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Online Dating Sites: Find What You’ve Been Looking For

Online Dating Sites: Find What You’ve Been Looking For

We often hear horror stories of people who have met with misfortune when they thought they were meeting the person of their dreams. Cautionary tales concerning online dating services abound, and yet millions are flocking to the internet to find love and companionship.

Wired magazine recently commented that in twenty years it will seem odd not to prescreen people you want to have a relationship with through a online dating service. Indeed, in 2004, internet dating services were the largest segment of paid web content in the US.

In 2004, there were over 840 online dating services. Here is a quick look at four main categories and what you can expect to find there.

General Sites

Most general online dating services are free. You usually post a profile, and you can look at other people’s profiles. Most general dating sites have features that help you connect with people you are interested in. Look for forums, chat rooms, messenger functions and buddy lists.

The best way to find a dating site that is right for you is to ask friends for recommendations. You may be surprised how many people you known use online dating services, and their experiences can help you get a head start. It is better to have an idea of where to start than to roam aimlessly in cyber space hoping to stumble on a great site.

When you’re looking for relationships, you should keep safety in the forefront of your mind. People can present themselves anyway they want online. Just because it is written in a profile doesn’t make it true. After all, you could write that you are a six foot blonde supermodel, and really, no one would know the difference. From harmless embellishment to outright lying, people often do lie in their profiles. Keep this in mind as you look for matches online.

Always use caution when you use online dating services. Never give out your address, phone number, or place of work in public forums. Be extremely selective as to whom you entrust with this information. Meet in well-used public places if you decide to have a “real” date, and never stay in situations that feel uncomfortable.

Matches Made in Heaven

In addition to general online dating services, there are sites that are more focused on you as an individual. Compatibility sites allow you to complete an assessment that discusses your personality, your interests, beliefs, and much more. They then seek to find good matches based on several key factors. There is a charge for these sites because of this service, but you may find that you get more out of it.

Most people subscribe to a compatibility online dating service hoping to find a long-term relationship or marriage. E-Harmony is probably the best known of these sites, and they have been successful in helping many people find life partners.

Sites for Every Interest

If you want to date or share your life with someone who has the same values or interests, a niche site is a great place to meet him/her. There are various online dating services that cater to niche groups, such as those based on religion, interests like biking or running, or professions. Chances are that you can find a site for just about anything: from police officers to teachers and horse enthusiasts to swimmers. Some of these group or interest-specific sites charge a fee for their services, but you may also be able to find one that suits you for free.

Many people find niche online dating services to be a tremendous help when trying to find partners of the same faith. Many people feel more comfortable dating others of their religion, and these online dating services offer a great way to meet people who share beliefs.

Networking Sites

Networking sites, such as MySpace, are not online dating services, but they are a great way to meet people. And meeting someone is the first step in deciding if you want to date him or her. People often begin dating relationships through a network site.

It’s important to remember, however, that dating is not the primary purpose of networking sites. Many of the people you meet there are not interested in dating.

online dating services are an excellent way to find people you might be interested in. Some sites help you screen potential dates, too, to find those that you are most likely to be compatible with. Your chances of finding someone you enjoy spending time with are probably better with a online dating service than they are with a blind date… or Uncle Joey’s cousin’s sister… or the guy your mom wants to fix you up with…

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