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Online Dating Tips: From Profile Perfection to Memorable First Chat

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by eharmony Editorial Team - May 6, 2024

Have you been dating online for a while but haven’t been successful? Or perhaps you’re just looking to step up your efforts? The rules for online dating aren’t set in stone and changing your approach – your dating profile, the kinds of apps you use and how you interact in messages, for instance – can make a big difference.  

eharmony has been bringing couples together for over 20 years and we’ve gathered a whole lot of data-backed expertise on what works. So here are some online dating tips for enhancing your online dating experience.  

Some general online dating tips and advice

We have articles that deal more specifically with rules for dating and etiquette but here are three important areas to consider and some tips.

Embrace honesty in dating

54% of dating app users believe that dating app profiles are less authentic today1. People who are familiar with online dating often see through common deceptive tactics like over-filtered photos, photos that don’t match your age or being vague or deceitful about certain aspects of your life in your bio and messages. For instance, your career or dating goals. 

“It is a natural instinct to want love and connection, but a fear of rejection motivates daters to present themselves inauthentically on dating apps in the hopes of increasing the chance of acceptance,” shares Laurel House, an eharmony relationship expert. “The problem is that in doing so, we are attracting people who don’t know who we truly are, what matters to us and our values. If you want something real, your profile should reflect that. You want to stand out for the interesting truths that make you who you are!”

Being yourself is crucial to success on dating apps. It may not give you a higher response rate on messages but, if your dating profile matches the real you, it will lead to more successful dates.  

Prioritize courtey in dating interactions

Many online dating tips deal with how you present yourself in messages and during dates. While it’s important to be engaging and entertaining on dates, it should never be at the expense of the other person. Avoid gestures and messages that could be seen as rude, inappropriate or too forward, even if you think you’re being playful.  

Try to always be considerate toward a connection. For example, make sure you ask about them, don’t dominate the conversation and pick topics you know interest them.  

Navigate online dating with emotional maturity and clarity

In terms of online dating advice, this is nothing to do with age and everything about showing you can handle your emotions. Handling rejection is an important factor. Learn from it rather than taking it as a universal criticism of you and your dating efforts.  

Think hard about what you really want. Are you looking for love or just something casual? What type of people you’re trying to attract? Are you being proactive and making the first move or just standing by waiting for things to happen?  Most importantly, this maturity needs to shine through in your interactions.

The pros and cons of online dating

We’ve put together a list of some of the pros and cons to online dating to help you decide which way might help you find “the one.”

Is online dating worth it? We find out

We’ll take a quick look at this question and offer some advice to make finding success online a little easier.

Online dating tip: Polish up your dating profile

Not to be too clinical about online dating tips but your profile is like your dating resumé. It shouldn’t have everything important or distinct about you, just the stuff that immediately catches people’s attention and signals your suitability as a partner. 

Young adults who use dating apps spend on average 10 hours a week looking for potential partners2. That’s a lot of dating profiles and you need yours to stand out from the crowd and spark enough interest to tempt them into a conversation. 

Your dating profile also needs to act as a natural filter for those who aren’t right for you. Be upfront about what you’re looking for without sounding demanding or arrogant. Let your profile and profile pictures tell the story of who you are, the passions that fill your life and the unique qualities you could bring to a relationship.  

The first thing you could do is audit your photos. Make sure they’re recent enough, don’t cover up  your features, don’t include other people and that there are some activity photos to show a rounded perspective of you.

Online dating safety tips to keep in mind

Even though 57% of US dating app users describe their experiences as positive3 safety should be a top priority, just as it is in conventional dating. However, online dating tips sometimes don’t factor how the relative anonymity of dating apps can lead to unique safety considerations. Picking a trusted service with a strong reputation and verified profiles is the first step.  

Users with ulterior motives, or bots, are often quite easy to spot as they tend to use obvious, almost scripted language conventions. They also quickly divert conversations towards the sharing of personal information or outright asking for financial support under the guise of some kind of life emergency. 

