20 Effective Online Dating Tips: The Unspoken Rules And Etiquettes

The world of online dating can get a little tricky, so here are few tips to help out your journey to finding love! Whether you're just looking for something fun or looking for the one, being open and being yourself (amongst other things) will lead you straight to your perfect match. With the growing amount of options of dating apps and websites lately, it's easy to get a tad overwhelmed and confused on how to be successful on certain platforms. Nonetheless, online dating can come with plenty of memorable experiences and entertaining stories for the future if it's done the right way! Here's the extra nudge in the right direction with these 20 great tips that will help you get exactly what you're looking for in the big sea of love.

By Amanda Davis
20 Effective Online Dating Tips: The Unspoken Rules And Etiquettes

1. Be yourself!

This is by far the most important tip for the online dating world. What's the point of getting to know someone if they don't know (or won't like) you for who you really are? Be yourself! It's the only way to truly find the right person for you, and it makes dating 10 times more fun when you two genuinely get along. There's someone out there for everyone, you just have to be yourself to find your person!

2. No playing hard-to-get in online dating

You're all in the same place, at the same time, and (hopefully) for the same reason. No playing games when it comes to love, and this goes for both men and women! If you're interested in a potential online love connection, be up front and don't make the person wait for no reason. If you KNOW you want to date, want to get to know them more, or want to end it before it even begins, say it ASAP. Tricks are for kids, try and be an adult.

3. Have MULTIPLE recent and clear photos of yourself

We've all heard the stories of people showing up to dates completely different than who they are today, a big tip is to not be that person. Whether it's a receding hairline, extra curves, or a crooked smile...embrace it! Show who you are as you are today to eliminate the element of surprise. Online dating is already nerve-wracking enough; you don't want to make it more intense or awkward than it needs to be.

4. No Catfishing!

Speaking of photos, make sure what you upload are actually photos of you! Much of dating is about the first impressions and appearance. Everyone that messages or replies to you wants to know that you aren't lying from the very beginning. Be honest, be true, and save yourself from getting hurt or hurting someone else. This is a rule, an etiquette, and a just the decent thing to do!

5. Be clear about what you want

Whether you want something serious or just a one-night fling, you NEED to be upfront about it. One of many tips is to put your intention specifically on your dating profile, so when potentials come by they'll know you want the same or don't! You definitely don't want to waste your time in the dating world with someone that isn't on the same page. It gets messy and feelings can get hurt. There is nothing wrong with wanting love or wanting to have fun; either men or women, just be clear about it!

"Cinco De Mayo 2011 was Chris' 25th birthday, and the day that would change his life forever...and indirectly, mine. Chris was adopted and never knew his biological family. His birth-mom had him when she was only 16 years old and decided adoption was the best route. She never attempted to reconnect with him because she was afraid he didn't know he was adopted. Chris never pursued looking for his birth parents either. He had always maintained that his "adoption parents were his real parents." Then on the night of his 25th birthday, Chris struck up a conversation with a random stranger while waiting to get a drink at the bar. She was a sweet middle-aged woman named Roberta, and when she asked Chris where he was from, he told her he was adopted from Easley, SC. Little did Chris know at the time, but this stranger named Roberta was actually best friends with his biological mother. In fact, they had known each other since they were kids and Roberta was even there when she got pregnant at 16 and gave her son up for adoption. However, Roberta didn't put two and two together in that moment. It wasn't until later on that evening that a light bulb went on in her head. 2 weeks later, Chris was at the same bar when he noticed the same woman heading straight towards him. Roberta declared, "I don't know how to say this, but I think I know who your biological mother is." She went on to explain that only one boy was born at the small local hospital in Easley, SC on Cinco De Mayo and that boy was adopted. Chris only knew his mother's last name and once mentioned out loud, both of their mouths dropped. After a few weeks and a DNA test, Chris met his mother, his 2 half sisters, and eventually his biological father as well. Here is where I enter the story. One of Chris' half-sisters, Ashley, is my best friend. I had just moved back to SC after graduating college and called Ashley to meet up/ catch up. She asked me if she could bring her brother along. I was very confused but she promised to explain in person. We all went out and Chris and I instantly hit it off. At one point, Chris turned to his sister and said, "I will marry that girl one day." 5 years later he did just that."

A post shared by the way we met (@thewaywemet) on

6. Don't be obnoxious

Everyone gets butterflies when they find someone they like, but sometimes it can be hard to not scare them away. Multiple texts and emails are a huge no-no when it comes to online dating. If you haven't heard back in a while, they might be busy working or hanging out with friends. There's no rule with timed replying, so give them a chance to breathe! They will reply the first chance they get if it's mutual. If they haven't replied since your initial hello, they probably aren't into you. This is when it's even more important not to be obnoxious. Ya win some, ya lose some. Let it go!

