Online dating offers consumers an easy and fun way to meet and date. However, hundreds of dating reviews left on Pissed Consumer alert issues with dating websites, fake profiles, and even dating scams. So how do you find the right person online?

We asked five dating experts to answer top consumer questions about online dating. Here they share the best insights on how to start dating, create a stunning profile, and choose a dating app that works for you.

Things to Know About Modern Dating

Connell BarrettConnell Barrett the founder of Dating Transformation, a dating coach and author of the best-selling book, Dating Sucks But You Don't. Connell serves as an international coach who helps guys connect with women by unlocking their best, true, most confident selves. Connell has appeared on shows such as Access Hollywood, the Today show, and Good Morning LA, and in many magazines, including Best Life, Cosmopolitan, Oprah Daily, and Playboy.

There's nothing more attractive than putting your real, authentic self on the line with somebody.

In this video interview, Connell shares inspirational tips to help you with online dating.

What Dating Trends Are Popular?

One trend that I've seen is more and more people, because of the pandemic, we have so much digital communication coming to us. When you're doing online dating, you're going to run into some people who are not there to date. They say they are, but they're just looking for validation or maybe they're lonely or maybe they're bored and they want to message back and forth. 

So that's why I have what I call the 12 text rule with my clients. Is I give them a rule, and I say, "It takes about 12 text messages back and forth on a dating app to get to that point with another person where you can both say, "Hey, let's take this off of the app and talk on our phones and maybe have a date." You want to ask the person out after about 12 messages.

The other thing I'm seeing is a lot more seniors dating… I believe there are more 50-plus singles in America than ever before, and they're on dating apps like senior singles. So we're seeing older people who are maybe divorced or widows or widowers or just people who've been very career-based and all of a sudden they turn 50-plus and they think, "Oh no, I don't want to be alone, I need love." So I think it's great that we're seeing the senior set embrace online dating.

What Can Help You With Online Dating?

If I could boil down everything I teach into one sentence, it would simply be - be radically authentic. Put your real self on the line when you're on a date or when you approach somebody or when you want to meet somebody. If you express yourself and you take actions from a place of authenticity, then you will begin to approach with confidence. You'll know the right things to say. And you can create genuine, real, vulnerable connections with people.

What to Consider with Dating in the #MeToo Era?

A lot of single men get stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, most men, the vast majority are nice guys who don't want to harass women. They don't want to be inappropriate. They don't want to get in trouble or make women feel uncomfortable. At the same time, as men we're taught to make moves and go for that kiss and be a man…

And guys are like, "Ah, what do I do?" So here's a couple of tips. First know, guys, that it's okay to "be a man". You can say still flirt. You can hold the door open. You can hold her hand at the right time. Yes, you can go for a kiss at the right time on a date, that's okay. Women still want men to be men. The Me Too era does not mean that women say, "Don't make a move or go for it." It's more about being incredibly empathetic and present to how women are feeling with you and having a sense for noticing how the date is going, knowing when the right time is to go for that kiss, to make the flirtatious but not vulgar comment.

How to Start Online Dating and Succeed?

Lee WilsonLee Wilson – a dating expert with LeeWilson.org, a relationship coach, and best-selling author. Lee is a Marriage.com Verified Expert, certified Family Dynamics Marriage Consultant, Certified Life Coach, and holds His Needs/Her Needs Certifications. He has also assisted with multiple Ph.D. research projects on relationships and the science of human attraction.

Have an open mind to what you might find… trust the process, you might find success!

How to start dating online?

Whether you are a cat lover looking for another feline-friendly partner or someone who loves bubble tea, there is an app for you. The best way to start dating online is to first find the perfect app. Upload a photo of yourself that you love. Insert biographical information that you’d want others to match or find attractive. App reviews can provide great insight, but it all depends on what you want. Some apps are free, but others have a monthly subscription cost. Are you invested in looking for love online? Someone who is paying a subscription might be just as serious as you. 

What dating apps are more reliable? 

