The Ultimate Online Dating Guide for Women (2024 edition)

In high school dating was fun. You got all dolled up and went to the movies with your high school crush. Then you spent a half an hour on the porch holding hands and nuzzling each other, while prying eyes watched from the living room window. It was all quite innocent and adorable. Unfortunately for us (grown-ups), dating doesn’t always stay fun. Here’s the online dating guide you need to see!

There comes a time when we can’t find time to look for guys who are interesting, intelligent, and attractive, or we just can’t find any. Well, lucky for us online dating is a viable option. However, it can also be a dangerous and dishonest option. Don’t worry though – we have some online dating tips and advice to help you find the perfect match!

Pretty girl smiling while looking at her phone: probably reading a message from her boyfriend

Online Dating Guide

Here are 10 quick tips for online dating.

Tip #1: Put Up a Recent Photo of Yourself

We all have our favorite pictures of ourselves. Usually they’re from when we were a little bit thinner and a little bit younger. It’s good to have those in an album on your profile but not good for your profile picture. Make sure that you keep a recent photo of yourself as your profile picture.

The best and most well-received pictures are those where you are looking at the camera and smiling genuinely. Pick one where you are in the picture alone. If you have a great picture of yourself hanging out with friends, that’s great. Stick that in the album too.

Tip #2: Make Sure Your Photos are On Point

Happy girl in the woods

One of the first things that catch someone’s eye on an online dating profile is naturally the photos. You don’t necessarily have to get professional ones taken, but they should be of a similar quality even if they come from a cell phone. Avoid anything grainy with dark or harsh light as it isn’t flattering or appealing to look at in general. Instead of having a few photos from the same day, try to mix them up with pictures highlighting your face as well as activity photos where you’re living your life. People want to get a feel for who you are.

If all of your photos are bathroom selfies from the same afternoon they don’t say anything about you besides the fact that you might not get out too much. Avoid group photos that are full of other women where it isn’t obvious which one is you, as well as outdated photos. And never do too much as far as editing and manipulating photos. There’s no reason to coerce someone onto a date with an older photo, because if that’s all they care about they will be gone soon anyway.

Tip #3: Create An Honest Profile

This goes along with the recent photo for your profile picture. What’s the point of lying about yourself in your profile when you fully intend on meeting this person in real life?

There’s no reason to lie about your age, weight, or height. Do you really want to be with someone who strictly targets women who are five or six years younger than you are?

Do you really want to be with a person who is so focused on numbers (like your weight, height, or age), that he would refuse to even get to know you if he found out that you’re actually 3 years older than your profile says?

Tip #4: Let Your Personality Shine Through

You don’t have to be a professional writer or a stand-up comedian to put some insights into your personality on your profile. Fill out all of the available fields with honest (but positive) things about yourself and don’t be afraid to write it as you would write to your friend. Online dating can feel like a job sometimes, but your profile should read more friendly than job application.

In fact, enlisting a friend to help you come up with things to say about yourself can take the edge off. Most of us feel a little strange describing ourselves and can feel boastful listing anything achievement-oriented, and a friend might notice some unique things about you that you thought were pretty standard in the world.

Always double check your spelling and grammar (or have someone proofread for you), because even the smallest errors can make you seem less educated or intelligent than you are. When you’re choosing photos, you should be mindful of the type of personality you’re projecting as well. Don’t post all photos of yourself in a bar if you don’t actually spend most evenings in happy hour, for example. Someone who does might be drawn to them and that might not be the type of guy you want at all.

Tip #5: Don’t Ignore the Nice Guy

It’s sad to hear but in real life, nice guys often do finish last. When you’re out looking for Mr. Right, you will often get distracted by Mr. Right Now or his friend Mr. Smooth Talker. Don’t get distracted by the one with the cute profile picture if you’ve already connected with someone else (especially if that someone else is really a nice guy). Speaking of which…

Tip #6: Don’t Pick the Picture

Don’t pick someone because you find his picture attractive. It is way too easy for someone to take a picture that he found on the internet and use it as his profile picture. If you are wondering whether his picture is real or not, here’s a quick tip. Google has the option of searching by picture. All you have to do is drag and drop. Try googling his name as well. You never know what you’ll find on the great big internet.

