7 Things Every Single Person Should Know about Online Dating ...

For the past couple of years, online dating has become an acceptable form of meeting potential partners. If you are still new to the world of online dating however, here are a few things you should know according to guest contributor Emily Green.

Online dating has been around for decades, but it is still gaining in popularity as a way for people to find relationships. If you’re interested in trying one of these sites out for yourself, there are a few things you should know. Take a look at these seven tips so you’re prepared for the adventure of online dating.

1. Online Dating Sites Use Decoy Profiles

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Did you know that some profiles you see on online dating sites are not real? Some online dating sites use decoy profiles to keep you on their site longer — it is a business strategy. The idea is that you will see something you like and keep looking through more profiles. As a matter of fact, some online dating sites even respond to messages sent to decoy profiles.

It’s possible to find online dating sites that do not use decoys, but you’ll have to read through the fine print pretty closely. A better strategy is to just know that a decoy will not interact with you long enough to form a date or get involved. Don’t feel bad when people stop responding to your messages. It could simply be because you were interacting with a decoy. Knowing this ahead of time will save you some heartache.

2. Too Many Options

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This is one of online dating's biggest drawbacks. When people have a virtually unlimited number of options, they don't know how to focus on those that really match them. You might find yourself rejecting the profiles of people for reasons that don't matter as much when people develop relationships organically. Unfortunately, many social media sites highlight traits that don't matter in the long run. That could mean you miss the best opportunities while you keep dating people you don't really like

3. Scammers Use Dating Sites to Take Your Money

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Not only do you have to worry about crazy people and decoys on online dating sites, you also have to be on the lookout for people that are trying to scam you. As you get more comfortable with someone on an online dating site, you still want to be careful not to reveal any personal information that a scammer could use to steal your money or identity. It is never OK to share your bank account information with someone you've only met online. This might seem like a no-brainer, but a scammer can be pretty persuasive. For instance, he or she might want you to buy tickets to some event and offer to pay you back, but need your bank number to do that. It seems harmless, but could put you in a very bad situation.

4. Sometimes You Meet Liars, Manipulators and Crazy People

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When you use online dating services, it's a gamble because you never know who you’re going to meet. People aren’t always who they claim to be, and it’s common for people to lie about things on their profiles, including pictures. However, for the most part, what you see is what you get. Most of the people that use online dating services are truly looking for love. It’s just unfortunate that you sometimes have to deal with the liars, manipulators, and crazy people.

5. Protect Yourself

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There are some things you can do to protect yourself from crazy people on online dating sites. For instance, you can do your own research on a person before meeting for an in-person date. Check his or her profile against other online websites, such as Facebook, for inconsistencies. Also, ask lots of questions to see if you can find anything that's misleading. It’s hard for people to keep playing games with you for too long.

6. Catfish!

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Consider all of the people who have fallen victim to "catfishing," a type of online scam through which people create avatars that don't exist in the real world. This type of scam could break your heart or cost you a lot of money.

Also, meeting someone in person gives you a chance to decide whether you are physically attracted to them. It's easy for someone to use a flattering picture online. In the real world, they may not look like their profile pictures and turn out to be the exact opposite!

7. It’s Unlikely That You'll Find Love on Your First Try

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Online dating takes a lot of time. You have to search through profiles, send messages, and then sort through your responses. It takes just as much time to date online as it does to date in person. The difference is that it’s easier to meet people online. You can’t expect to fall in love with someone simply because you have a good conversation, though. Online dating is just the starting point of a relationship. At some point, you're going to have to meet and see if you are truly compatible. It’s a scary step, too, and something that most people are not willing to rush into.

Online dating is a good thing. You get to meet people and have a chance at love. You just have to be careful to watch out for shady characters that don’t have the best of intentions. Have you had success with online dating? Share your tips with others in the comments below.

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