Hingle, Bumble, OkCupid. You may find love on Tinder, but pay attention to the bios — users are sometimes very direct on why they are pursuing Tinder. You may also like niche dating apps like Flutter for people who love cats, or Bubbli, for people who love tea, or Flutter, for people who have been hurt by ghosting. 

What can help make online dating successful?

Dating online can be hard and rigorous, but as long as you have an open mind to what you might find, and stay within your boundaries, and trust the process, you might find success! Most importantly, be yourself.

Dating Profile Pros and Cons: What Should You Include?

Karen DonaldsonKaren Donaldson – a Certified Confidence, Communication, Body Language Coach, and relationship expert. She frequently talks about relationships and dating for media across the country on local NBC, CBS and ABC newscasts to national news shows including The List and The Tamron Hall Show to magazines like Forbes and Cosmopolitan. She’s also an Executive Public Speaking Coach and a #1 Best Selling Author.

You want someone to reach out to you because they like “you” not the fictitious you…

What are the new dating trends? How do they emerge?

If you’ve only been messaging one another, doing a video date before you meet in person.

Ghosting someone or being ghosted. When you appear to be having a great conversation with someone and they just disappear and stop communicating.

Slow Dating. Taking your time and exploring one another online for a longer duration of time before you decide if you’d like to be in a relationship or would like to meet uo in person.

Dry Dating. The pandemic has given many people time to really think about who they want to spend their time and life with, and how to genuinely get to know another person. A newer trend is called “dry dating” –  intentionally dating without alcohol.

Baecationing. Inviting or going on a vacation with a blind date or someone you’ve only been dating for a short time.

What are the pros and cons of online dating?

PROs: You can explore conversations with more than one person at the same time. You can read their facial gestures to see if they're into you. For example:

  • Pupil dilation - when you see someone you're attracted to, your eyes give you away. That's because your pupils dilate when we see something that’s visually stimulating or something that we like.
  • Fast blinking - blinking is a natural human function, however the speed that a person blinks is very telling. Fast blinking is a sign of stress, but potentially good stress; excitement or nervousness.
  • Blushing - when someone blushes, this is a simple uncontrollable physical reaction to an excited emotional state. 

CONs: You can’t read social cues because you can only view the person's face and sometimes their upper torso.

If you’re only texting or messaging one another, you can’t assess if everything that they are saying is the truth. If you could see them, you could look for gestures that someone may not be telling the truth.  I.e. constantly scratching the nose, looking down when talking, etc.

What you should or should not include in a dating profile?

Please be yourself and don’t write what you think sounds hot, sexy, or attractive. Be honest, because you want someone to reach out to you because they like “you” not the fictitious you that you’ve written about online. It also makes it easier to find the right person.

Add your personality and your quirks, i.e. I like to do a weekly Netflix binge with popcorn. When writing your profile focus on “what you want”, not what you don’t want, because then the tone of your profile become negative

Do add a recent picture of yourself, that actually looks like you “now”, not 5 years ago. Don’t lie.

How You Should Choose Dating Service Today

Lisa HoldenLisa Holden – a dating blogger and 30-something single who writes about her dating, love, and sex life for Popsugar and other outlets. Having dated across major cities including San Francisco, New York, London, and San Diego, she offers a unique perspective on the modern dating experience and shares as much as she can with her readers, friends, and anyone who will listen. She offers 1:1 dating coaching for singles of all ages and shares stories about her love life on her website.

The golden rule is you have to fish where the fish are.

How has the dating landscape changed since the pandemic?

Pre-pandemic, dating apps were used as a means to an end, with the ultimate goal to meet someone in person. During the pandemic, we had to adjust so many elements of our lifestyles and when it comes to dating, that meant engaging with individuals on the dating app itself. So what used to be a means to an end became an end in and of itself. Dating apps became a platform for flirting and chatting with strangers, which could no longer be done at the coffee shop or the dog park.

Now, in a post-vaccination world, dating apps have changed yet again. A survey conducted by Match Me Cards found that 54% of singles said they are very comfortable or somewhat comfortable with dating now that most people have access to the vaccine in the U.S., and 44% said they will be more particular about how they date now vs. before the pandemic. This translates to more conversation on the apps before agreeing to meet in person. 