Tip #7: Learn to Read Between the Lines

I Met Him Online. Really.: One Girl's True Stories of Online Dating in the Real WorldI Met Him Online. Really.: One Girl’s True Stories of Online Dating in the Real WorldI Met Him Online. Really.: One Girl's True Stories of Online Dating in the Real World When you’re looking at potential dates, you’ve got to learn how to read between the lines. If he says that he’s “cuddly” then he’s probably a little chubby. If he says that he’s been called “distinguished” then he probably has graying hair or quite possibly no hair.

As people who are despairing or anxious for love, we have a tendency to exaggerate the truth

to catch the eye of the opposite sex. We (women) do it. Men do it. However, like I said before, lying won’t get you anywhere. Just as you shouldn’t lie about yourself, watch out for men who exaggerate about themselves. While we’re talking about wording and phrasing in online profiles, learn to ignore those cheesy lines. “I like long walks on the beach and cuddling with puppies,” or “I want to sweep my lady off her feet,” or “I will shower you with gifts and treat you like a queen.” He may just be telling you what you want to hear.

Tip #8: Don’t Disclose Personal Information

In this digital and mobile age, this piece of information is common knowledge but I want to emphasize it for this matter. Don’t give out your physical address and be wary of giving out your phone number. Since most of us have smartphones, you can still e-mail each other or message each other through your profile and receive it on your phone.

Meet at a public place. Always tell your friends where you are going. Have them call you or make plans to call them at a specific time to check-in. Call a friend when you arrive home so that they know that you got home safe.

This may seem drastic for some people and, most likely, the guy that you’ll meet will be just as normal as you are. However, there are quite a few crazies out there. Be safe. If you feel uncomfortable at all during your date, text a code word to a friend and tell him “Thanks but no thanks.”

Tip #9: Be Specific Without Revealing Everything

You don’t want to list out everything that there is to know about you on your online dating profile, because you need to have a little bit to talk about on your date! A little mystery or intrigue as fine as long as you aren’t being totally vague. Men tend to prefer faster to scan profiles than women do, so keep in mind your audience when you’re writing your information out.

That being said, be sure to include details about your interests so you don’t seem like you’re just rambling off appealing ones. If you like to travel, mention what type of climate is your favorite. If you love your dog, mention that you hit the dog park regularly. Anything to give a bit of shape and texture to your profile is going to make you seem more like a real-life person that the men will be drawn to.

Tip #10: Skip the Negativity

It can be tempting to try and appeal real amidst the “long walks on the beach” cliche crowd and be a little self-deprecating, but anything that comes across as negative, cynical, or bristling isn’t going to go over well with the guys. You don’t want to put anything into someone’s head that doesn’t need to be there. Also, avoid listing interests that make you seem a little on the unsocial side.

Including that you love to read is good, but mentioning that you like to hole up all weekend to read and won’t speak to anyone in the meantime probably isn’t.

That being said, don’t lie to beef up your interests either. That will make for an awkward first date when a guy takes you hiking and you actually hate it.

Books you need to read:

The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men

The Thinking Girl’s Guide to the Right Guy: How Knowing Yourself Can Help You Navigate Dating, Hookups, and Love

Creating the Perfect Online Dating Profile

Online dating is matching up people across the country. Over the last ten years, online dating has made a lot of ground in becoming the go-to for women and men seeking everything from a hook-up to happily ever after. In the course of your online dating adventures, you may find yourself trying to figure out the right words and techniques to attract Mr. Right.

What is a girl to do when it comes to catching the right fish for her?

Well, there are some simple techniques to creating the perfect online dating profile that will give you the results you are looking for. If you’re venturing out into cyberspace for the first time to look for love, or you just want to boost your profile to attract the right man for you, check out these five must-haves for your online dating profile.

1. Your Picture Selection

Think of your photo section of your online dating profile as the cover of the book that is you. Do not just post pictures of you in scandalous clothing to attract men. Give them a little hint as to what is underneath (as in, inside your brain, not the tug-shots).

