When I started online dating, I hadn’t been on a date for several years. Getting started was very difficult and to be honest I wasn’t sure where to begin. So, with that in mind, here are some tips to getting started: First, Take Advantage of Online Dating If you’re unwilling to give online dating a try, it is my opinion that you are only hurting your chances in today’s dating world. If you are just starting to look into online dating, I would recommend a site like eHarmony or Chemistry.com. Why? These sites aren’t better than other sites but they remove much of the guess work for someone new to online dating. Other services will work well, too, but it is nice that these services provide specific steps to users throughout the process: from the first contact to the first date. Once you become more comfortable with online dating, moving to service like Match.com is great because you will have more control on who you can contact. Be Patient Many people become frustrated (or even give up) early on with online dating because they feel that they are not receiving enough responses. Frequently, the belief is that they are either not interesting or attractive or that they are doing something wrong. Generally, these beliefs are not true. The truth is that finding someone is still hard work even when using a service devoted dating. There is much more going on than just a lack of interest. The short of it is this: just be patient, especially in the beginning. Once you get a date or two lined up, things will move along better. For me, if I had no dates at all, getting even one seemed to take forever. Once I had a few dates scheduled, though, finding more seemed easy. Get Comfortable with Dating In the beginning, date as often as you are able to by not being overly picky. If you’ve not dated for years, getting some quick dating experience will be very important. Any experience is good – even if you suspect the first date will be the last. Don’t convince yourself that you need to find your “soul mate” right out of the gate. As in all other areas of life, practicing will only improve your ability. It sounds very strange to suggest that someone practice dating but if you haven’t dated in a long time, chances are you will benefit. You might be lucky and find someone perfect for you immediately but even if not, you can still enjoy meeting people. Looking back, I really complicated things for myself in the when I started dating online because I only wanted to date women who had every quality I was looking for. This meant I had very few dates and even on the dates I did have, I was stressed out of my mind. This resulted in my looking foolish on several occasions. If I would have been willing to treat dating as something fun instead of something that must be accomplished, I think I would faired far better. Talk about you Dating Experiences When I first started dating online, I kept it as quiet as I could because I was afraid of what people would think. When I eventually started sharing my experiences, many of my friends were suddenly interested in setting me up on dates. I quickly realized that most people love to play matchmaker. Keep this in mind as well: if you’ve been single for an extended period of time, those around you may not even realize you are back in the game. It is very unlikely that letting your friends know that you are dating will bring in any large number of dates, but even if it brings one additional date, that might be all you need. Trust Your Gut Some days it seems there are as many people offering dating advice as there are people looking for it. Much of this advice is good but there is plenty of bad advice out there too. So how do you tell the difference? First, anything that promises amazing results at amazing speeds probably won’t help at all. Second, even good advice won’t work for everyone since every situation is different. If you find advice that sounds like it would be horrible for you, chances are it would be. Reading dating advice can be very helpful but always make your own decisions. For me, the advice that I ran into time and time again was that if I was shy (which I am) I would never have dating success. All the advice said you can either be confident or alone. I believed this for a long time. Even though it felt wrong, I became quite the actor on many dates. Eventually (and fortunately) I realized there was a flaw in this advice: shy is not the opposite of confident, shy is the opposite of out-going. As an example, I know plenty of people who exude quiet confidence. When I stopped trying to treat being shy and being confident as if they were mutually exclusive, I was able to be myself again. Almost over night I became more comfortable on my dates and my dating success took off. I now realize that one of the things that hurt my dating life the most, as strange as it sounds, was taking the advice that almost every expert seems to agree on.