7. Be cautious with the info you share online

Unfortunately there are internet trolls, and some of those trolls end up on dating sites. Be careful when giving information like birthdays of your parents, first pet names, your mother's maiden name, etc. Those are commonly used as passwords to social media, bank accounts, and other personal information that you don't want getting hacked! When asked it can sound like they're genuinely interested, but just be sure they are trustworthy and given out that information wouldn't hurt you.

8. Proper grammar is essential in online dating

Proper grammar is important. Proper grammar is attractive. Proper grammar is proper! Online dating usually consists of adults, which means we have no excuse not to type like one! Young, old, and in between, adults that use the correct punctuation and grammar in a profile or beginning message already get extra points. Make it easy on yourself!

9. Courtesy tip: bragging is a turn off

Explaining what you do and what you've achieved is one thing, but your tone can say another. Bragging can go hand-in-hand with conceit in the dating world, so don't overshare every amazing detail about yourself on the first date, first chat, or on your online profile. Leave some mystery and let there be more to explore as the relationship grows.

Remember, it's a bio not a resume.

A post shared by Tinder (@tinder) on

10. Don't be the jealous type when online dating

It's online dating. If you're talking to 3 people at once, chances are so are they. There are too many fish in the sea to get committed to one after a simple "hello." If things are going well, tell your match you want more! If you're still talking to others, don't be upset that they are as well. Keep it lighthearted and DO NOT be the clingy, overbearing, jealous stranger they have never met.

11. Be openminded

We all have a type or a checklist of some sort. But online dating is a chance to throw that out the window and follow your heart. One of many great tips is to be openminded and not cross out potential love if they don't catch your eye right away or don't list hiking as one of their favorite hobbies. There are so many people in the world, and online is your connection to them all! Learn some new things, teach a few things, and fall in love with people for who they are. A lasting relationship is about growing, and you can't do that if you're basically the same person! An open mind is an open heart.

12. It's okay to social media stalk, NOT follow

This is one of the weirder tips, but just as useful. We, of course, want to make sure that our potential matches are the real deal, and since most dating sites show full names they will be easy to look up. Find their Instagram, Facebook, etc. and see if they're actually single or close to their mom like they claim. However you shouldn't follow or send any friend requests until there is a growing friend/relationship. This one isn't technically a rule, but definitely an etiquette for your potential match. Pull back on the reins a bit before taking that step, and make sure you're both on the same page.

13. Safety tip: plan to meet in public

Even if you plan to have a quick hook-up, make sure to meet your online match in a public place first. Dinner, ice cream, a carnival, etc. There are so many options! Remember that this person is a stranger, and if they insist on meeting in their home or somewhere private it's a red flag. The goal should be making each other feel comfortable and having fun, so be cautious and stay safe! Remember: If you feel uncomfortable at any point, pre-meeting or third date, it's okay to leave! Be calm, collected, and call a friend on your way home. This goes for both men and women!

14. Speak up if you aren't feeling it

Okay. So you've been talking for a few days and at first it was great...but now it's getting boring and you've found someone even better. As correct online dating etiquette, make sure to tell them that so they can move on too! In no way are you obligated to reply to every message sent your way, but if things go sour and they're wondering where you went, you should definitely tell them the truth. They might be blowing off someone perfect for them while they're waiting for you, so let them down gently and continue your fun.

15. Don't take things personally

Exactly how you speak up about losing interest, other online daters will do the same. Remember not to take things personally when it happens and know that there is literally always someone around the corner online. No need to get down in the dumps or quit online dating all together. Biggest take away from tip 15? If they can find someone that's right for them, so can you!

16. Stay (relatively) sober

A couple drinks are nice to ease the tension and lighten the mood, but getting drunk on the first date shouldn't be the goal. This tip goes back to safety and thinking ahead. Your online match is still a stranger on the first date, so why take the questioning chance? Women specifically should consider this to be an essential rule with both online dating and traditional dating. Be safe and drink responsibly.

17. Don't be afraid to make the first move

It's common (and expected) for men to be the opener in relationships, but that doesn't have to be the case with online dating! There are no rules in who gets to message who first. For all the women out there, if you see someone you like, go for it! You'll never know what could have been if you don't give it a shot.

18. Have a phone call before the first date

From chatting online, to texting, to calling. Before you make the leap to accept and plan the first date, plan a phone call first. It will definitely help ease the anxiety on the first meeting.

19. Go in with no expectations

If you're signing up for the first time or going one your 10th first date, it's important not to go in with expectations. Don't expect the date to be disastrous, it may be amazing! Don't expect to meet the love of your life right away, that person may suck. Simply be open to all the possibilities that online dating can bring you and go with the flow. Dating is supposed to fun, enjoy it!

20. Made things official? Delete the profile

Love can be scary, but sometimes you have to have faith and trust your heart. Delete your profile if things have become serious! If both of you are happy with how things are going, take the leap and fall in love.

Overall, online dating can be an extremely fun and eye-opening experience. You learn A LOT and meet tons of new people! However, knowing how to handle yourself in this environment can make or break your success in finding what you're looking for. Follow these tips and your perfect match will be waiting in your inbox.

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