No one ever said the dating game was easy. Divorced, widowed, or longtime single, getting back into the dating game after years off can be particularly intimidating. With technology changes every day and new social norms, brushing up on how things work in the dating pool beforehand is smart. Before jumping in, here are five sure ways to put your best self forward before putting yourself out there again. If you’re ready for that status update and want to start dating again, here are five places to start.
1. Do your research.
Times have changed. No matter how long you’ve been out of the dating game, it’s likely you’ll quickly learn that dating is often an online adventure. You’ll want to do your research ahead so you know how to tell if you’re being catfished — a term that basically means lied to or conned.
If your last date was before the internet and you didn’t know how to find out if someone is in jail, you’re in for a few surprises but not all of them are bad. Doing your homework and finding out the basic dating sites and etiquettes out there will go a long way in helping you to catch up. Start with finding dating blogs for people in the same situation as you. If you’re a widow or widower, there are groups you can join. You might even meet your next date there. The key is to start collecting information while keeping an open mind about who you might run into.
Dating blogs, YouTube, and even self-help books can be great tools for anyone looking to find love again. Other resources are those in the younger generations. Do you have adult kids? They may be a great start in helping catch you up and point you in the direction of places to research.
2. Dress for success.
After some research, you’ll discover that the fastest way to find an online date is by signing up for a dating site. Plenty of Fish, Match.com, eHarmony, and even sites for mature daters may be perfect for you. From sites based on religion to STD status and more, there’s something for everyone and no two sites are the same.
Most sites will ask for a profile picture. Though it might be against your best instinct to put your photo out there, research shows that people with well-planned pictures get the most hits and interest. How you dress for this picture will tell your potential dates a lot about you. Those who chose profile pictures in sleep shirts, for example, will project the image of being more relaxed. People dressed for business will likely get more interest from corporate or goal-driven suitors. Think about the image you want to portray, smile, and jump in with both feet.
3. Get help from friends.
If you aren’t sure how to fill out your dating page profile bio, ask friends and family to help. They know you best and may see you differently than you see yourself. You’ll want to surround yourself with people who will encourage you and who will be there to help you sort out the keepers from the dates you’ll turn down. When uploading photos, be sure to include lifestyle shots too. Pictures speak volumes.
4. Consider safety.
Be smart about how you date. There are ways to help keep dating safe. Don’t give out personal information online. While it’s okay to exchange phone numbers with someone you’re interested in, try to stick to a cellphone instead of a landline. If you agree to meet, do it in a public place and tell your family and friends where you’ll be. Save addresses and last names for when things get more serious.
5. Bring a positive attitude and an open mind.
Keep in mind that other people on your same dating sites are nervous too. Go in with an open mind. The less rigid you are about rules and deal breakers, the more likely you are to meet someone who just may surprise you. Meeting people who are different than you is all part of the bigger adventure. If you put your best smile on, listen and ask good questions, you’ll have your best chance at meeting someone who’s right for you and that final change of status. Happy dating to you!