For example, I have a tendency to look different in pictures than I do in person. Therefore, I made sure to post the two best and worst pictures of myself on my online dating profile to ensure that the men who were attracted to me didn’t expect flawless skin or the straightest of teeth.

Additionally, I incorporated a picture of me with my best friend (who is male). I found this picture to be very important because I wanted to make sure that I attracted men who were comfortable enough to date someone with a male best friend. Of course, I was open to questions about my relationship with my best friend and answered all questions without defense.

Consider what is important in your life. If the family is your favorite, make sure you post a picture of your family. If you are the adventurous type, make sure you post a picture of you climbing a mountain. All of these things will show a prospective Mr. Right what you do and who you are rather than what you look like.

Do make sure that you write captions for each picture to explain who the people are and how they are so important that you want to “introduce” prospective suitors before you even introduce yourself.

Tip: OKTrends states that women get a greater response rate when they chose profile pictures in which they are staring directly at the camera and making a flirtatious face.

2. Random Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a man who is serious and quiet, or laid-back and fun-loving, it is important to let him into your brain for just a moment.

For this reason, it is important to give a shortlist of random thoughts to weed through the men who aren’t going to be interested in how your brain works.For example, in my online dating profile, I just listed random thoughts about mundane things. I was looking for someone intuitive, creative, and thoughtful. I added information that showed I was all three of these things as well. In my “Random Thoughts” section, I wrote: “I write, therefore I think.” This revealed quite a bit about me and scared away the men who are intimidated by a woman’s intelligence (which is what I wanted).

For your online dating profile, be sure to show prospective Mr. Rights that have an internal monologue by giving him little snippets of what is really going on in there.

3. Your Quirks

This one connects very closely with #2. It is important that prospective suitors understand at least some of your quirks before you agree to a date.

For example, I wrote on my profile “I enjoy making arbitrary calculations on calculators, just to see what the numbers do.” This statement shows me as a quirky nerd-type, but it also allows the man to feel comfortable to show me his quirks. I cannot tell you how many ice-breaker messages I received concerning something close to “I love calculators.”

Think of the things that you enjoy doing that people might perceive as “weird.” Do you enjoy going to furniture stores so you can imagine a world where you would need a table that seats twenty? Write that down! It’s okay to get a little whimsical with this because nearly every man I’ve ever met needs a break from the structure and seriousness of the online dating profile.

Music And Movies Are Not Hobbies

When you fill out your profile blurb (i.e. the “about me” section), try to be positive and be unique. When listing hobbies try to think of a quirky hobby that is unique to yourself and two “normal” ones. (“I love hiking, camping, and I love to sing show tunes when I bake.”)

4. Your Online Dating Goals

As always, you should be upfront with the men who are viewing your profile. Granted, there will be men contacting you based on your pictures, who have not read the profile. You will know these men right away, because they will be giving you hotel room numbers and phone numbers in the first interaction. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Show your man what you are looking for by going beyond the box you click for this information. Explain why you are looking for this type of relationship with this type of man toward the beginning of your profile.

Remember that tone is very important here. You don’t want to seem too pushy when you explain that you are looking for a long-term relationship. Instead of saying “players need not apply,” say “I’m interested in something that will take off. I’m not obsessed with marriage, but I’m also looking for someone who is comfortable talking about it from time to time.” This will clearly show your prospective suitors what you really want out of the dating website you are on without scaring them away.

5. Your Favorite Quotations

A woman’s favorite quotations say quite a bit about her. Not only are you showing your prospective suitors the books, music, television, and films that you love, you are also showing them little snippets of your psyche. Give a brief explanation of why these quotations are your favorite to help them understand why you are so connected to these words.

This is a great way to get deep without frightening potentials away. So think of your favorite quotation (I would keep the quotation on the lighter side, you might want to stay away from Sylvia Plath for about a week before you write your favorite quotes on the profile), and consider how much it affects you.

Writing your favorite quotation is also a great way to find people who have similar tastes in media as you do—which can be very important in a relationship.

6. Passion

Don’t hesitate to be passionate when filling out your dating profile. If you love something, let it show. Stay positive, be honest, and make sure that your true personality shows in your answers. People who search for others on websites generally want a relationship with someone who holds the same interests. The term “opposites attract” isn’t generally a factor here.

