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The advent of the internet has brought us many things: social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and of course online dating. While online dating has evolved from simple chat rooms to dedicated websites to apps, the simple question remains: can you REALLY find love online? Apps like Tinder highlight the hookup culture embraced by millennials while other sites focus on creating lasting relationships. Still, success stories from people who found love because of an online dating app are few and far between. About 69% of women believe that online dating makes it harder for them to find love. Imagine that! Something meant to make dating easier making things more difficult. Why? The infinite options are likely an issue, as well as the pressure to start conversation once a match is made. With so many factors working against online daters, it’s easy to get discouraged. But there is hope! Here are some tips for a successful foray into the internet dating world.

1. Know what you want and don’t compromise.

If you’re looking for a committed relationship, let that be known upfront and don’t get talked out of it. Seeking nothing more than a casual friendship? That’s fine too. Just make sure the people you entertain want the same. One reason daters as a whole don’t find what they’re looking for is because they don’t know what they want themselves or because the people they’re talking to don’t want the same. Eliminate this hurdle by getting real about your wants and needs upfront and moving from there.

2. Talk to people!

This probably seems like Dating 101 but it still needs to be said. A main frustration of online daters is that people don’t talk or are unresponsive. In traditional dating it may seem taboo for women to make the first move but let's be real: online dating is anything but traditional. Reaching out with a simple “hey” or “how are you” can really get the ball rolling. On the flipside, fellas, this is where you can shine! Take away the pressure of thinking of something clever or witty on the spot and you can take your time to craft the perfect message to whomever you have your eyes on. This is the time to really sit and think about what you want to say.

3. Let Go.

So, here’s the deal: you’ve already taken a pretty big leap by venturing into the online dating world. Since you’re here, you may as well have a little fun. How do you do that? Move outside your comfort zone, talk to someone you normally wouldn’t, connect with new friends. The online dating world is vast so be sure to cast a wide net. Many people who have found love online have said that their love was someone they might not normally consider. That being said, let go of all preconceived notions of what love looks like and try something new.

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