Now I have consciously coupled myself, I feel I should open up about all the different methods of dating that I tried. I did the whole online dating thing because meeting new people takes a lot of time and effort, and since I move about so much, there is little chance of me being set up with friends of friends and so on.
Before we start, I want to tell you the best advice I can give you – don’t actively look for a relationship. It may look like I did a whole lot of looking and that I wanted a relationship really badly, but actually I didn’t. Even when it came to dating bfnd, I had a moment of “holy crap this is a relationship you’re getting into. This was not the plan ABORT ABORT!!”
When you super want a relationship, you stink of desperation. It’s something I should have known when I was in Japan and wanted nothing more than someone to love. Just chill out, enjoy yourself, have fun, HAVE YOUR OWN HOBBIES, and things will work out.
For the most part, I kept up the dating profiles for shits and giggles, and to have something to write about on the blog.
So, here is my guide to online dating in 2015:
I went through a number of dating websites and methods. The whole process is slow, mainly because there are so many utter penis-faces out there – probably in both genders. After a while I got better at picking out guys who I thought would be suitable to me.
I think it’s a good idea to make a checklist, or at least have a good idea about what you want in a partner when setting out. For example, my checklist was:
- Progressive thinker (no sexist guys, or people who use “gay” as a negative adjective, for example)
- Someone who enjoys his job, or at least has a passion
- Someone who has his own life and hobbies and won’t rely on me completely for social interaction
- An ex-expat/non-Brit/someone who has done a lot of traveling
However, it is always worth keeping an open mind. I’ll tell you more about that later, how I had to have an open mind to start my relationship.
So, what websites and methods did I use?
I used OK Cupid the longest; while I was in Frankfurt still and then in the UK too. I stopped because, due to it being free, the number of penis-faces was very high. I have a wonderful collection of screenshots from the kinds of things guys said to me there.
Verdict: A good place to start, the questions that you answer are great for weeding out weirdos, but since everyone can message you, you can expect a high level of hassle there. Great design and very easy to use.
Plenty of Fish
After I quit OK Cupid I started on POF. The interface isn’t as pretty or as well organised as OK Cupid’s but I felt the level of people on there was a little higher. I didn’t get nearly as many penis-faces contact me, though I feel there were slightly fewer people on there in my area. It’s free, and anyone can contact you.
Verdict: Probably the best of the free sites. It takes a while to get used to how the site works, but is a good site at the end of the day and worth keeping a profile up just to see what’s out there.
Match.com is not free, and I selected to try it for one month just to see what it’s like. I found it ridiculously stressful to use, as the tab text is constantly flashing YOU HAVE 10 MESSAGES!! 100 PEOPLE HAVE VIEWED YOUR PROFILE!! LOADS OF PEOPLE HAVE WINKED AT YOU!!
I found that the quality of people on the site was OK Cupid-level. I didn’t find anyone on there even remotely interesting. It just seemed that this was the place people go to when they are getting pretty desperate and want to start paying to find dates, but don’t want to pay too much.
At the end of the month, Match.com renewed my subscription without warning. I emailed them and said that if I wanted to go for a few months, I would not have selected the one month package. They explained that I had been told that the subscriptions are rolling and so they would not refund me. Being angry that I had to pay another £30 to use their stressful site, I went on a date with the only guy who looked mildly interesting on there, and it was a pretty crap date.
Verdict: No. Just don’t. You’re worth more than this.
I did speed dating twice and it was actually quite fun. I think it’s important that you go to an event near to where you live, though. This may sound a little obvious, but for example, if you’re living just outside of London and go to an event, you might find that everyone else also live just outside of London, just the wrong side. I am not going all the way to Essex for a guy. Nope.
I am not a fan of long first dates and had a rule that the first few should be no longer than 40 mins, so I really liked having just a few minutes with each guy. That way, if there is someone in front of you who you really don’t like, it’s not long before they’re out of your way. Anyone you do like, you can get their number afterwards at the bar and contact them further.
Verdict: One of the best options. Have a google for good events in your area.
Tinder was a difficult one at first. You may think that it is just for hookups but I actually found it, after a while, easy to pick out guys wanting something more. I even had to politely apologise to a few guys I’d been messaging for a while when I unsingled myself.
For those not in the know, Tinder is an app where you swipe right or left to decide if you are interesting in someone. If you both swipe yes to each other, you can contact them. I’d say 80% of the time I got matches and nothing was ever said between us, but like I said, I also had quite a few good matches on there.
Verdict: Once you get good at being judgemental, it’s nice to be able to weed out people you don’t want to talk to. I think Tinder is another one of my favourite date-finding methods.
Guardian Soulmates is one of these “make a profile for free but you’ll need to pay to actually do anything” websites. I recommend giving it a go – I never paid because my area had nothing but tumbleweed.
Protip: If you make a profile and want to pay, leave it a few weeks at least; they’ll email you with money-off codes and even free trials.
My wonderful mate Kate tried to get the Twitterverse to find me a date, and I actually went on a Valentine’s Day date with someone else I’d been matched with. It’s fun but ultimately not really the best method.
I like setting people up very much, so if you have a cupid friend then they’re pretty good to go to. I’ve got a number of successful couples under my belt – and even a married couple now!
Verdict: Hit and miss.
Meetup.com/Falling for friends
Firstly: MEETUP IS NOT A DATING WEBSITE.
I have to say that because I do get tired when I get random guys message me on there. Meetup.com is my favourite website; join local groups, go to events and make friends. I’m a member of a number of groups, and do all kinds of things from wine tasting events, badmington and volunteering with the groups there. Without this website, I would not have the social life I have right now.
I met bfnd through meetup.com. We both were on the same pub quiz team, and lived in the same direction so walked home together. When I met him I thought he was pretty hot, and really interesting and the more I spoke with him the more I fell. But he’s a year younger than me, and I have a strict “no younger guys” rule. Mainly because I find that younger guys cause drama, are scared of things like commitment and are just not all that good. We stayed as friends and went to loads of different meetups together, but there was something that changed a few weeks ago and I needed to get over my “no younger guys” rule in order to let an amazing guy into my life.
Verdict: Meetup.com is my favourite website; but don’t go in it stinking of desperation. Make friends, get to know people and fall slowly.