Finding a Partner Online in London
You are looking for Mr or Ms Right. But you work long hours. Your work takes you to a desk, near people you see every day. You may have been out with some of them; you may have slept with one or two; more likely though, the prospect of dating any of them bores or horrifies you.
But the day is long and at the end of it you just cannot be bothered to go out on the off-chance of meeting someone new. You don’t have the energy for the bars and clubs, let alone the blind dates your well-meaning friends have set up for you.
So you try online dating. At first you are a little nervous, worried what people will think if you announce that you have met someone “on the internet”. Then you realise that you really do not care what they think.
So how do you go about it?
There are numerous online dating sites, catering for many different types of people. A good idea is to do a targeted search. The huge, catch-all dating sites may not be right for you, particularly if you have strong political or religious views, so look for something more specialised.
Many dating sites will allow you a free trial or a limited membership before you need to part with any money. Usually you will not be able to search other profiles until you have at least signed up for a free trial or limited membership. These can differ considerably, so check out a few before signing up for one. Depending on the site, you will then be allowed to build a profile of personal information and add a photo. Be as honest as you can when writing your profile: it will save you from disappointment later on. Remember to add your photo – it makes it much more likely that you will receive messages. The photo should be recent: sometimes people add school or college photos, but it doesn’t fool potential partners for long.
There is nothing to stop you from signing up for several sites, but it can make things more time-consuming and expensive. You can expect to pay around $20 per month for each membership, sometimes more.
The internet is a bit like life: you need to be active to meet people. So, when you have signed up to a site and filled in your profile, start sending messages. On some sites you can send pre-written “flirts” as well as messages you type yourself. If you send messages regularly, you increase your chances of someone writing to you. Don’t be offended if you don’t receive replies from everyone you write to. Just chalk it up to experience. However, it is good manners to reply wherever possible, even if it is not going to lead to anything.
After you have exchanged messages with someone, a good idea is to chat online. Many dating sites have this facility, and it is a very good way of getting to know someone. It is sensible not to give someone any personal information about yourself (apart from the contents of your profile) until you are confident that you trust them. Although all good dating sites have security systems, sometimes fake profiles do get through, so it is wise to take things slowly.
The site will usually alert you if you have a message, either by email or text, so you don’t need to keep checking the site itself. This is great if you are busy. The only real investment of time, apart from the dates, is checking out the profiles. You can easily waste hours doing this, so search carefully! The site may also provide other ways to get to know people, such as message boards or a blog. These can be excellent, but again – weigh up how much time you want to spend against how much you want to meet someone.
When you first meet someone you should try to do it safely: a lunch date on neutral territory is a good way to begin. It is then good manners to be honest with your date – will you meet again? If not, say so as quickly as possible. There is nothing wrong with seeing different people at the same time, but of course if a date leads to more you should be honest with the others.
From there, it is up to you! Online dating is fun and exciting and provides opportunities to meet people you already know you have things in common with. There is nothing to stop you from meeting that dream man or woman – because if they are anywhere, they are more easily found online than in your local bar