7. Most Desired Characteristic

There was a study done that posed questions about physical attractiveness. You’ll never guess what one of the top-ranking characteristics was. Pleasantness. Being happy, positive, and friendly ranked as one of the most desirable traits in both men and women.

Setting the Right Expectations for Dating Online

Couple hanging out

More and more women are turning to their computers to find love. According to Statistic Brain, 41 million Americans (of 54 million single Americans) have tried online dating, as of January 1, 2014. Computers are revolutionizing the way we meet people, but one thing remains constant… we are still just people meeting people. No matter how a relationship starts, dating always comes with obstacles.

Just like traditional dating, online dating can take an emotional toll on you. In order to keep your sanity and make the most of the process, you should observe these four rules:

1. Don’t Try to Control Outcomes

Having a positive, relaxed attitude about the process of online dating is key to being successful. Psychologist Vivian Diller says that her patients who report having satisfying experiences often approach these sites without too much investment in the outcome. “If it’s taken too seriously, it has the risk of fostering loneliness rather than relieving it,” she says. When you obsess about the outcome, you become fixated on the limitations of the online dating process.

Don’t worry too much about how many profile views you have or how many men have asked you out, and don’t obsess about where you think your relationships should go. Stay positive about the opportunity that you have to connect with people and let the process just unfold naturally.

2. Expect the Process to Take Time

Some people choose online dating because they think it is an easy way to find love. They figure they will sign on, have a few dozen new potential companions, and be settled into a relationship in no time.

But this isn’t an accurate portrayal of what usually happens. Just like in traditional dating, there is a process that you have to go through. Even online, several relationships may come and go before you find a good match. Licensed psychologist, Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. suggests you need to, “remind yourself of your own good qualities and realize that finding the right match will likely take time and involve some disappointment and rejection.” Before you even begin the process, prepare yourself mentally. Take things slowly and carefully, and don’t take rejection personally.

3. Know That Mr. Perfect May Not Exist, Not Even Online

It is true that every woman has an ideal man in her mind. Maybe for you, he should be six feet tall, fit, and sweet to his grandma. But do you also expect him to drive an expensive car, speak five languages, and be a world-renowned neurosurgeon? If so, you might be setting your expectations a little too high.

Having expectations isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Imagining a perfect partner helps you zero in on what you’re looking for. But expectations that are too high could be setting you up for major disappointment and causing you to pass by some very qualified candidates in the process.

Don’t get carried away with unattainable expectations. Be as realistic as you would be in real-life dating. And give a guy a chance, even if he isn’t built like a fitness model… You just might like his personality.

4. Don’t Rush Into Love

Maybe you’ve been alone for a while and you really just want a partner to share your life with. While wanting love isn’t a bad thing, being desperate for love could actually ruin your chances of finding it. Going into any dating situation feeling desperate for love can make you too emotionally vulnerable. You will fall for the first guy to shower you with the attention you crave, even if he is not right for you.

Rushing into love with every guy you have a connection with will only lead to a long string of broken hearts for you and it might scare away great potential partners. But, most importantly, rushing into love won’t give you enough time to build a strong, healthy relationship.

Take it slowly and don’t rush into “I love you”.

Do It Right

Online dating has many advantages, but also many disadvantages. If you treat it with the same caution as traditional dating, you can be successful.

Where to Meet Online

Couple holding hands and walking

Where do you meet men? It’s hard to meet a decent man when you’re in a dimly lit bar and half of the men are falling-over-drunk. The other half are either taken, under-age, dinosaurs, or quite possibly octopi in human-form. If this sounds like your search for Mr. Right, an online dating site can be a safer option.

That being said, online dating sites have a bad stigma for attracting desperate and socially awkward people. But before you bash them, let me tell you that the success stories are many (including one of my family members who met his wife on one).

Okay, First Let’s Talk About the BasicsThere are two basic questions that are asked about online dating: “Which site do I choose?” and “How do I know which profile to take seriously?”

1. Staying Away from Scam Artists

While looking at profiles, watch out for these red flags:

“I’m just visiting this site.” If someone asks you to sign up to a different website for him, don’t do it. He’s just a recruiter that is being paid to find people to traffic his company’s website.

