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Getting started with free online dating web sites.

 

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  Before you start checking out the online dating sites, here is some very important online dating information for you. It's especially good to know information if you have never joined an online dating site and this is all very new to you...

I've found online dating to be one of the best things since sliced bread, mainly because well... we shop for shoes, we shop for groceries and we shop for clothes so why not shop for a friend, lover, or spouse!  It makes perfect sense and it works great as long as you know what you're doing, you do it safely, and you also follow a few common sense rules that will keep you out of trouble.

One of the big advantages of online dating is your ability to screen and decide who you want to become engaged in conversation with (or who you want to avoid). If all you want to do right now is look at the pictures and profiles of the local singles in your area, that's perfectly fine... there's certainly nothing wrong with looking!

 

In my experience, some of the best benefits of online dating are:

  You can be completely anonymous and surf around the dating site at your leisure without any pressure so you can take your time, go at your own speed and you know treat it like... people window shopping.

  Easily locate potential dates/partners locally or even far away through the online dating site's search functions and then you can usually "narrow down" the type of person you're looking for and would be the happiest with.

  Feel free to scan the various pictures and profiles to find the type of person your attracted to, save profiles of those you're interested in, take notes if you like, write down questions you might ask them if the communication avenue between you two were to open.

  After reading their profile you can see what you have in common with them, your likes, dislikes etc. If you feel they might not make a good match for you, no biggie in the least, check another profile and simply move on... hey, you're not getting any younger!

  As a women I posted my profile, uploaded my best picture and like the queen bee of the online dating hive, I really just waited for all the men bees to come a calling, buzzing all around me for my attention. ;-)  I know that sounds really big headed but it's not and I'm no hot babe either, just an average girl. It's just the way it happens and I'm OK with that. I do have to admit though, wow, it does wonders for a girls ego - yep gotta admit that.

 

OK, now remember that you are always in control of your online dating experience and you have the choice to remain completely anonymous until you feel comfortable and ready to move forward with communicating via email, chat box (or room) or a phone call. And you always have the choice to move even further forward to offline dating if you choose. Take it you own pace, no rush and no hurry, this is one of the many benefits of online dating... low stress and no predetermined time line of any sort.

I highly recommend that you never include your personal contact information in your profile (more in the Online Dating Profile section), especially home or cell telephone numbers, email, home address or your last name, and only give out your personal information after you've confirmed the other person as trustworthy or when your instincts tell you it's someone you can trust.

One of the first things you want to do is to set up an email account just for your online dating emails. This step isn't mandatory however, it does keep your "regular" email box from getting filled with message notifications, new member profile updates and other online dating company information. Regardless of the email address you use, you can generally set what type of emails you want to receive right from your online dating account. Most dating sites give you many options for the types of emails that can be sent to you i.e. weekly newsletter, new member announcements, updated dating service announcements, good matches for you etc.

After your profile is set up, even in it's most basic form, look around and get used to the navigation and search options you have available to you. Click around, explore and read the FAQ's or member information pages to get a feel for what's available and how it all works. It would be a sad situation if Mr. Right (or Ms. Right) wanted to say hello to you, welcome you to the site and chat via a chat box only for you to never know this since you didn't know that the flashing "chat" at the top of your member area meant that someone was sending you a chat request and you should have clicked on it. This is just an example as all dating sites are different in layout, navigation and options... so read, click and explore the site soon after you join.

Always add a photo to your profile, this applies whether your a man or a woman, no exceptions. A photo says much about who you are and it allows your potential partner to match your profile against your photo. You can read more about dating profile photo's in the online dating profile section. For now you should be mindful that there are many subtle clues about you based on your style of dress, the cut of your hair, type and amount of make up, physical look, and even your body language. People also will naturally make judgments and form opinions about you based on your photo such as your social class, financial status, even what they feel your personal values are, and all of this based upon these simple little cues. If you'd like to know more about the benefits of posting multiple photo's (highly recommended) you can read about this in the online dating do's and don'ts section.

