Online Dating Your Way into 2017


Ringing in the New Year with Dates and Friends Did you ever notice how the gym is packed that first week of January every year (of course you did!) and all of the kale and spinach is missing from the supermarket shelves? Ah, New Year’s resolutions. It’s funny how people’s behaviors change so much for about a month and then go back to exactly the same as it was in December.

New Year’s resolutions run the gamut—work out more, eat healthier foods, quit drinking or smoking, read more for pleasure, and find love, among other things. Do you notice anything different about the last item on the list compared to the others? All of the others can easily be measured in small stages: You can increase your workouts from one to three times per week; you can buy baked pita chips instead of greasy potato chips; you can switch to nicotine gum until the cigarette addiction subsides; and you can devote half an hour every morning to reading before you go to work. When it comes to finding love, though, it can seem hard to judge your results with anything short of “I met ‘the one’ this year.”

The better way to make that last resolution this year, and any year for that matter, is to break it down into smaller, measurable chunks. Here are some examples of tangible ideas you can use to potentially find love in the new year. And even if you don’t find “the one,” you’ll know that you’ve taken the steps to putting yourself out there in a productive and tangible manner, and for that, you should feel proud.

1. Go Online! And if you're already there, make yourself pop

There are now so many options, from Tinder to JDate to Bumble, and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for a serious relationship or something more casual, there is a site out there for you.

Reassess your profile Photos: Have you gotten a haircut since you last took your pictures? Have you lost some weight? Are your photos just not getting you the attention you think you deserve? It’s time to take some new ones. As a general rule of thumb, if your photos are more than a year old or don’t look like you anymore, it’s time to refresh. And of course, don’t forget the five major rules for posting photos. They’ll be sure to come in handy.

Reread your Profile: Did you do something interesting in the last few months, like snowmobiling in Alaska or taking your dog on a hike through that new trail that you’ve always wanted to explore? It’s time to share that info! Your online dating profile shouldn’t be changed as often as your Facebook status, but it shouldn’t be static either. You’re a dynamic person, so let people know it. As a side note, the more often you change your profile, the higher you’ll come up in people’s searches.

What are you writing in your messages: If you’re already sending out lots of messages to potential matches, you're on the right track. If you're being picky or shy, then it’s time to stop that. It's a numbers game, daters! The more matches you reach, the greater your chances of finding the right fit. Simply putting a profile up and then just waiting around is like walking into a party, standing in the corner, and not talking to anyone. It’s just not going to work. If you want to get noticed, it’s time to take control and start sending those messages, whether you’re male or female.

Share adventurous photos when dating online

2. Step outside your comfort zone

The more events you go to—whether a singles’ event, a class/group, or a networking event—the more people you’ll meet, and the more likely you are to strike up a conversation with a potential mate… or make some new friends with similar interests along the way. Try to find events that are new to you. For DC, I recommend using GregsList, but check into local calendars in your own city.

3. Fly solo

As hard as it may be, try to socialize solo a bit this year, without the crutch of having someone you know to fall back on. Strike up conversations. Many questions you might ask on a first date can also apply when meeting someone new at an event. Going out by yourself is liberating—no one can hold you back. If there’s an event you want to go to, try just buying a ticket without waiting around to see who wants to join you. (I’ve been known to see Broadway shows by myself all the time!) That doesn't mean you can’t still go with your friends to events, but try to find a designated time during the event to separate from each other and engage in conversation with new people.

4. Reassess your deal-breakers

What are your deal-breakers? Common ones are religion, age, location, and level of education. Do you have some things on your list that might be able to drop to the “nice to have” list? I recommend having about five deal-breakers, and then giving people a chance beyond that. Also, if you’re not sure whether something should be a deal-breaker, I encourage you to think about why it’s important to you. For example, finding a Jewish partner used to be non-negotiable for me, but when I took a step back to think about why, I realized that it was for two reasons: 1) So someone could come with me to synagogue on occasion and 2) So someone would eat my matzah ball soup. Turns out you don’t have to be Jewish for either of those things! Deal-breaker demoted. Especially when searching the online dating sites, it’s important not to be too restrictive (or picky, as the case may be). Beyond what’s truly important to you, give people a chance.

In the end, if you use these more tangible resolutions rather than simply stating “I am going to find love this year” or “I am going to meet someone this year,” you will have full confidence in the fact that you put the effort in and worked toward your goal. Don’t be too hard on yourself, either. Meeting someone takes time, effort, work, and a lot of seasoning, but the reward for working hard now may be a lifetime of happiness.

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