A few weeks ago, I posted Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love, and one of the places to start looking for love is online, otherwise known as online (or Internet) dating. There are a number of advantages to online dating: you can browse profiles without having to interact with anyone, and do so in the privacy of your own home. You can match up yourself with your preferred type of partner (and if you’re not sure of exactly what you want, see Step 2. Know Yourself & What You Really Want From A Partner for some help).
Online Dating Websites
A number of websites now use matching algorithms – some sophisticated, some not so – to help you find your ‘perfect match’. A couple of particular sites that use decent matching algorithms are eHarmony and OkCupid, and Plenty Of Fish claims to have the “world’s most advanced matching system” and has over a million users worldwide. The best thing about Plenty Of Fish is that it is free to use, but many dating websites are either free to browse (paid membership required to contact others) or have an inexpensive trial membership. Also, with reportedly over one billion active users, Could A Facebook App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site? Badoo uses your Facebook login details and has over 180 million users for new friends, chatting and dating, and is linked with the smartphone app Blendr (see below).
Another popular, reputable (and well advertised!) dating site is Match.com, and in the UK, a number of newspapers have their own dating websites where you can meet like-minded individuals. For example, The Guardian has Soulmates and The Telegraph has Telegraph Dating.
Specialist/Alternative Online Dating Websites
There are also a number of less mainstream, more specialised dating websites to find someone of a particular type:
- For lesbian and gay relationships, gay.com [you might also like to head over to Joseph Atkins’s post on the 25 Best Free Gay Dating Apps]
- For the internet’s biggest Jewish dating service, Jdate.com
- For arts lovers, Love Arts
- For single parents, Dating For Parents
- For those who are interested in the environment, animal rights and/or vegetarianism, GreenSingles
Smartphone/Mobile Dating Apps
And finally, with smartphones becoming more and more popular, there are now a number of phone applications that can help you meet new people, and perhaps your future partner. Skout is an example of a smartphone app that uses GPS technology to find someone near you when you’re out and about. You can chat (and flirt) with someone, and exchange photos, until you’re ready to meet in person – and Skout never reveals your exact location or phone number. You can stay relatively anonymous until you’re ready to give more information out. The Skout app is free and available from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. For the gay male community, there’s Grindr. You might also like to check out Joseph Atkins’s post on the 25 Best Free Gay Dating Apps. Blendr is patterned after Grindr and is the “straight” version of this app. The online dating sites Match.com and eHarmony have also joined the smartphone revolution with their own apps: Match.com mobile and eHarmony mobile.
So with all those tools and websites at your disposal, all there is left to do now is go for it! You can also check out our post on Online Dating – Could A Facebook Dating App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site? and learn how to perfect your online dating profile in Online Dating – Creating A Successful Online Dating Profile.