Remember when online dating used to be taboo?
You wouldn’t dare admit your new love interest was the result of a lot of late-night emailing.
Hell, even your best friend thought the two of you met through your cousin’s sister’s ex-boyfriend.
Or maybe, that was just me.
Either way, online dating has become so incredibly common nowadays, it’s a wonder why people don’t try it.
If you’ve decided to fire up the laptop, crack open a bottle of wine and create that online profile, you’re in luck!
We have some advice.
Here are seven things to keep in mind while surfing the love web:
1. Your profile should be a reflection of who you are, not who you think you should be.
If you love yoga pants, ballroom dancing and cheese, say it.
You’re looking for someone who genuinely likes you for you, right?
Lying or exaggerating the truth right off the bat is extremely counterproductive when it comes to meeting someone compatible.
If you hate sports, say it.
If you’re really bad at math, admit it.
Filtering or tailoring your profile to convey what you think others are looking for is a surefire way to meet someone who shares zero of your interests.
Be honest. People like honesty.
2. Don’t swap life stories before meeting.
After browsing profiles for what feels like an eternity, you’ve finally landed on someone interesting, so you start communicating. Great!
But here’s the important part: The initial emails should definitely help you get to know each other better, but keep it brief.
For example, let’s pretend you spend two weeks talking constantly with someone you think is a perfect fit.
You’ve talked about literally everything, including where you attended middle school, your imaginary friend in the third grade and that one time you had an allergic reaction to tuna fish.
While it’s awesome you feel you can be so open already, you could, in fact, be setting yourself up for failure.
The moment you meet will probably have you wondering why the hell you ever spoke in the first place.
Maybe it’s a simple lack in chemistry, or maybe the photos you were attracted to were clearly from 10 years ago.
Either way, you just spent two weeks putting all your hopes and dreams into a dud. It’s a really disappointing situation.
Here’s how the pre-date conversation should go down: exchange pleasantries, express interest in the other’s profile and the idea of meeting, pick a place and set the time. That’s it.
If all goes well, you can always tell your life story in person.
3. If you can’t decide whether or not you’re attracted to the person, you should probably move on.
If we’re being honest, we can admit photos are the most important part of an online dating profile.
Seriously, think about it for a second. What is the very first thing you notice when checking out a new profile?
If you answered the “hobbies section,” you’re a liar.
Sure, you also want to like the person for what’s on the inside, but the photos are what initially draws you in. You can tell a lot about a person from pictures alone.
If you feel any attraction, it’s usually amplified by the rest of the person's profile information (like, his love for cats and pizza, for example).
If you find yourself on the fence about whether or not someone is attractive in photos, it’s probably a good idea to just move on. Attraction is necessary in any relationship, so trust your gut!
No matter how much you sit and think, “Eh, maybe there will be an attraction once we meet,” there probably won’t be.
You’ll end up being forced to sit through an uncomfortably long date, which will inevitably end with an awkward, ass-out hug.
4. Guys don’t always have to make the first moves.
This is 2015, people. Women are more independent and badass than ever, and it’s totally okay for them to reach out first!
Believe it or not, guys can be pretty shy when it comes to sending that initial email, especially if they’re fearful of rejection.
Ladies, take it upon yourselves to get the ball rolling. It shows confidence, which is a super desirable trait.
After all, there’s nothing sexier than a woman who knows what she wants.
5. Try to avoid giving out your phone number before meeting in person.
A lot of times, you’ll want to swap phone numbers during the pre-meetup process, but it’s totally unnecessary. Emailing is all you need, and prematurely exchanging digits could potentially cause a bunch of awkwardness down the line.
Worst case scenario: The date is a total disaster. You go home, contemplate what just happened, go to bed and wake up to 15 text messages. Great.
Now, you’re stuck turning the person down through email and text. (Not to mention, your phone is blowing up for a week straight.) It doesn’t get any more uncomfortable than that.
The bottom line is, see how the actual date goes before handing out your number. (You'll thank me later.)
6. Don’t dwell on rejection.
So, you got rejected by a total stranger on the Internet. Who cares?
There are millions of virtual fish in the sea, which means you have to catch and release a few sh*tty ones every now and then.
No matter how many failed dates you go on, or how many follow-up texts you never receive, the important thing to remember is there will always be more options.
Around 40 million people are using online dating sites. Your odds of meeting someone worthwhile are pretty damn good, if you ask me.
Think of the Internet simply as an “added bonus” to your dating efforts. If things don’t work out, there are plenty of other ways to meet your soulmate.
There's no point in dwelling on something you can easily live without.
7. Have fun.
Online dating should be fun. If you take it way too seriously, you’ll drive yourself insane.
The whole experience is a chance to meet a lot of great new people, go on a ton of dates and keep yourself busy.
Every bad date is a learning experience, and eventually you’ll have a firm grasp on what exactly you want in a partner.
If you're using the Internet to find love, own it.
It may take a lot of vulnerability to place your heart in the hands of a dating website, but it just might pay off in the end.
If not, at least it'll keep things interesting for a while, right?