Even though online dating is more widely accepted than ever before, it can be intimidating to jump into it for the first time. For gay and lesbian singles, in particular, there’s a lot to consider — from choosing an LGBT-friendly site to creating a profile that stands out to crafting messages that get a response.
Here are five simple tips to help LGBT daters succeed at online dating.
- Find a Dating Site That Caters to Your Needs
There are hundreds of gay dating services out there, so it’s worth taking the time to do a little research beforehand. You don’t want to pick the first one you come across only to realise later that it doesn’t really know how to cater to the LGBT audience. The good news is you don’t have to look far because there are online dating experts who’ve put a lot of effort into testing and ranking the best gay dating sites as well as the best lesbian dating sites. These reviews break down everything, including the cost, demographic information, usability, and reputations — and Match.com, with its constantly growing community of LGBT users, is consistently at the top.
Another idea is to ask your friends for their recommendations. Most of us have a single friend who has or still is dating online, or we know a coupled-up friend who met their partner online.
- Be Genuine and Honest in Your Profile
Your picture and profile are what potential matches will see first, so you want to put your best foot forward as much as possible. It’s tempting to beef up some details about your life, but those little white lies could blow up in your face when you meet in person. A useful tip is to have a friend write your dating profile while you describe yourself. That way, you’ll sound more personable and genuine. It’s always good to have someone else’s opinion and another set of eyes.
As for your photos, you’ll want to include a variety (e.g., one headshot, one body shot, one action shot, etc) so people can get a feel for who you really are and what you’re passionate about.
- Send Unique Messages to Your Matches
Once you start receiving matches, which will happen almost right away, things can get overwhelming, especially for new online daters. While it might seem easier to just copy and paste the same message to everyone, you’re only hurting yourself. People can tell when you haven’t read their profile, so a basic “Hey, what’s up?” won’t cut it. Plus, how would you feel if you got a message like that?
Spend a few minutes learning what’s unique about each person and mention that in your message to them. This will greatly increase your chances of getting a response.
- Keep Yourself Safe
Meeting a bunch of new people is obviously very exciting, but you also need to keep some safety precautions in mind — both online and offline. Only give out your first name until you’re comfortable enough with the person you’re talking to, and instead of having them pick you up at your house for those initial dates, just meet them at the location. One of the biggest red flags is if someone asks you for money. You’ll want to cut off contact with them immediately and report them to the site. Most importantly, listen to your instincts. If you’re getting a bad feeling about a person or a situation, trust that what your gut is telling you is probably right.
Two other facts that should take a load off your shoulders is that most dating sites have a customer service team you can reach out to for help — as well as technology to protect your information from potential scammers.
- Have Fun and Be Open to All Kinds of Opportunities
The best thing you can do is just focus on having fun and taking advantage of new opportunities that come your way — whether that’s dating outside of your type or taking part in an activity you’ve never done before. If you’re simply enjoying the journey, you’ll find someone special before you know it.
For gay men and lesbian women looking for an easy and efficient way to meet compatible singles, online dating is a fantastic option, and these tips will ensure that you get the most out of the experience.
Hayley Matthews is editor-in-chief at DatingAdvice.com, a popular site featuring advice from more than 250 dating coaches, matchmakers, and other relationship experts. In addition to expert tips and guides, the site also publishes reviews of the best online dating sites, where Hayley and her team rate Match.com as the #1 online dating site. When Hayley isn’t writing about dating and relationships, she’s listening to The Beatles or watching Harry Potter.