Another important aspect of online dating safety is the date itself. Doing some homework on your date is a good idea. Look at their socials and web presence. Make sure they seem to exist somewhere else other than the app.  

And while always meeting in a public place first is a no-brainer, also ensure your route to and from the location is also public and think in advance about transport or parking arrangements. Staff in most venues can also help if you’re feeling uncomfortable at any point.    

How to start a conversation on a dating app and keep it going

Your opening message is crucial as it not only gets the conversational ball rolling but also influences its direction. A lot of dating app tips deal with formulaic conversation starters but these should always be looked at as a source of inspiration, not a how-to guide.  

The first thing you should think about when wondering how to start a conversation on a dating app is their profile. Not just their interests but also what is says about their inner self. Do they seem reserved and thoughtful or a more outgoing free spirit?  

But first messages aren’t everything in online dating tips, you need to keep the engagement up and move forward. The same Healthy Framework survey showed that 81% of respondents talk to more than one person online at a time, so you want your conversation to stand out from others. This may be challenging if you’re online dating as an introvert but try to use the social buffer created by text messaging to your advantage.    

Avoid generic openers like ‘Hi’ and rather go for something that directly engages, like an interesting question about themselves or the things they like.  

Your guide for smoothly navigating the world of online dating 

If you’re feeling like online dating doesn’t work because you aren’t seeing results, it’s often best to start with the basics and work up. Take stock of what you’ve been trying, where it’s gone wrong and easy ways to improve. Here’s a quick guide for doing that.     

Learn from your online dating history for better results

Take a look at your online dating history and read through old messages from matches. What worked and resulted in a date? Take particular note of the type of person, the approach and how you carried on the conversation. On the flipside, think about the less successful interactions and why they didn’t work. You can also try out different photos and profile arrangements and see if those boost your response rate.

Improve online dating by identifying weak points

Try to identify the areas where online dating advice would be helpful. What stage of the process seems to trip you up most? If no-one is reaching out, you may have some issues with your profile. If you don’t get responses from openers, then either your profile or your first line isn’t engaging enough. If you’re not getting dates, maybe you’re not moving conversations forward or being proactive enough.

Get active and try out new approaches

Once you know the weak points in your online dating efforts, get to work. Dating apps may be convenient but they still require effort. Focus on online dating tips that address your weak areas and practice by getting out there. Try out new and improved approaches in messages, while always staying respectful.

Keep the balance between online dating and other aspects of life

We asked one of our eharmony relationship experts, Dr Lalitaa Suglani, how you can maintain a healthy balance between online dating and other aspects of your life: “This requires setting boundaries and prioritising self-care. Boundaries can look like allocating specific times for online dating activities to prevent it from consuming your day or leaving you feeling burnout and exhausted. Self care means that you also engage in offline activities, such as hobbies, exercise, and spending time with friends and family – essentially your life is not just focued on having to meet someone. It’s important to manage expectations and avoid becoming overly invested in online interactions too quickly. Regularly evaluate your emotional well-being and take breaks if online dating becomes overwhelming. By keeping a well-rounded lifestyle, you can enjoy the benefits of online dating without compromising other important areas of your life.”

What is dating?

We explore what is dating when it’s going well, where it fits in the whole relationship paradigm.

How to start dating?

Whether you’re learning how to start dating again or new to the whole experience, we’ve got a handy guide for you.

Navigating the Path to Love: Online Dating Tips for Finding Lasting Connections

Great relationships aren’t built in a day and try to avoid comparing your efforts with those of others. This is your personal romantic journey it’s unique. So learn to enjoy the challenges and don’t be too destination-focused. Remember, the right person for you is out there.

eharmony can help you along the journey. By focusing on compatibility, we get connections started on the strongest footing possible – one of mutual intent, attraction, personality and lifestyle – leading to more authentic connections. So why not try out a free eharmony account today?

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