You might think that as the UK’s premier matchmaking agency, we would be unlikely to recommend online dating.
However, we strongly believe that online dating is just one of the alternative ways in which someone can find love.
It might take longer to achieve a date online, and it might be far more time consuming to be swiping or making decisions on thousands of potential partners on the basis of a photo alone, but here at Drawing Down the Moon, we love love!
And that is why we want to help people find love, even when you don’t choose to hire a matchmaker.
As matchmakers we encourage our clients to continue their search for love even after they have joined us – whether online or offline, and we are always ready and willing to provide helpful hints and tips so that you are able to have the best possible chance of finding the person you have been searching for.
Navigating the world of online dating can be overwhelming and confusing, and it can be a struggle to find love online.
Often the apps and online dating companies only survive and thrive when people are not successful. After all, if you find love through them, you stop becoming a paying customer.
In this dating advice post, I am sharing the 5 golden rules for dating successfully online, so you can find the love that you have been looking for.
Rule 1: Profile Honesty
Eek, this is the one you really have to pay attention to. Why? Because it is the reason that online dating often gets such a bad name.
Your dating profile is your online dating calling card, so it is essential that you make a good impression. Unlike in real life, you don’t have your charm, good looks, flirting or witty banter to sell who you are.
Therefore, with one arm behind your back, it can be tempting to present as someone you are not.
Here are 9 things that you should not do in your online dating profile:
- Old photos of you, where the person meeting you may struggle to identify you as the same person.
- Entering the wrong height or age
- Misrepresenting your qualifications, experience, or lifestyle
- Photos that are heavily filtered
- Be in a group shot where it is hard to identify which one is you
- Have pictures of you with drugged animals (I am looking at you men!)
- Pictures where you are lying in bed
- A long list of things you are not looking for in a partner is a big, negative no-no
- A list of things you are looking for ! Usually the things you are looking for are just as much as a turn-off.
Equally here are 9 things you can do to enhance your online dating profile:
- Have at least one clear headshot – smiling!
- At least one full body shot – evidence seems to show that for women this should be taken indoors, and for men – outdoors
- Use a positive and upbeat tone in your profile. It is vital that you avoid any negativity, particularly a list of traits that you are not looking for in a partner.
Focus on the things you enjoy, describing the events, rather than just saying “I like having fun”
- Share your hobbies and interests, particularly if they are quirky, unusual, niche or require particular effort.
This will hopefully give potential partners an idea of who you are and a feeling for what you enjoy doing in your spare time (and is another reason to make sure you are an interesting person).
- Discuss your goals and aspirations for the future to give potential partners a sense of what you are working towards in life.
- Sense of humour is often something that doesn’t come across well in profiles, but don’t be afraid to show it off if you think you are being original. Copying others definitely results in nil points.
- Some people advise at this point to share your values and beliefs, and sure, that could be helpful, but you still want to try to keep things light. This is the advert, not the product.
- Highlight your unique qualities, what do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
- Be clear about what you are looking for in a relationship, whether it’s something casual or something more serious. Netflix and Chill, being code for One night stands. Great if that is what you are looking for. Not so great if you are looking for a night in with your new partner.
If you are enjoying this advice, then learn EVEN MORE with the Drawing Down the Moon free dating tool kit.
Rule 2: Give people a chance
A common theme with clients that we coach is that they have a rush to judge. And as I am fond of saying, Love is Not a List.
Quite often, when we have been single for a while, it is easy to compile a huge list of requirements to ensure that, a bit like on a trip to our favourite restaurant, we get exactly what we want.
So, we start making lists of must-haves and deal breakers. And those deal breakers come in all shapes and sizes, such as which hobbies they can’t have, which jobs they won’t do.
Before we even think of the must-haves, which are often equally long in length.
Where is the space in all of this for values? For outlook and life goals?
For genuine compatibility, caring and love, all things which are rarely found in a single person’s dating to-do list, even though they should be a priority.
Equally, not everyone has read our advice, so they might have horrendous pictures, and an off-putting personal bio.
Don’t let that put you off!
The more suave, sophisticated and polished the bio and pics, the bigger the pile in their inbox and the lower the chance of them getting to you.
And do you really want to meet or attempt to date someone who is considered smooth?
And when you do go on the date, when you have sifted through. How often do you turn someone down because you don’t like their cagoule, or would prefer if someone wore higher heels or wore their hair down?
And this is not about being judicious or careful in your selection. It is about putting barriers in your way that might mean you actually don’t meet someone who lives up to your expectations, the opposite of what you are hoping for and investing time in.
Focus on the things that matter most, like shared values and interests, and keep an open mind.
