More than 17 million singles live in the United Kingdom, according to the latest census data, and the Office for National Statistics reports that 2% of the UK’s total population describe their ethnicity as Black, African, Caribbean, or Black British. If you’re a single interested in dating black singles, those numbers can make it seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack, which is why so many turn to online dating.
If this is your first time giving it a go, don’t worry. I’ve compiled a list of seven tips that can help you have a smooth, fun, and, most importantly, successful online dating experience.
- Ask Family & Friends Who’ve Online Dated for Their Opinions
I have family members, friends, and coworkers who’ve tried online dating, and I’m sure you do, too. Since you know these people very well and trust them, why not ask them for their advice? You could get insights like what kind of information and photos they put in their profile, how they handled the search process, and things like that. They probably have a lot of stories, as well as do’s and don’t’s to share, and they can make you feel more comfortable about the whole situation.
- If You’re Looking for Black Singles, Choose a Site or App That Fits Those Needs
Almost 8,000 dating sites and apps exist in the world, and your best bet is to choose one that has a large user base, like Match, because it’ll have more black singles than a niche app. It should also have features that allow you to filter profiles by race and ethnicity. The best black dating sites and apps offer features for filtering by age, location, gender, sexual orientation, and interests as well.
- Don’t Rush Through Your Profile
You only have a few seconds to convince someone not to click next, so you don’t want to throw anything that comes to mind up online. Think about what you want to showcase about yourself, and try to narrow it down to the most important characteristics. People don’t want to read a novel. If you’re not the best writer but you know someone who is, have them write your profile while you talk about your qualities, appearance, lifestyle, hobbies, and dating preferences. Getting an outside perspective is always a good idea.
- Keep an Open Mind
Everyone has specific likes and dislikes when looking for a date or partner, as they should. In this case, you may be looking for black singles only. However, there are usually other areas that you could be a little lenient on. For example, if someone lives 45 minutes away instead of 30, but they’re perfect in every other way, are you going to pass them by? Or maybe they’re a little shorter (or taller or skinnier or whatever) than you like. Does that mean they shouldn’t be given a chance? Determine what are real dealbreakers for you and what aren’t. You don’t want to miss out on some really great people.
- Dedicate Time To Online Dating Every Week
Online dating takes some work — there’s no point in sugarcoating it. Yes, the site will do most of it for you (delivering matches based on your criteria, suggesting changes to your profile, etc.), but you don’t want to be passive in your part in all of this. Set aside a couple of hours every week to browse for matches, check on your messages and send some of your own, and tweak your profile so you appear higher in search results, to name a few.
- Never Share Your Personal & Financial Information
I can’t let you jump into online dating without telling you to be careful about what information you share about yourself and who you share it with, even if you know better. The biggest red flag ever is if someone asks for your credit card information, bank account number, or other personal information that shouldn’t be discussed at this point (or maybe never). That’s why dating sites and apps provide buttons to block and report suspicious members as well as 24/7 customer support.
- Focus on Having Fun
Whether you are searching for some casual dates or a long-term relationship, don’t get so laser focused on your goal that you forget the main point of online dating is to meet people. This is where an open mind comes in handy. Even if it doesn’t work out, you still got to know someone new, and who knows — maybe they could become a good friend or know someone who’s a potential “The One” candidate for you. If you put in the effort and follow the tips above, you’ll accomplish your goals.
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 apps, where Hayley and her team rank Match.com as #1. When Hayley isn’t writing about dating and relationships, she’s listening to The Beatles or watching Harry Potter.