Keys to Successful Online Dating

Man with keyboard and headphonesIf you met your partner online 10 or 15 years ago, you might spend the rest of your relationship telling the little white lie you came up with at the time about meeting in the grocery store or at school. Any stigma is fading fast, though. According to 2012 statistics, 40 million of the 54 million single people in the United States have tried online dating, and about 20% of relationships begin online. These relationships aren’t just brief flings; about 17% of marriages begin online.

Online dating is particularly helpful if you’re new to a city or you just don’t have the time to get out. And while online dating still poses some safety concerns, it’s increasingly socially acceptable and provides would-be couples a chance to get to know one another before they take the dating plunge. Not everyone has a successful online dating experience, though, and research increasingly shows that some strategies work better than others.

Building Your Profile
It’s tempting to lie on your dating profile, and many online daters do. But a much better strategy is focusing on what makes you unique. Build a profile that you would find attractive. If you’re a literature lover or need a partner who adores big dogs, address this upfront. Stay away from platitudes and statements that are true of everyone, such as emphasizing that you like to have fun. Everyone likes to have fun, and in an increasingly competitive online dating world, such a profile won’t stand out.

While it’s tempting to choose your best photo, some online dating experts recommend making a more mundane choice. This helps you avoid creating false expectations, and will ensure you attract people who are interested in you for more than your photo.

Strike a balance between providing too much information and no information at all. Potential dates don’t need to know that you’re struggling with a divorce or that your dog just died, but an empty or unrevealing profile can be equally unappealing.

Making the First Move
Most studies show that women tend to get many more responses online than men do. This puts men at a distinct disadvantage when making the first move, so it’s important that first email stands out. Don’t just send a one-sentence response. Comment on something in her profile or share a story about yourself. People are much less likely to respond if they see nothing noteworthy in your message or if it looks like you’ve sent your message to hundreds of people.

Sniffing Out Fakes
Online dating is becoming a more competitive world. People sometimes hire professional writers to write their profiles, and some use fake pictures. Particularly if you talk to someone for weeks before meeting him or her, this can cause disappointments when you go on your first date. Start by plugging a person’s photo into a photo search engine to see if other results come up; if you find the photo on tons of other sites, it may be fake. Then cut and paste the text of the profile into a search engine to check for duplicates that don’t match the profile’s photo.

Safety Concerns
We’ve all heard that it’s best to meet in a public location and to tell someone else where you’re going. But the illusion of intimacy in online dating causes many people to abandon this strategy. Even if you’ve been talking to someone for months, you can’t be sure the person is who he or she says until you meet. In fact, many online dating crimes have occurred after two people have talked for an extended period of time. No matter how long you’ve been talking to someone, take basic safety precautions. And hang onto your privacy at least until you meet. Avoid giving away revealing information such as where you live, where your job is located, or any financial information.


  1. Campbell, J. (n.d.). The psychology of internet dating. Shippensburg University. Retrieved from
  2. Online dating: 10 psychological insights. (n.d.). PsyBlog RSS. Retrieved from
  3. Online dating statistics. (2012, June 20). Statistic Brain RSS. Retrieved from

© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Stephanie

    February 22nd, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    My mom has recently ventured onto the online dating scene and while I think it’s great that she’s meeting all these guys, I am really pretty terrified that one of them might not be safe for her to be with! He has been kind of cyber stalking her since they first chatted, and I don’t know, his whole vibe just sort of gives me a weird feeling. She tells me not to worry that she is being safe, but I also know that she really wants to find something lasting and true and I have a fear that she might decide that she wants to pursue things further with him and I am not sure that is for the best. Am I just being too overprotective or do you think that I could have some valid concerns and that I should sit her down and talk about it? I am just so torn because I want her to be happy, but I happen to think that she can do better.

  • JOE

    February 22nd, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Online dating is good but only when you take your safety measures.I have known quite a few people who were burnt because they did not have any safety measures in place.As for me,I prefer to use the conventional method and stay away from online dating,it has me scared too much due to others’ experiences.