I'd recommend that you avoid anyone that seems pushy for your personal information early on. Remember YOU control who you want to talk to, how and when. Once you feel comfortable after a few (or few dozen) emails, then you decide when to move to the next step. The serious and  savvy online daters will understand this and won't ask for this information at the beginning. They'll respect your personal space and let you take your time to make your own decision. Those that start right off asking for your phone number likely can't write clear and concise in an email and feel they can make a better "sell" on the phone, don't buy it, they're desperate. Time is on your side let it all happen naturally, slowly, at your comfort level.

When you get to that point where you're emailing, chatting or even talking to each other on the phone, this is the perfect time to get to know each other long before you ever meet. For me this was one of the things I liked best about online dating as I felt I already knew him very well after weeks of emails and phone conversations. What I really wanted to do on our first meeting in all honesty was to confirm that he was... what he said he was and of course I wanted to match his photo to what he looked like in real life. Yep, it all matched fine so all was great!

When you decide that it's a good time to meet face to face, just be sure to meet in a public place for your safety and it's also a good idea to tell a close friend who you'll be meeting, where, and when you expect to return home. Then when you get home call your friend to let them know you've returned and of course give them all the juicy information about how your first date went.

If your first date goes well, you can send them a nice greeting card as a way to say "thanks for the great time". I've used and prefer two of the largest online greeting card companies American Greeting Cards and Blue Mountain because of the big selection and ease of setting up a card to send. Just remember ladies, as a thank you card after a date be sure to choose a simple, basic, funny, or whimsical card. Leave all the "lovey-dovey want to rip your clothes off" stuff with hearts, marriage bells and lightning bolts for later on when the time is right!  

If you prefer, a short email or note to express your thanks for the time and money he invested for your benefit is perfectly fine too. Guys... do not send a card or email to say thank you, it's not the right or "manly" thing to do, trust me on this one. You do not need to "thank her for going out with you", it sounds to desperate and clingy even if you're completely sincere and choose the nicest card. If you decide to write a short email or note to say you had a great time with her, then that's perfectly OK too.

Well, since I'm on roll sending all my traffic elsewhere on the Internet, I might as well post the two links that I've enjoyed receiving gifts from. In the early days of our dating he sent me gift baskets from Stew Leonard's. In case you're not familiar with Stew, his creative baskets have been showcased on many TV shows including the Food Network which happens to be my favorite channel right after HGTV! Later on and long after I built this site for the single masses my man ordered and then wrapped some "interesting" stuff from a place called My Pleasure for me (and us). Yea, don't click on that link if adult toys bother you. This was of course after we were married though I wouldn't have minded any of it while were dating either. It's been awhile since I was there to see what's new, yet the memories of some of those goodies will me last a lifetime! These days I don't receive as many gift baskets or personal toys, but I'm OK with that. We have each other and finding someone to love me and whom I could love back forever was my ultimate goal, and I got there, so there you have it!

Remember that online dating is a great way to meet other people, exchange ideas, and talk about the things you're interested in. Through your dating profile page you have plenty of room to tell the world about yourself and let them "meet" you 24 hours a day. Honesty is of course a must not only because it's the right thing to do, but like I mentioned earlier... God forbid if you say you're a 6' 2" hunk of a tanned Brain Surgeon then one day you must meet the one you've been emailing and talking to on the phone. Love does not care about what we look like on the outside, that part only gets the attention of the opposite sex, what matters and I'm sure deep down you already know this - is that you are honest about who you really are, that's all.  In your online dating profile you always have the option of being as specific or general about who you are and what you're all about so whatever you say just be truthful. Also, your photo... a very important part of your online profile, so post one of your best ones there there. If you're a girl it'll increase your response from the guys and if your a guy it'll make the girls more at ease and comfortable right away. Lastly have fun while at the same time being careful with your privacy and whatever happens don't just join and then sit there and do nothing! Jump in, start surfing, looking and using the site search functions and begin meeting other people!

Remember... trust your people instincts and your gut feelings!    

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