“I need your…credit card number, social security number, and mother’s maiden name.” I know it sounds obvious but never give out any personal information of that nature.

He only has one picture. A honest-to-goodness profile has more than one picture (somewhere between 2 -5 pictures) showing the different sides of their personality and their best features. If a profile only has one, it’s probably a scam.

2. Which Website Should I Use?

The most monitored and structured websites are often the sites that you have to pay for (like eHarmony). Sites that are free have a tendency of having more internet predators and fake profiles.

There are many different kinds of websites that cater to different groups of people like farmers, golddiggers, and Christians.

Tips on Communicating During an Online “Date”

Young couple arguing on a park bench

If you’ve been at it for more than a week, you’ve probably found a pattern of how men approach you and what they are looking for.

It can be difficult for anyone to steer an online conversation away from sex to focus on getting to know another person. You chose online dating because you were sick of the bar scene. However, you soon learn that the online dating world functions much like a nationwide bar.

When you’re at the messaging stage with a potential suitor, it can be difficult to know for sure how to keep the messaging appropriate. If you want to get serious about online dating, check out these five ways to keep your messaging in line with your goals for love.

1. Be Honest

Send unedited pics of yourself, even if they aren’t perfect. No one is perfect, and the type of guy you’re looking for is going to know that the “perfect” ones are too good to be true.

Additionally, when he contacts you or you contact him, tell him why you find him interesting right off the bat. This will spark new and interesting conversations that show your personality.

If he contacts you, and you aren’t interested, let him know right away. You don’t want to string a guy along, and you don’t want that done to you. Let him down gently. There is no need to laugh in his face (respectively) or tell him he doesn’t have a chance. If you aren’t interested, just tell him he isn’t your type.

2. Don’t Get too Personal too Soon

The messaging stage of online dating is a great way to filter through the creeps without getting drinks spilled on you (as you would at a bar). I used this stage to show me which men could write a complete sentence.

Messages like “Yo so hot!!!” were immediately deleted. Consider what you really want to know about a man before beginning the messaging step. Now consider the information that you want to give out.

Sure, he can know how many siblings you have or what your favorite flower is, but you don’t want him to know exactly where you live or work—not just yet anyway.

Remind yourself that you’re still in the early stages of “getting to know you”, and there is a time for the extremely personal stuff as your relationship progresses.

3. Keep it PG

You’d be surprised how persuasive a man on an online dating site can be when he asks for a nude photo. Don’t you dare send it! If you are serious about finding a long-term relationship on this dating site, you need to act the part.

No matter how many messages the two of you have sent back and forth, your body is only for your future husband.

In the same breath, I will tell you that it is easy to begin discussing sex during the messaging stage. If you live by the rule of keeping it PG, you will successfully protect yourself from online creeps that seem to flood the internet dating market.

Don’t be afraid to shut down any questions by telling him the answers are too personal, and he’ll have to wait to find out. If he respects you, he will not push you any further. If he keeps asking, end all communication with him.

4. Ask the Right Questions

To really snag a great guy, read through his profile before every communication (because trust me, it can get confusing if you start writing to multiple people). Ask him questions based on his interests.

Do your best to avoid questions about ex’s and sex. Really show him that you are focusing on him.

If he is into hiking, ask him about his favorite trails. If he likes sports, ask him about his favorite teams. This will really get the conversation going.

5. Don’t Message Angry

A great rule of thumb is to allow him to respond to every post, no matter how long it takes. Don’t get angry or feel hurt if he doesn’t respond right away or at all.

You should be messaging multiple men at the same time, and he is most likely messaging multiple women. This is not a bad thing. It is actually one of the perks of online dating: it doesn’t take weeks to start over from scratch. You can move on to the next guy if either of you lose interest.

If it takes him more than 48 hours to respond to one of your messages, don’t get angry or assume that he is ignoring you. He could be busy, or he could have lost interest. Either way, do not message him in an angry tone. Just move on to the next man.

The world of online dating doesn’t have to be stressful. The messaging stage should be the most interesting for you because you really get to meet a lot of great people.

