Dating Sites Hints and Tips

There is no shortage of dating websites out there. And the fact is that most of them are perfectly honest in the way that they operate.

Maximise the rewards, minimise the risks

As in most walks of Life, the Internet offers some fantastic benefits. But it’s far from a risk-free environment. But – again, as in other areas of Life – these risks can usually be minimised with just a little care and knowledge.

The online dating environment is no different. Although there are great rewards on offer, there are significant risks, too. These risks can take a number of different forms, from being “scammed” out of cash, through dates from Hell, to considerably worse (we’ll leave this to your imagination, but we’re sure you know what we’re talking about). On this page, we offer a few hints & tips on how to minimise the downside of your online dating experience, while maximising your enjoyment of it. We appreciate that, for many of you, it will be advice that’s old-hat, and others will simply choose to ignore it, but as it’s advice which is widely accepted as common sense throughout the industry, it may prove helpful to some.

Avoid “dishonest” sites

There is no shortage of dating websites out there. And the fact is that most of them are perfectly honest in the way that they operate. Others, however, aren’t so honest. These sites, to be blunt about it, indulge in hi-jinx – in other words, tricks; naughty business – in an attempt to squeeze hard-earned cash out of their unsuspecting members. Which sites do we mean? Well, no names, no packdrill – we’ll confine ourselves to saying that there’s quite a few of them around.

This begs the question: what tricks do they get up to? Well, there are several of them – we’ve listed below some of the more common ones to watch out for.

Inactive members

Usually, a dating website will give you an indication as to when a member last logged in. This is helpful for obvious reasons. Some sites, however, don’t show such an indication. Why? Well, it’s sometimes a deliberate policy to hide the fact that, while the site may boast an apparently large membership, it actually has very many inactive profiles – that is, members who joined long ago (years, in some cases) but no longer use the site. These members haven’t yet got round to deleting their profile, or have been (it happens!) prevented from doing so by the site owners. Obviously, a site with such a membership isn’t much use to you. You should be wary of such sites.

Dummy messages

Occasionally, a dating site will allow you register and build a profile for free, but not allow you to read messages until you pay. Some of these sites then might then send messages from “dummy” profiles (usually admin people, working for the site) to non-paying members, in an attempt to entice them to pay to see the message.

Hidden charges

Some sites will promote their low-cost subscriptions, and insist that new members provide a credit card number to register. They will then charge a substantial one-off “administration” fee to the card, as soon as the member has joined. Of course, this charge will be mentioned in the small print – but you have to work very hard to find it. This is something they know most people won’t do.

Make the most of your online profile – post a decent photo

It may sound cheesy, but a picture showing your face clearly, and with a cheerful expression, has been shown to produce the most positive reaction among members browsing profiles. So smile – and look into the camera. What doesn’t work, or works significantly less well, according to research, is a flirty expression (with either gender) while looking away from the lens – presumably at someone else. And remember that lots of cleavage and those oh-so-amusing shots of you out of your skull at some kind of Roman orgy may generate a response, but maybe not the kind you really want.

Honesty is the best policy

It’s true – a lot of people exaggerate just a teensy bit (OK, so they lie) in their online profile – typically about things such as weight, height, and income, but also about key things such as age, marital status, and just how recently that “very recent” photo was actually taken. Of course, the temptation to fib is understandable. But it’s also unproductive. Let’s face it, lies will be uncovered, whether at your first meeting when you arrive looking a decade older and half a foot shorter than your online self … or at a later stage, when you’ve got involved with someone and the stakes are much higher. Don’t open yourself – or your dates – up to that kind of disappointment and heartache.

Play it cool

Sometimes it’s OK to lay use you best “funny” lines, as long as you have some kind of feel for writing and can communicate irony. For most of us, though, it’s probably a good idea to keep clear of anything that might come across as heavy-handed – or which may not translate well out of context. That’s because it’s famously hard to read people’s intent online – which why smileys (emoticons) were invented. But most dating websites don’t offer smileys as part of their email system, so your message won’t contain hints as to your facial expressions or tone of voice. The result is that an approach such as “Where have I been all your life?” might seem hilarious to you but obnoxious to someone else. Once you get to know your dates in real life, and you understand each other’s humour better, then you can let that bizarre side of your nature out its cage. Until then, though, it’s best to play it cool.

Stay safe

It’s in the interests of a dating site to provide a safe and enjoyable experience, and most do. But there’s a limit to the protection they can provide. Like the real world, the online world contains lots of people whose intentions are not as honourable as they might be, and who are ready to use a wide variety of tricks to take advantage of you. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of these people can be recognised early, if you’re aware of a few typical tricks of the trade. In particular, be on the lookout for someone who:

  • Immediately asks to talk or chat on an external email or messaging service
  • Asks for money, or assistance of any kind
  • Claims early in correspondence that your introduction was “providence” or “fate” or “destiny”
  • Says they are in the UK, but temporarily living, working, or travelling abroad
  • Asks you to help with personal matters such as transactions (depositing funds, etc)
  • Claims to have a sudden personal crisis and asks you to provide financial assistance
  • Asks inappropriate questions (you have to be the judge of this, but they’re usually obvious)
  • Asks for your work or home or work address to soon in correspondence
  • Insists on getting too close, too fast
  • Claims to be recently widowed
  • Suddenly leaves the site then reappears under a new name.

And finally …protect personal information

These points are, to most people, pretty obvious – but we’ll list them, anyway.

  • NEVER give out your credit card number or bank information to other members
  • NEVER share your National Insurance number, passwords, or other private information with other members
  • NEVER send money to someone you meet online
  • Immediately stop communicating with anyone who asks you for personal or financial information or attempts in any way to make you reveal it

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