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When winter arrives people tend to stay in more and the chances of meeting someone new on your morning commute or at your job go down with each extra layer of clothing that we put on. So what do you do if you want to be dating new and interesting people?

Get online and find all the singles for singles in your area. Online dating doesn’t have the stigma that it once did, now it’s just about learning how to maneuver online and behaving in the right way. Don’t know where to start? No worries! I’ll give you a hand, read on for the best ways to find a date online.

Online dating 101

When you’re getting online there are a few simple steps you should follow.

First, pick a dating site that  suits your interest. If you’re just looking for a casual “friends dating” situation, then don’t go for an expensive pay site (usually those are for people looking for marriage or a long term relationship).

Make sure to read up on the online dating site reviews before joining. This will let you know if there are any hidden fees or if the site is filled with the bottom of the barrel dead fish types.

Browse through the personals and see if the singles online appeal to you. If they aren’t your type of folks, move on to a different dating site.

Get your personals page pitch perfect

Think of your personals page as a cover letter for your dream job. You wouldn’t just spend five minutes on an important paper like that, so don’t blow off this page. It’s all a person has to go on for who you are.

Here are a few tips for getting it right:

  • Ask your friends. Your friends will always have a clearer impression on how you come across to people. You might think you’re reserved and chill, but you might actually come across as confident with a wry sense of humor.
  • Put up a photo that’s under a year old, preferably of you in an activity that you like, or all dressed up at a fancy event. Avoid the camera phone in mirror shots, any cropped photo of you and a former significant other, or anything that could come off as menacing.
  • Tell a story from your life that shows who you are. This is SO much better than just  saying “I’m funny, I love to laugh and I’m beautiful and caring”.

Playing nice with others online

Sending a message:

Starting a conversation with someone on an online dating site can be a bit…weird. You don’t know what to say, or how to get them to talk back. If you’re just sending a message,  it’s a little simpler. Just read their personals page, see what interests you and send them a brief (2 to three lines, no more) message saying hello, why you find them interesting and ask them a question regarding something in their profile.

Instant messaging:

If you’re instant messaging, your behavior is key.

Here are some strong dating don’t for instant messaging:

  • Don’t try to be funny. I know it sounds weird, but humor, especially sarcastic humor, is really hard to read through instant messaging.
  • Don’t be negative. This is your first impression after your personals page. If you start complaining right away, then that’s how you’re going to be known, as a complainer.
  • Don’t ask them for a date in the first conversation. If you want to know the best way to ask her out, read this.
  • DON”T TALK ABOUT SEX! Ever, ever, ever, ever. It’s creepy for women and it sends the wrong message to guys. Avoid sexual conversations online like they’re the plague.

Here are some strong dating do’s for instant messaging:

  • Do ask questions about their profile, about their pictures, who they are.
  • Do share about yourself, but keep the conversation balanced, nobody like to have the conversation completely dominated.
  • Do keep it brief. It’s not good to talk too long. Save something for the next conversation.
  • Do end it on a positive note. Even if they say their not interested, be kind and thank them, wish them good luck out there.

Online dating can be simple and fun, if you keep in mind that you’re talking to a real person, who, just like you, want to connect. Be respectful and playful and you’ll get great dates all winter long.

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