We all know that online dating is the easiest way to meet a partner in the digital age - but is it really that simple?
The key is to have a clear idea about what you want and where to find it!
In this guide, the Best10 team runs through our ten online dating rules to find your happy ever after (without the stumbling blocks along the way!).
Ok, so here a common scenario:
Let's go right back to step one. If you don't know what you're looking for, it's not time to join a dating site!
Related reading: Pros & Cons of eHarmony
Assess whether you're after love, romance, long-term commitment, marriage, casual dates, fun, and thrills, or something altogether different.
Being purposeful means you'll choose the best dating site in the world for your relationship aspirations and start on a much better footing.
So many dating sites have handy nudges to help you skip past your profile creation and dive right into the good stuff - but it's a common mistake if you're genuinely looking for a partner!
Your profile is your opportunity to make a great first impression, so make it count.
Don't try to emulate anything that doesn't speak to your truth. We're not all hilariously funny (present company excepted, obvs!), and we don't all want a 2.4 family - so be authentic, and you'll match with people who truly meet your requirements!
Next up, your profile image holds similarly heavy weighting in meeting someone perfect.
The best free dating apps in USA states are crammed with attractive people, so it's not a competition to find the hottest selfie possible. Instead, it's about showcasing your personality and demonstrating the person you are.
One of the easy mistakes to make with online dating is sitting back and waiting for the perfect guys or girls to rock up in your inbox.
Now is NOT the time to be shy!
Found someone who looks nice, or you could imagine yourself on a date with? Send them a message!
You have nothing to lose.
Nine out of ten messages start precisely the same way.
There's nothing wrong with any of those sentences, and we get that it can be nerve-wracking to try and think of a killer opening line! However, if you can be exciting and engaging, you'll instantly stand out from the crowd.
Mention something about this person's profile that makes you think you might be a good pair or ask a question about where they live or what sort of relationship they're hoping for.
Let's be clear here - your time is precious. You aren't obliged to respond to every person who messages you. If there isn't a spark of attraction, it's not going to work out.
If you're like me, the urge is always there to be polite and chatty, just because it's human nature.
However, do that with online dating. You can fall down a rabbit hole of hundreds of chat messages with people you have zero intention of meeting - and potentially miss out on that perfect person who got lost in your cluttered inbox!
You never have to be mean or dismissive.
But, practicing a kind but firm refusal is a vital skill. That could be, 'Thanks so much for the message! But, unfortunately, I don't feel that we're a good fit.'
Dating burnout happens when you're trying to message too many people too often. Set yourself a limit of, say, three people, and focus on the conversation, so you're engaged in it and not creating a second full-time job for yourself.
Leading on from the ability to say no, you've also got to keep it real with people you are interested in!
Of course, you don't want to be discussing your shoe size, childhood memories, or bank details with any old person online, but you do have to be open to honest conversations.
If you're authentic rather than guarded, you'll find it much easier to establish a genuine connection.
There is no right or wrong answer as to when it's time to meet up in person.
If you've met someone online who feels like a real prospect, there's little point in endless DMs if you think that you're ready to date and get to know each other in real life.
Likewise, waiting for weeks to meet can put a tons of pressure on the situation that all but guarantees it's going to implode!
So clearly, you're the most eligible person on any dating site you join - but don't take it personally if every single dater doesn't feel the same way!
If someone isn't interested, hasn't responded, or goes cold, put on your boots and walk right away.
Online dating works, but it isn't magic.
You might be fortunate and meet a to-die-for person on the first day, but let's face it - you're as likely to win the lottery.
Take it easy, don't rush, and stop putting pressure on yourself to transform your love life instantly.