And don’t forget, at the end of that long list you have? You are seeking someone, another living, breathing person, who probably has a list of their own.
Rule 3: Take it slow*
*but only after you have met.
The time between connecting with someone on a dating app for the first time and meeting up should be lightning fast. No pen-pals here.
I don’t want to know about the long relationship you are in, but when I drill down, you haven’t actually met.
This is also key information for people who might find themselves the victims of Romance Fraud. Both men and women can be victims.
If the person you are “dating” says they can’t meet because they are traveling far away for work, but they move things quickly emotionally, despite not having met you physically, RUN.
It is once you have met them that you should take things slow. There is no more third date have sex rule. Far from it.
Single people are now able to take their time and get to know someone (if that is what they would rather do) prior to having sex.
Even better, follow my 30 day rule before jumping in the sheets.
Because all the evidence shows, that by waiting 30 days before having sex you are exponentially more likely to end up in a long term relationship with that person. That is not to say that people who sleep together before they get to know one another won’t, but when you do, you will be doing so from a position of empowerment, rather than from one of hormones.
By taking things slowly you are also ensuring you are beware of people who would seek to take advantage of you, financially, emotionally or physically. Beware the love bombing narcissist.
Don’t share personal information too quickly, besides the fact that it may prove unwise in the short run, in the longer run it is always better to leave a little… mystery.
Not sharing too much personal information can help you avoid getting swept up in the excitement of a new potential relationship, before you really know the person.
And similarly to refraining from sex, or drinking too much on a date, will help you make and keep better decisions.
Rule 4: Be safe
By all means, break our matchmaking rule of calling beforehand (after all you are doing this on your own, without the support of a matchmaker).
Don’t expect too much from this call though. You might have caught them at a bad time, and people are often nervous in this call.
Online dating can be safe and enjoyable. However, you have to remember that, for now at least, you are dating a stranger.
There is plenty of hackneyed advice, mainly because it is sensible and works, and most of that advice remains as tried and true as when online dating first established itself. And we know something about that, Love and Friends was established by Drawing Down the Moon in the 1990’s and remains the UK’s first online dating website.
Key safety advice:
- Arrange to meet in a location that is central to you both, it is good manners to do so, but also ensures you are both meeting on “neutral territory”
- Pick a location with good transport links, especially later in the evening
- Ensure you know where you are going, and more importantly how you will get home
- Two drink limit. Make sure you don’t drink more than you are used to or comfortable doing. It isn’t attractive to get drunk, and it certainly isn’t safe
- I should not have to say this, and out of an abundance of caution, do not leave a drink sitting with the person you are sitting with. Wait until you have finished the drink before excusing yourself to go to the bathroom.
- Do not, I repeat do not, go to that person’s home or invite them back to yours. If you want casual sex, find yourself a friend with benefits (FWB)
- Make sure a friend knows where you are going
- Most importantly, if you feel uncomfortable, let a friend or the person at the bar/restaurant know. Never feel obligated to stay just because someone might make you feel guilty for wanting to leave, especially then
Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and easy though it is to say, it is always better to err on the side of caution, particularly when meeting someone for the first time.
Rule 5: Hire a date coach, or even better, hire us
One of the best ways to ensure success in online dating is to find and hire a great date coach. While the matchmakers at DDM are outstanding date coaches, you need to be a fully paid up member in order to avail yourself of their skills.
We do have strong connections to the best date coaches globally though – so if you would like to hire a date coach, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
A skilled date coach will provide advice on how to draw up a compelling profile, and recommend a photographer who can take brilliant photographs that are guaranteed to get your dating profile getting all the hits.
They will help guide you to avoid romance fraud, and keep you motivated to help you avoid the dreaded dating fatigue. Your date coach will ensure you don’t fall at any of the many hurdles that are put in your path on your journey to love and romance.
Some date coaches even run your profile for you, so you don’t have to get involved until you really need to – when the date itself has been arranged.
Online dating can be a rewarding and fulfilling way for single people to meet the right person for them.
But it’s essential to approach it with an open mind, throw away that long list of requirements, persist even when you are thinking of giving up and make sure you always act in a way that is safe for you.
By following these 5 golden rules of online dating, you can increase your chances of finding the right person for you and make your online dating experience a success – which means getting you into that longed for relationship.
If you need additional help or support, or think that online dating might not be for you, then the friendly multi-award-winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon are ready to support and guide you every step of the way. After all, we have been helping former singles succeed at dating since 1984.
Listen below to hear Gillian McCallum discuss these online dating tips and more as a podcast guest on the James Preece Love Machine Podcast.
If you are ready to meet someone special, contact the friendly award winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.