The internet is a marvellous way to meet people when you're looking for love or simply companionship. Be sure that you make the most of its potential and avoid the possible pitfalls.

How to internet date...

It may be common sense but when it comes to posting a profile picture, writing a statement and even choosing a place to meet, but people so often get it wrong. A good solid bit of advice is what you need to get your online dating persona up and running. Follow these tips and watch the date requests come rolling in.

 

Post a photo

Most people will be keenly interested in what you look like and you'll have a much better response rate if you make a picture available. Choose one in which you look your best and make it a recent and honest headshot (not a snap of you sitting in your friend's Ferrari ten years ago). If there are options to show more than one photo, it might be great for showing your different sides. A profile shot, a photo of you being social, having fun with friends, and one of your favourites. Be sure to put your best side forward, try to avoid silly photos (unless it's a wild card!)

 

Make a good statement

All sites allow you to write something about yourself. Be reasonably open and frank, and make it meaningful. I love cooking for my friends – especially Thai food … tells others about your interests and the kind of person you are. Avoid clichés like I enjoy candlelit dinners or I'm a glass-half-full person, as they are unlikely to set you apart from others. Similarly, steer clear of bold statements, like My friends say I have a good sense of humour. It's much more telling if you prove your humour through the information you give and the way you give it.

 

Stay close to home

There's little point in striking up an online friendship with someone who lives at the other end of the country: remember, the aim is to find someone you can have a real relationship with.

 

Get together

If the signs look good, meet up for a drink (rather than a meal: save that for the second date). Even if romance doesn't spark, you might end up enlarging your circle of friends, which itself increases the odds that you'll meet someone you want to be with.

 

Be careful

Meet your new date in a public place, and don't accept an offer of a lift, especially to or from your home. Always tell a family member or friend where you're going to be and what time you expect to be home and make sure your mobile phone is fully charged so that you can make contact if you need to. Avoid the temptation to drink too much – you need to like the person sober. If you're at all uncomfortable, make your excuses and leave.

 

If in Doubt

It is always helpful to get your friends to check your profile and make sure it truly represents you. They might suggest a nicer picture, or remind you of something important you may have missed about yourself. Equally they will tell you if you are exaggerating or if your profile is a little embarrassing

 

Browse Reader's Digest Dating for free here.  Our main goal is to match people who have similar interests in life and will enjoy spending quality time together

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