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Radio 2 has been exploring the world of Internet dating in a series of special features. Dating online can seem daunting to many, with the risk of heartbreak and the possibility of rejection just a swipe away. Fresh from chatting to Jeremy Vine about setting up an online dating profile, which you can hear in the clip below, we asked broadcaster and reformed "industrial dater" Andy West and Nichi Hodgson author of The Curious History of Dating for their best tips on finding love online.
Whether you're taking this dating lark seriously or are a bit more laid-back, it's a good idea to work out what you want from an online dating service. Are you after true love? Do you just want to see where it takes you? Whatever it is, let that ideal be your guide when preparing. Andy recommends trying to figure things out ahead of time: "Before you even download an app, before you even open a website, you have to think about what you want - that should guide you on what to put in your profile. It's not only about being truthful with yourself, Nichi says, it's also important to be honest with other people too.
Be your best self. It's important to dating apps for the right reasons too. As Andy states: "You certainly should never go to a dating app looking for approval or validation. There are a lot of different online dating services out there and they aren't all the same. Some are pretty fast-paced like the swipe-happy Tinder , others give women the control over who they speak with Bumble , there are even sites like TrekkieDating which - you guessed it - are aimed solely at Star Trek fanatics.
It's good to shop around then: read reviews, ask friends for recommendations and their experiences on certain services. First impressions are important, especially if someone is glancing at your picture, ready to swipe right and move on.
So, having a good first photo is really crucial. And if you're feeling happy, show it. It's a good idea to back up your main pic with a couple more options. Andy explains what works best: "You should choose a picture your friends think you look really good in, even if you hate it.
What you write in your bio is key to letting people know who you are and what you're all about. It can be the springboard for those crucial opening gambits in conversations too. Spend some time writing about the things you love and what sums you up. Three paragraphs that roughly outline what you enjoy doing, what stimulates you, maybe a little bit about where you come from. If you're funny, be funny, and trust that the people who don't find you amusing wouldn't have laughed in real life either. But don't try and stuff your bio with jokes if that's not you.
Don't be afraid of rose-tinting things a smidge either. Don't misrepresent your height, for example, as it will only cause a lot of awkwardness when you finally meet in the flesh. Ask a non-invasive, open question. Nichi agrees: "Always make it an original message to that person.
Nothing cut and pasted. Your first message is your elevator pitch. You have to put a bit of thought into it. It's not a good idea to spend hours a day on dating apps - and not just because you'll be neglecting other aspects of your life. Online dating can offer hope, but it can also be a source of hurt. You must enter the world of online dating with the possibility of disappointment in mind, the experts say. In-app conversations are great and all, but it's best to arrange a meet-up as soon as you both feel a connection.
Talk too much online and you're likely to exhaust a lot of the chat that you could be saving for your first date. But Nichi also points out that this can be a risky move, as moving too fast could alienate your potential date. A good tip is to take things slowly, with a short initial meeting, rather than anything grander. Andy concludes that online dating may not be for everyone, but it has great potential: "Believe always that somewhere in your phone or computer is someone that will make you happy.
Hear Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 every weekday from 12pm. Main content. Top tips for creating the perfect online dating profile. By Fraser McAlpine, 20 September Finding Love Online: Getting Started In the first of a special series we discuss how best to set up an online dating profile. Know what you're looking for. Choose the right app. Your worst dating app experiences Dating apps: Your worst first date experiences. Pick your photos carefully.
Your bio is your friend. Online Dating Hacks Jo and Simon share your top tips for finding love online. Opening lines. Okay, so you've matched with someone you like, now what's the best way to start a conversation? Don't get hooked. Be prepared for disappointment. Finding Love Online: Older Daters As part of our series, Jeremy is ed by a widow who started online dating in her 60s.
How to arrange your date. The longer you talk to someone online, the less likely that chat will translate into a date. Don't give up hope. More from Radio 2. Best TV couples from the past 30 years. Madonna, Michael Jackson or Prince: Match the mega-star to the surprising fact.
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Dating profile tips: 15 simple but effective ways to make yours stand out