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How to meet people online: a beginner’s guide

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by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

You’ve read the articles; you know that more and more people are finding both friendships and romantic relationships on the internet, but you’re still not sure how to meet people online. That’s fine! While more and more people are turning to the web to make friends and connect with potential romantic partners, the sheer amount of options out there can still feel overwhelming if you’re used to doing things the old-fashioned way. With over 20+ years of experience and research in the field of building meaningful connections and helping millions of couples finding real love, we know the most important aspects about how to meet people online, and offer you some tips to make it easier. 

4 steps for finding people who match your values

When it comes to meeting people online, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success right from the start. 

1. Pick the right platform

Just as you wouldn’t order sushi at a steakhouse, you need to choose the platform that works for what you want to do. First, figure out what exactly it is you’re looking for. Do you want to make friends? A social media site like Facebook or BlueSky is a good option. Looking to make professional connections and grow your career? See if there’s industry-specific groups on Facebook, or create an account on LinkedIn. If you’re looking to bond over shared interests, a hobby-specific forum or Reddit community might be worth looking into.

When it comes to online dating, you have even more choices to make – are you looking for something casual, or to settle down? Neither option is better than the other – it all depends on you and what you’d like. However, it’s important to be clear about what you want, since some sites are all about casual hookups while others, like eharmony, are geared towards people looking for something more serious and long-term. Choosing the online dating website that best matches your needs will make meeting people online who’re looking for the same things you are a lot easier. 

2. Create an engaging profile 

Your profile is one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to how to meet people online. A detailed, well-crafted profile lets people get to know you – and hopefully be intrigued enough to want to date you. Some tips for putting your best digital foot forward:

  • Pictures really are worth a thousand words. Let’s be honest; visuals matter, especially when it comes to making a good first impression. Choose five or seven that paint a well-rounded picture of you – selfies as well as shots that tell people more about who you are as a person.
  • Be detailed. While it’s important to consider safety when if you want to meet people online, that doesn’t mean your profile should be bare-bones and generic. Talk about things you love, what you like to do, and what you’re looking for in a partner.
  • Strike a positive note. Nobody likes a complainer, and excessive negativity on your profile is a sure way to have people deciding you’re not worth the trouble. Rather than talking about all the things you don’t want, talk about all the things you do.
  • Honesty is the best policy. If there are things that are dealbreakers for you (smoking, perhaps, or not having children) it’s best that you state it up front. You should also be clear about what kind of relationship you want, the better to avoid being disappointed later.

3. Initiate meaningful conversations 

It can be really hard to think of interesting things to say (hence all the people who drop into your IMs with a generic ‘hey’) but putting in the time and effort to do so can really help with how to meet people online. Some tips for how to get the conversational ball rolling:

  • Ask about something in their photos or profile. If they mention loving a certain band, you might ask what their favorite song is, or ask what their favorite thing about the trip they took to the place in one of their photos.
  • Ask open-ended questions! This lets them be as long-winded as they like and opens the door to follow-up questions and further conversations.
  • Ask a fun “would you rather?” question. These are light-hearted while also offering a surprising amount of insight into the other person’s character. Plus, they’re a great way to see if you’re compatible!
  •  Be clear about what you’re looking for, whether that’s friendship or something more. You can also ask what the other person is looking for, and what they’re interested in – the sooner you can confirm you’re on the same page, especially when it comes to what you’re looking for in a partner, the better.

4. Join communities

Wondering how you can meet new people online? Lean into the things you love to do in your everyday life. The great thing about the internet is that regardless of how niche or obscure you think your interests are, there’s probably someone else who also loves whatever it is… and the internet has made them much easier to find. One option is old-school hobby forums, where you can meet like-minded fans, or communities like Reddit, or even something like Discord. You can also find communities for just about anything on Facebook or Meetup. Don’t just stop at joining, though – be sure to be active! You never know what you might find.

5 Tips for successful online dating

While online friendships are wonderful, many people want more. Online dating has become more and more popular since it first became a possibility in the early 2000s, and a recent study says that something like 30% of Americans have been in a relationship with someone they met online1 Just like it’s traditional counterpart, however, online dating comes with its own unique advantages and drawbacks. Taking full advantage of all the opportunities the internet offers to find love can feel a little daunting, so here are five tips for how to meet people online:

1. Remember that it’s a numbers game

When it comes to how to meet people online, it’s important to know that you’re probably going to have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince or princess. Don’t be discouraged – it’s completely normal! Just remember that while it might feel like there’s nobody out there for you, you just need to find one person who does. So keep trying! 

2. Give the connection time to build

One downside to online dating? There’s no in-person chemistry like there is when you meet someone in person. This is why it’s important not to lose hope if you don’t seem to click right away – it can take time to connect with another person, especially online where you don’t have the benefit of reading their body language. Give it a few tries and if it still doesn’t work? Gracefully step away – there are plenty of other options out there, after all. 

3. Don’t stick to just your ‘type’

We all have a list of qualities we look for in our significant other, but it can be a good idea to toss the list by the wayside sometimes, or at least not be quite so rigid about it. You never know what you might be missing out on, especially with the far larger variety of people you meet online. Plus, stepping out of your comfort zone might mean breaking unhealthy patterns you didn’t even know you had. So put that list away and take a chance – you never know who you might find when you try to meet new people online.

4. Watch out for red flags

While nobody is perfect, there are a few red flags that should have you immediately hitting the back button.

  • Their profiles are bare-bones and their pictures are too good to be true
  • They can’t keep their stories straight between conversations or are vague and elusive when you press for details
  • They’re constantly complaining or being negative about everything.
  • They go beyond having preferences to insisting their dating partner meet very specific criteria
  • They refuse to video chat or meet in person
  • They’re pushy and disrespectful of boundaries, especially when it comes to sex or money

5. Safety first, online and off

While the internet isn’t as scary as our parents would have had us believe growing up, it’s still a good idea to take care when you meet someone online, both when you chat with them and if you decide to meet in person. Some tips:

  • Be careful how much information you share with them. If they’re trustworthy, they won’t push
  • Always let someone know you’re seeing someone online and if you’re planning on meeting up
  • Insist on your own transportation to your first few dates, which should all be in public. You could even arrange for a friend to call in the middle if you need to arrange an escape.

Why eharmony is the perfect choice for meeting people online 

While there are several options for anyone wondering how to meet people online, if a meaningful connection is what you’re after, eharmony is the perfect choice. For over twenty years, we’ve been helping people find real love with partners who share their values and their desire for a serious relationship. At eharmony, you’ll find quality over quantity and a serious emphasis on safety as you look for a partner.

When you sign up, you’ll be asked to fill in a detailed personality quiz, which means even members who sign up for the free tier have to show that they’re invested. Once that’s done, our unique Compatibility Matching System will take the information you give us and come up with a list of members we think will be compatible with you, increasing your odds of finding someone right from the start. Worried about what to say in your profile? We make it easy with questions and prompts so you never have to worry about being at a loss for words. Premium members also have access to unlimited conversations, the ability to filter matches by distance, and a dedicated customer support team should you require any assistance in your journey to find real love.

Meeting people online is easier when you know how

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a friend, to advance in your career, or a romantic relationship, the Internet is a great place to look. When it comes to someone to settle down with, though, there’s only one real choice – eharmony. When you become a member, you’ll have access to a massive pool of eligible singles who are all looking for the same thing you are – a committed relationship with someone who shares their values, in an environment that makes it easy to connect. Sign up for eharmony and take the first step on the road to real love today.

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