Online dating can be an excellent way to connect to new people, and offers the added benefit of allowing you to quickly define your search to people with interests that attract you.

You’ll get the most out of online dating by following these simple guidelines and taking a few precautions.

1. Give it a proper go
Once you’ve join a dating website, make the decision to really go for it: Aim to message at least three men a week and update your profile regularly. Don’t stick to your usual ‘type’ and try not to make a snap decision about men based on superficial criteria (like the fact that he wears glasses or is bald). It’s important to have realistic expectations – not everyone can be Brad Pitt.

2. You can make the first move
Don’t be shy. If you like the look of someone, don’t wait for him to message you. Instead, pluck up the courage to contact him first.

Expat dating tips: online dating

If he doesn’t respond within a week, then you can send another – brief – message. People who are new to the site are often inundated with responses and he could still be working his way through them. If he doesn’t reply to the second message, don’t get despondent. It’s his loss not yours and, frankly, just plain bad manners not to even send a brief acknowledgment to a message – so just move on.

3. Be cautious
Be wary of revealing a lot of personal details about yourself until you feel sure about the person. If a man uses words like ‘intimacy’ and ‘massage’, talks about his – or your – physical attributes or makes sexual references in his initial emails, then beware: he’s probably a creep.

Revealing a little flesh in your photos (a little bit of cleavage or a shoulder for example) can work for you – but showing too much can work against you and attract the wrong sort of attention.

Don’t move too fast. It’s easy when you really want to find a man and you find someone who seems to fit the bill, to want to move things to the next level very quickly. Slow down and take it easy.

4. Play the field
It’s okay to be messaging more than one man at the same time (it’s not the same as dating different men at the same time). At this stage you’re finding out about each other. You want to find someone you connect with so it makes sense to see a variety of different men at once. So don’t feel guilty – and mix them up.

5. Taking it offline
After a few emails, arrange to speak on the phone (on a mobile rather than on your home number). If you feel that there’s some chemistry between you, then arrange to meet up. Make sure that the first date is in a public place, always tell a friend where you’re going – and don’t forget to take your mobile phone. If the date doesn’t work out, don’t let it get you down – get back online!

Expat Dating is brought to you by Expatica Communications: news and information for the international community (established in 2000). With a friendly, high-tech matchmaker system, dating expatriates won’t be such a challenge. Love in a new culture and environment will no longer be a struggle as our online dating site provides you with the golden ticket for discovering a suitable single for you.

For more tips on online dating see Expatica’s expat dating series:
Online dating guide for expats
Tips for creating an online dating profile
Online dating tips for men
Online dating after divorce

Photo credit: Urban Woman Mag (shy girl).

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