How to Prepare for Online Dating

You've been thinking about joining an online dating website but something is keeping you from pushing that JOIN button. Maybe you haven't pushed that button yet because you haven't prepared yourself. If so, then sit back and take a moment to see where you're at with the whole concept of online dating.

Dating, whether online or by traditional methods, is a huge step for many people, not just for those who are shy. Some people have never dated before. Others who are newly single may not have been part of the dating scene for many years. Others have had one bad experience after another and are trying to deal with issues of self-doubt or self-worth.

Whether or not you see yourself in any of these examples, it's important that you have an idea of what you want to get out of online dating. Knowing these answers will help you write a more effective profile and when your profile reflects your wants and needs, you won't waste time on others who are looking for something entirely different.

Are You Ready to Date Online?

That's the very first question you need to answer. If your heart and your head aren't in this, then don't start yet. You'll waste your time as well as that of other members. And if the online dating site costs money to join, you'll waste your money, too.

Maybe you aren't ready to 'date' but you are ready for companionship. That's an important realization because you will likely find others online who are seeking companionship, too. The interesting thing about companionship, however, is that people differ in their definition of companionship. Dates with no strings attached and even casual one-night-stands are both definitions of 'companionship'. So if you're looking for a shoulder to cry on or someone to play Bingo with, make sure your intentions are clear.

What Qualities do you Seek?

Besides a particular eye and hair color, think about the qualities you are looking for in a mate. Here it's important to think about more than physical attributes. Is your perfect soul mate someone who skis or surfs or who loves to putter in the garden? Can the person be recently divorced or widowed, or would you prefer someone new to the game of love? Is there a limit as to how old of a person you're willing to date or how young for that matter? Should a mate share similar interests or will someone with differing interests better suit your needs?

Define Your Online Dating Goals

Finally, ask yourself about your desired end results of your efforts. Are you looking for a long-term commitment that could ultimately lead to marriage? Do you seek friendship? Will a long-distance relationship be acceptable?

Even though you answer all of the above questions, it doesn't mean that your wants can't change as you make your way through the online dating scene. These answers just give you a starting point. After all, your ultimate destination really is all about the journey!