park, or offer to buy tickets to an event you would both like. You don’t have to be frustrated if an app isn't working for you. There are more apps to try, and plenty of people to meet.

Online Dating Tips: Avoiding Fake Profiles

As it goes with pretty much everything on the internet, dating apps can be rife with bots controlling fake profiles. However, some apps let you connect your social media accounts to your profile. Including a Facebook or Instagram account, or a Spotify playlist dedicated solely to Adele can help distinguish you and potential dates from fakes. Also, if the other person sends repetitive messages or tries to get you to use their link to talk to them on another site (usually requiring your credit card number), it’s likely a bot.

Online Dating Advice: Don’t Believe Everything You Read!

According to a survey conducted by global research agency OpinionMatters, 53 percent of people lie in their online dating profiles, most often by using old photos to represent themselves or lying about their job to appear more successful.

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      Hallei is obtaining her BFA in Creative Writing while living in Fairfield, Iowa. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.