by Chris, staff contributor
“Meet someone at the bar, sure. Should I pick the one who smells like sweat, or the one that puked Jaegerbomb on my shoe?”
85% of singles surveyed now say that they prefer dating websites and apps for meeting people, compared to going to bars and clubs. This is also true of men and women looking to hook up casually.
Bars are out, hook-up websites are in
“Yeah, bars are terrible. When a dude walks up to me I generally know he’s down to hook up. But I don’t know if he’s a psycho. And I might be too drunk to notice,” “says Kelly F., recently single until she met her new ‘fwb’ Jason online at Adultfriendfinder.com
“All of my friends are married, or seriously coupled. I, on the other hand, want to explore and have fun. But I’d all but given up on finding anyone.” (Cont’d below)
So what about hooking up through friends, then? It could happen… our pals mean well. But those blind hook-up efforts, with friends attempting to nudge you and a mutual acquaintance together can feel pretty awkward and forced (“you guys both follow ‘Humans of New York’ and ‘Colonel Meow’ on Facebook, you’re going to love each other…”) Plus, many people have already waded through the pool of potential prospects via their friend network.
“Friends suggested I at least give online dating a try, before fully committing to the ‘shut-in with the drawer full of sex toys’ thing. Now, Jay and I are both glad we went there.”
Though dating apps and sites have soared in popularity in recent years and huge numbers of people in all age groups are using internet services to hook up, many singles have yet to jump in. “I have no idea where the hell to start” is an oft-cited reason. With an estimated 2,500 online dating services in the US alone, it can be confusing and intimidating even trying to pick a service.
Go with the best
That said, there are a handful of standouts, and unless you’re searching in a specific niche, generally the biggest and most popular online hook-up sites are a newcomer’s best bet.
Many premium matchmaking services are well-maintained and moderated, and run an honest operation—real members, legit profiles written by actual human beings. Believe it or not, there are other people in your city or town, wishing they were having sex with somebody right now—you’re not the only one! Dating sites serve the important purpose of getting you and them talking to each other. Premium memberships generally cost about what you’d spend on two or three drinks on a night out.
The popularity of a service is a huge selling point, too—more members overall means a greater likelihood of finding someone local who’s down to hook up.
What else can you do to maximize your chances of success?
Use more than one service
Relationship experts and seasoned online dating veterans alike strongly suggest a tactic that might seem obvious, but often isn’t—those looking to hook up online should maintain more than one online dating profile, at different websites. Why?
Dating sites ‘go cold.’ On any given evening, you may discover you’ve run out of profiles to browse in your preferred age and location brackets, or find you’re in the mood to instant message, and there’s simply nobody online—except that one dude who’s always online, with the naked chick tattoos and the ‘Slipknot’ posters in his room. When this happens (and it will), local members on another site might be active.
Maintain a good healthy sense of ‘wtf’
Most importantly though, a trek into the world of hooking up online requires the right attitude. Sure, trying to meet someone can be stressful or uncertain. But one person’s ‘uncertainty’ is another person’s adventure. Stressful? Try ‘Suspenseful’. And emails from creeps and weirdos and instant messages that set off your ‘crazy’ alarm, can make for hilarious stories to share with friends—many of whom are using online dating sites and have had similar experiences.