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Online dating has grown from strength to strength, shaking off the old stigma and becoming the smart and straightforward way for modern singles to meet their significant other.
However, if you're new to online dating, it can seem a minefield of terminology, niche dating sites and profile questions that can take a bit of getting used to!
To help pave your way to finding just the romance you're looking for, here are the top ten tips compiled by our team of dating experts!
The first thing you do on joining a new dating site is to complete your profile. In itself, this can be ridiculously nerve-wracking.
Never fear. You don't need to satisfy your gran and your best mate while being mindful of what future employers might think of your weekend antics!
Do you ever feel like you're in some kind of competition to have the fanciest social feed and the coolest date site page? Don't!
Dating isn't about being anything other than authentic. If you play golf twice a month, saying you're a keen sports player might look a bit cooler, but it isn't going to play well when you do go on a date, and turn out to be nothing like the imaginary person in your profile.
Be real, and be honest, and the people you meet will want to flirt with you because of who you are - not because of who you are trying to be.
Even the most secure dating sites have the occasional fake profile - and it's part and parcel of online dating to be cautious about your safety and who you choose to interact with.
Here are some of the red flag giveaways that you're talking to a bot:
We get it, you're an adult, and you're here to find a date, not to play games - right?
The thing is that dating sites can be a lot of fun, and if you take a bit of time to play with the games available, you stand a much better chance of meeting more people!
Send a flirtcast, play a like gallery game, and have a giggle while you do it. It's all part of the fun, and who knows who you might stumble across?
An algorithm is just that; a computer code. It isn't foolproof, and it isn't human, so don't feel like once you've filled in your personality questionnaire, you can sit back and wait for your soul mate to drop into your inbox!
These algorithms work well, to a point. Usually, they work out key personality markers to try and find compatible matches.
However, the danger is that you miss a golden opportunity to meet somebody because you become blinkered to all the other possibilities!
Take a chance on expanding your search parameters, and be open to trying something a little different.
With thousands of options, it can be baffling to know which site is right for you - and which is a money-making scam that you're going to wish you'd never heard of!
Our advice is to check out real-life reviews; much like product reviews, the experiences of real people are far more valuable than the best-written advertisement!
Cards on the table - you probably won't meet somebody in the first ten minutes. Life just doesn't work like that, so it pays to be aware that you might need to chat with a few frogs to meet your prince!
Don't expect an immediate result, and be prepared to spend a little bit of time connecting and chatting. Long-term, you'll become an expert flirter, know how to weed out the profiles that aren't for you, and have fun in the process.
Much of staying safe online is about common sense; it is easy to get carried away when you're chatting with a beautiful single who gives you the best possible answer to every question you have!
Take simple steps to protect yourself. For your first date, always meet somewhere public so that if anything - anything at all - doesn't feel right, you can walk away wiser from the experience.
Let's be honest - a free service is never going to be as great as one you pay for!
That said; avoid dating sites with difficult cancellation policies, expensive costs or recurring subscriptions.
You need to be in control of your account and feel comfortable that if you do meet someone special, or want to close your profile, you'll be able to do so without any fuss.
Love and romance aren't exact sciences, so it's impossible to say what will work for one person and for another.
However, more and more relationships begin online, and with our busy modern lives, it is a great way to put yourself out there and, at the very least, expand your social circle.
If you decide to give online dating a bash, take it as a bit of fun and enjoy flirting and chatting with new people - dating isn't meant to be a chore, after all!