Navigating Online Dating

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr


In the world of traditional and online dating, there’s one debate that rages on: Who makes the first move?

While many people may think it’s still the man’s responsibility to make this crucial move in a would-be relationship, we know that’s an outdated concept.

So we say, if you fancy a date with someone, ask them!

After all, strong women always go after exactly what they want. Why should dating be any different?

In fact, on the traditional dating scene, more women instigate a date than their male counterparts, in what we’ll call the ”first move before the first move” – like a subtle smile or eye contact.

But while these are the perfect ways to get a conversation started, these classic gestures can’t be achieved online, so sites such as eHarmony give a whole host of new options for finding the perfect date.

So read on for some tips for making the best out of your online dating adventures.

Taking Charge of Your Inbox

Online dating has never been more popular, and it’s a great way to meet fellow singles in your local area and beyond.

It can be easier for anyone to make the first move online.

For a start, you know everyone’s there to meet new people, so there’s no danger of embarrassment asking out a man who’s on a night out with his wife.

Even naturally shy and nervous individuals can instigate conversation through personal messaging and commenting on interesting profiles, establishing comfortable relationships over time.

If you do happen to find a profile that you like the look of, tell them. You don’t need to wait for the recipient to get in touch with you. Make the first move via your inbox and strike up a conversation.

To follow best practices guidelines, try not to make your messages too long. Keep it short, sweet, personal, and interesting.

Make Confidence Your Signature Move

Whether approaching a potential partner online or in person, confidence is a key factor in making a great first impression.

While confidence is shown through body language and gestures on the traditional dating scene, how you word your initial message and your responses is the key when connecting with potential partners online.

Being honest is, of course, the best policy, so portraying confidence within your means is important. Be forthcoming and play on your very best traits to present a positive you.

Introduce yourself confidently to people who you’d like to know better with a message that’s personal to you – and to them.

While telling your life story is generally a bad idea, showing your unique qualities and taking an interest in the content of their profile is the online equivalent to putting your best foot forward.

Whether you have experience or not when making the first move, everyone is bound to feel a little tense about how the message will be received. Try to keep it fun, light, and full of optimism.

Take a Hint from What You Already Know

Unlike traditional dating, meeting potential partners online gives you a unique insight into their persona before you choose to make contact. Use this information to your advantage when communicating directly.

By now, you would have determined that you like what you see, but use their profile to connect with them more intimately.

Discuss what attracted you to their profile in particular and highlight things that you both have in common to establish a great relationship from the outset.

Don’t be afraid to compliment their profile, too!

Try to comment on the personality traits shown in their profile rather than how good they look.

Flattery may be a great tool for women making the first move online, but make sure this reflects on what you are looking for from a budding online relationship.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Being direct is another trait that comes in handy when making the first move online.

With the burning of the traditional dating rulebook – full of classics like “Don’t call him first” and “Leave at least four hours before replying” – comes characters that aren’t afraid to make their own decisions in love and relationships.

The playing field is continually leveling due to women taking back the power online and offline. Be honest and upfront about what you are looking for.

Making the opportunity for yourself, rather than waiting for it to come along, can be an empowering thing, so be confident and open!

And if you both enjoy yourself, you have all the more reason to take it to the next level.

Dating with a Wink and a Nudge

If you don’t happen to have a way with words, or simply don’t know where to begin when it comes to personal messaging, make use of the handy features available on many dating websites!

These instant and pre-set features take the sting out of making the first move by letting someone know you’re interested at the click of a button.

While we would always recommend crafting a personalized message for each individual you approach, “wink” and “nudge” features are an excellent place to get started.

Prepare Yourself

The Internet is a breeding ground for freedom of expression, so taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, in your dating life and communicating directly with potential partners is a great move.

It is, however, important to prepare yourself and your expectations. After all, making the first move may not always get you what you want, just as in the offline dating world.

Don’t let a few knocks back bring you down.

Instead, see initiating communication as simply an expression of interest, not a defining step in your relationship history.

If your advances are rebuffed, try again. If not, see how your relationship grows beyond your profile over time.

Patience Is a Virtue

Exploring the digital dating world requires a lot of patience. And in most cases, you don’t stumble onto Mr. or Ms. Right’s profile straight away.

Initiating contact with a selection of people who take your fancy is essential.

While you may not choose to date more than one or two people in person, online dating gives you the opportunity to explore your options a little more thoroughly.

Patience plays its part after making contact and striking up a conversation, too.

Take time to build a connection before meeting in person or continuing the exchange over the phone.

Keeping the Conversation Going

From your first personal message to your 51st, being confident in your replies is essential when making the first, second, or third move and developing relationships online.

With a few positive responses, your confidence will grow – and who knows where that will lead?

Most importantly, of course, relax and enjoy yourself!


Remember, online dating enables you to choose who you want to chat to.

So throw the traditional dating rulebook out of the window and make the first move on the candidates on your hot list.


Want to discuss this further? Login to our online forum and start a post! If you’re not already registered as a forum user, please register first here.