October 26, 2012

Online Dating Deconstructed: Which Site Is Best?

When I first decided to online date in 2009, I was young, pretty broke and went for  a site I'd heard about on the dance floor at Whisky Bar. It's name was POF, or Plenty of Fish.

1. Plenty of Fish: On POH there are a lot of attractive 20 year old men and a lot of creepy, creepy men, but it is free! Plenty of Fish is not my cup of tea. I've talked to many beautiful woman who were constantly messaged by creepy, creepy men hiding behind their computers looking for an easy hook-up or just to feel better about themselves. If you are looking for a man who will treat you well, and who is serious about dating, then it's a good sign if he has invested a little bit of money in the process. 

Amelia's advice: Stay away from Free dating sites! If a man uses "ur", "x-perienced" or has any spelling mistakes in his profile, stay away!

2. Eharmony. This is the site where I met most solid guys I went on first dates with. The problem is that it is not cheap. A one month's membership costs $60, three months is $120 ($40/mth), and a year's membership is $240. They recommend at least 3 months of surfing around and I completely agree. 

Now here is the awesome part. You never have to pay full price! Search for 'eHarmony promo codes' through Google, and I guarantee you will find a discount. I ended up buying three months for only $20. 

eHarmony uses the guided communication format which is a lot less intimidating than random searching. They will send you a few "matches" each day which comes with a few guy's profiles, Take a look at the whole profile, and if you're AT ALL interested, send them your first 5 pre-selected multiple choice questions. These are questions that you want the men to answer about themselves. Try to select questions based on why you're last relationships didn't work out, or based on what you know you need in a relationship. 

I was matched with a few guys who were interverts and I knew this was an issue for me (as an extreme extrovert). I asked the question, "how much time do you need to yourself", right off the bat. If they needed a lot "personal time" to themselves for quiet reflection, then I knew this was a deal breaker and I would close the match. It's very good to know yourself!

The beauty of eHarmony is that you can meet someone slowly through their 4 steps, or if you really like their profile you can skip everything and email them right away. I always felt that every guy I communicated with on eHarmony was serious about dating, and most likely had a decent job. Their site has some great tips of how to get started. 

The downfall is that after the matches run out in your city, you may not get a match for several days, or even a week. February seems to be their busy season and the summer is quiet. Doesn't everyone want someone warm to cuddle up to in the cold winter months? I had a couple of friends who said they were getting no matches at all during the summer months. 

3. Lavalife: The great thing about Lavalife, or the Lamp, is that woman do not need to pay for communication, but guys do! On this sight you can search for men based on a set of criteria, including height, weight, body type, key words, etc. If someone interests you put them on your hot list, send a smile, then wait for them to respond through a message. Most of the guys will respond unless they're not really using the site anymore. It does tell you when they were last online.

There are different ways for them the men to contact you such as email,and instant messaging, It is worth taking the time to figure out how to respond to both and where a new message is indicated. It confused me for a while. Don't respond if you don't want to. Some of the instant messaging guys can be creepy and sexual.

If you want to have more control you can upgrade to a paid membership, which enables you to send emails and instant messages, customize your online searches, see which members have searched for you, and view member videos. A one month membership costs $35 and a three months cost $60. There are few free communication months throughout the year (definitely February) though, so keep your eyes out. 

The profiles here are harder to create because you get a big space to write in and nothing to guide you. My recommendation is to look at a bunch of guys profiles,  see what appeals to you the most, then this style to write your own profile. I always like the 10 things about me approach. I'll post more about profiles later!

Amelia's advice: Try eHarmony if its your first time on the online scene and supplement with Lavalife. 

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