That said, the report found singles aren’t thrilled with the platforms available with only 20% saying they like using dating apps, and 54% having a negative opinion of them. My professional recommendation is to continue using them as a means to an end, if you’re comfortable meeting safely in person there is no other way to truly know if someone is a match for you.

What online dating services are popular and why?

When it comes to using dating apps, the golden rule is you have to fish where the fish are. In other words, don't sign up for a niche dating app that only offers one particular type of person unless your needs are incredibly specific in some way. It’s a far better strategy to utilize some of the most popular dating apps such as Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, The League, and OkCupid. This is where you'll find the highest volume of singles and you can swipe through as many profiles as it takes to find someone you'd like to engage with further. 

How to choose a reliable online dating website or app?

My personal favorite dating apps are Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, The League, and OkCupid. Go through their terms of service and you'll see plenty of measures being taken to moderate their community of singles and ensure a safe environment. That said, a dating app can be unsafe if you don't take personal responsibility for your well-being. I don't recommend sharing specifics about your profession on your dating app, as that is a great way for someone to be able to find your social media. Don’t share your last name or date of birth publicly. You might share that you’re a lawyer but don’t name your firm. What’s more, when arranging a date, make sure someone knows when and where you’re going, plus any information about the person you’re meeting.

What to Watch Out for When Dating Online?

Lana OtoyaLana Otoya – a well-known dating coach for women and founder of Millennialships.com. She specializes in helping strong and successful women use their feminine strength to attract higher-quality men. Lana has been featured in major dating publications such as DatingAdvice.com, Bustle, and Cosmopolitan and has worked for luxury matchmaking companies such as Personal Dating Concierge and VidaSelect.

Online dating is not a waste of time or money.…you have a higher chance of meeting your future spouse online than anywhere else.

Free dating vs. Paid subscription: Does a paid membership increase your chances?

The short answer is that free is always better. Truly free apps which give you full access to their inventory and don’t limit your messaging have nothing to hide. This is mostly limited to the “big 3” of dating apps which are Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder. Sticking to those apps will help you avoid scams and are your biggest chance of success. 

These apps are the most popular dating apps in North America so you’ll have access to the highest number of single people at any given time. All three of those apps offer paid incentives which are not scams but the truth is, if you’re struggling to match on these apps it’s probably a result of your photos and/or bio. Paying for incentives might give you a little uptick in matches, but if you’re struggling, you should really look at getting better photos. 

What red flags to watch out for when dating online?

Watch out for bots or fake people messaging you. This can happen on pretty much any dating site so always be vigilant. Ways to spot these scammers are: if they have really bad and incoherent English if they push you to chat off the site like on Whatsapp or “Kik” and of course if they ask you for money. 

Another big red flag is if they seem too good to be true. If the woman seems like a beautiful 20-year-old model and you are a man in your 50’s you might want to proceed with caution. While dating online can be a little risky, remember that the only real danger is if you give someone money, personal information, or click on any links. If you can avoid doing those three things you’ll stay safe. 

What are common dating scams and how to avoid them?

Really niche dating websites should be avoided. These target very specific interests or demographics such as mindfulness, farmers, kinks, military/veterans etc. These sites are more likely to be fake but even if they’re not, the inventory of people is extremely limited. Any site offering “elite members” should be avoided. These claim to have the most successful and best-looking members, yet pretty much anyone can still sign up for them. 

Even sites with “waiting lists” usually let everyone in eventually. Also, any site claiming to vet people based on their income is a scam. They don’t really do this and even if they do, bank statements or other ways to prove income are easily faked. The best way to avoid scams is to make sure you’re on really popular sites that have many members like Match.com, Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge. Anything other than those increases your risk. 

Conclusion

Online dating offers an opportunity to connect with other people. We thank our experts for sharing tips with consumers to help them enjoy safe and free online dating. 

Have you been dating online? You are welcome to leave a review and share your experience with others.

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