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A Beginner's Guide to Online Dating Services

Jul 11, 2008
If you have never used online dating services you may be overwhelmed at the choices available for you to choose from. There are so many it can be hard for a beginner to know where to start.

Because of their popularity, online dating services are now available for very specific groups of people. If you are looking only for friendship and casual dating, there are websites for it. If you are marriage minded, and want to find others at the same place in their lives, there are dating sites for that, too. There are even dating services that cater to people who are just looking for casual sex or one-night stands. So the first thing you, as a beginner, need to do is determine what sort of relationship you are hoping to find.

Then you can further narrow your search for potential dates by choosing one of the many sites designed for exactly what you are looking for. There are online dating services for the elderly, the handicapped, single moms or dads, and nearly every ethnic, religious, hobby, or cultural group you can think of. Now there are even websites whose sole purpose is to provide you with a list of all the online dating service sites. Business is booming.

And for good reason. There are many advantages to using online dating services to meet people. No more awkward first dates, since before ever meeting in person, most couples have spent a good deal of time exchanging emails and phone calls before a face-to-face encounter is agreed upon.

Your risk of being rejected is greatly minimized, because detailed profiles are available for prospective dates to read before even approaching the person they find interesting. The initial process of looking, browsing through profiles and filtering out the ones you want to pursue can be done at any hour of the day or night.

Many online dating services offer live chat rooms and some of them are video enabled, allowing you to actually see who you're talking to before making any commitments of any sort. Using an online dating service allows you to explore all your possibilities in a fraction of the time it would take in traditional dating venues.

There are basically two types of online dating service sites: those that are free, and those for which you must pay to become a member. The paid sites are generally considered a better choice if you're seriously seeking a relationship. They have numerous filters in place that do a much better job of weeding out the wackos who may have been known to show up in the free sites.

Of course, like anything else, there are disadvantages too. There are people online who are only there to con you. Beware of anyone who gives you a sob story that ends with asking for money. Some people looking for companionship online are in a particularly vulnerable condition and there are con artists who won't hesitate to take advantage of them.

And even on the most respected of online dating sites, you are liable to encounter people who have lied on their profile. Many hearts have been broken after learning the person on the other side of the screen is actually married, jobless, much older, or much younger than their profile indicates. While online dating services make the process of finding a relationship easier and typically much quicker, never forget that using common sense (and a good dose of caution) is still a must.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson has compiled special offers for top dating services including a free profile offer at Date.com.
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