Remember to be honest, but don’t give away too much information. If you aren’t in an exclusive relationship, he doesn’t get nude photos. Keep a calm, classy demeanor while you write your messages. What are some of the ways you approach messaging in the online dating world? Share with us in the comments below.

Signs that the Guy Online You Met Isn’t Who He Says

Like it or not, online dating seems to be here to stay. Many many people are finding their perfect matches online and many others are having a lot of fun meeting different types of people in the meantime. The issues with online dating are due to the nature of talking to people on the internet as opposed to in person.

This can be as small as disrupting chemistry or lies about height, or it can be as large as getting completely catfished. Pay attention to any hunches you have while chatting with that cutie if something just doesn’t feel right.

One UK study found that as many as 58% of online daters lie on their profiles to be more appealing. Here are some signs that the person you’re talking to online might not be exactly who he says he is.

1. They Take a Long Time to Respond

If your chats go along at normal paces and then occasionally he falls back for a few minutes, it might be that he just got up to go to the bathroom or could be that he’s totally lying. When people have the space to lie in an environment that isn’t face to face they generally use the extra time they think they have to craft the lie instead of throwing back the first thing that came to mind.

2. They Use Vague Responses

When people lie about what they did last night for example, they are more likely to leave out sensory responses. Think more like “Ate out” as opposed to “I ate at this little Chinese spot around the corner.” They are also more likely to remove the word “I” in a lie. “Already left” versus “Oh shoot I already left”.

3. They Change Their Story

This one seems pretty obvious but it can be so small that it doesn’t seem to matter. If someone has one religious preference checked on their dating profile but says something different in an email, definitely ask what’s up. It might have been an oversight, or it might be a sign that they fibbed about a few other things along the way as well.

4. They Don’t Come Up in Online Searches

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable if not crucial to do an online search for people that you meet online. If you can’t find anything about them than it makes sense to question their validity. With all the social media we use, our LinkedIn Profiles, college records, awards, etc, you would expect to be able to find at least something. If you can’t find one match that makes any sense with their name then they might be lying about their name altogether.

5. Minimal or Old Photos

A lot of people try attracting more potential suitors by using outdated photos, especially as we get older. A man for example, might try to use a snapshot from when he wasn’t entirely bald. If they only have one photo or if you suspect that the photos might be outdated based on other details, head over to an Internet search again and see if you can pull up a social media profile to compare them to.

6. They Try Hard to Put You at Ease

If you asked a guy online if he had any more photos other than the single one posted, he might try saying something like “What don’t you trust me? Don’t worry”. When in fact you have every right to be worried. Why would you possibly trust a stranger online? If he throws a lot of things at you trying to prove that he is who he says he is than something might be up. Have you ever done the same thing to a guy? No, because you just are who you say you are and there’s no reason why anyone should be doubting that.

7. They’re Copying & Pasting Text

If something in someone’s profile introduction rings a bell, or if the response seems a little canned, just go ahead and copy-paste it into an Internet search. If anything comes up you can see exactly where they were getting their material from, which makes them either a liar or a fan of quoting movies to charm their dates.

What are your experiences in online dating?

We hope you’ve found these online dating tips and advice useful! Now we’d love to hear from you…

Have you ever felt tricked by an online dater and vowed to never let it happen again? Or are you just getting started in the online dating game a little nervous about the possibilities? Let us know if these tips made you think about it in a different way!

Online dating can be difficult. It is interesting that communication is the number one way to access the gold nuggets of suitors on the internet. Your profile is the “first impression” that men get; therefore, it is important to understand how to attract the perfect one for you. Remember, you must be honest about your goals, your quirks, your thoughts, and your lifestyle. What are some of the essentials of your online dating profile? Share with us in the comments below!

Have you had success in the online dating world and are hitting a plateau or are you just getting ready to start out? Let us know if you use any of the tips in our in depth online dating guide, and how things turn out!

Authors: Bailey Campbell, H. Daniels, Anabelle Lily, and Agatha Schuring

Want to start dating again? You'll need this ultimate online dating guide for women, that will help you navigate through expectations, profiles, tips and tricks, so you don't make mistakes you'll regret later. #onlinedating #onlinedatingguide #datingforwomen