  • mel g

    February 23rd, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    I have a real problem when people go into this full force and think that they are going to meet prince charming and they meet a frog instead and then they sit around wondering what happened…

    That maybe sounds a little too negative. What mean is that I find that many women set themselves up for thinking that this is it, this is the answer to meeting the man of their dreams and they stop giving themselves any credit for being able to get someone to love them. It kind of lowers their self esteem if you ask me because then they start feeling like all is lost if they can’t even meet someone online

  • Jess

    February 23rd, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Not all online dating stories are duds- obviously there are some successes out there otherwise the sites would have already shut down!

  • D.Ryder

    February 23rd, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    I met my wife online about five years ago. And while sometimes it becomes necessary to lie about how we met especially during a family get together, I think online dating is a wonderful idea to help all the singles out there. Yes there are black sheep in the online dating world but black sheep are everywhere. you cannot detest online dating due to a few such people.

    My advice for anybody looking for love online would be to not delay meeting in person if you are really interested in the person. it helps you get a real view of the person before you invest too much time and emotion on the person.

  • SaraB

    February 24th, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Yes, make your profile so that people will find you attractive and interesting, but don’t fudge the truth. Eventually someone will find out if you have stretched it a bit too far.

  • howell

    February 24th, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    while there are pitfalls in online dating it does offer you a convenient way of finding a date and probably even your life partner. it has helped quite a few people I know and I wouldn’t be averse to marrying someone I met online. after all, we cannot let the few instances of liars online deter us!

  • LEO

    February 25th, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    Personally, if I was doing online dating, then I would think that I would try to go into it with very few expectations, and then that way of you get something good out of it you are pleased with the resuts instead of hoping for too much and then getting let down and disappointed.

  • melissa g

    February 25th, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    likelihood of an online relationship surviving and becoming something serious is just the same as that of an offline one. i wouldn’t give a second thought before opting for online dating. a few things to keep in mind yes, but isn’t that always d case?? liars r never gonna make it anyway so cut out those lies n ‘white’ lies from your profile n you r good to go!

  • Jerry

    February 8th, 2020 at 4:21 AM

    This is simply a wonderful sit and thank you ❤️ for the effort to produce it.

  • Crys

    February 26th, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    I don’t know why there is still this stigma attached to having met your partner online. How else are most of us supposed to meet anyone great anymore when life has changed so much from the way it was when our parents were dating and getting married? I happen to think that this can be a great way to meet potential dates and to at the very least meet some interesting new people and maybe even friends. But those of us who are active in this, for it to gain more acceptance, we just have to own it. We have to be able to admit that the online dating community can be a great community to be involved with and that we are not all weird and stuff just because this is how we like to look for someone important in life. It’s the same thing as it has always been, just a different format.

  • Susie

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    my brother met his ex-wife online-not a good situation as they broke up and now live on two different continents he even had step kids he dont get to see no more. his ex wont let him have nothing to do with the kids and since there not his theres nothing he can do about it. it makes me and him both real sad as he loved those kids so much

  • Valencia

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    i can’t think of a worse way to meet people. i mean people can tell you anything they want about themselves and you’ll never know if it’s true or not.

    my sister met her husband over the internet and they are doing pretty good. but it worries me because i never can really trust that he is who he says he is.

    she did just find out he has two kids up in another state. woops!!!!

  • t young

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    This scares the heck out of me! With a young daughter getting ready to head out on the dating scene before I know it, I’m scared to death she’ll meet some crazy who sounds perfectly reasonable on line. I’ve told her countless times that she has to be so careful with information she gives to people on line and that she can’t trust people she meets on line who says they are a certain age and gender. Unfortunately, she’s rather hard headed and always needs to make her own mistakes rather than listening to others. I am so worried that she’ll fall prey to someone on line who means her harm.

  • Samantha

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    I guess I am behind the times a bit-didn’t realize online dating had gotten so competitive.

  • Trudy

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Best of luck to all of you out there with online dating. I am from the “older” generation. I guess we didn’t really move around as much and most of us were from small towns. You often knew your date your whole life before going out to the show or to supper. And, they certainly would get to know your family before your father would let them take you anywhere. It sure is a different world nowadays!

  • dai$y

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    All the advice is good and I really appreciate the helpful points here. But should we really be concerned about being socially acceptable in the first place? The same society that had segregation, that said gay people were demonic and had a mental health problem? I don’t think so, and confirming to what the society says is the sign of a weak weak mind.

  • Mable K

    October 20th, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    Thank you for sharing these amazing tips.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.