We make money from advertisers and affiliate partners.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
a first timer's guide to using online dating apps

Online dating can be a great way to meet new people, but it can also be daunting for first-timers. If you're not sure where to start, don't worry! We've got you covered. In this post, we'll give you some tips for how to make the most of online dating apps and have a successful first experience. So whether you're just starting out or you're looking to switch up your game, read on for some helpful advice!

Ideally, men always find it challenging to make the first move while ladies will crush on you waiting for you to make a move. Dating apps have changed some of this since women are empowered now to make the first move and can browse a menu of potential men that they want to meet up with instead of silently waiting in a bar for a guy to offer them a drink or ask for a dance. However, that doesn't mean men can just sit back and let them come to you. Nor does it mean that online dating apps will solve all the complicated nuances of developing a relationship once you connect.

Dating has always been mind-boggling for many men to understand signs she wants a serious relationship with you, but online apps can certainly help start the process.

While there there are various dating coaches and bootcamps out there to help with real-world dating experiences, for the most part the online dance is still something of a mystery to both men and women. In part, this is because different people are looking for different things and others just simply don't know how to write a truthful - but honest and accurate - dating profile or how to search for women who might be "miss right".

Identifying a woman or a single man looking for a serious relationship online can be mind-blowing and cause a surge of adrenaline and optimism for the future. Unfortunately it doesn't "just happen". Let's take a look at some tips that will help when you are using online dating apps for the first time.


First, Identify Your Online Dating Goals

Before you start your online dating experience, it's important to consider what kind of relationship or date you're looking for. Do you want a fling? A casual hookup? Or are you more interested in something long-term, like marriage and kids down the road?

Once you know what your goals are, then find an app that caters to them! For example, some are great if all want is just dates with no strings attached, while others offer everything from short term relationships (no commitment) if that's what suits your fancy at the moment, and some are specifically designed around an interest in various lifestyle activities.

Similarly, if you goal is to explore something different than the traditional heteronormative dating paradigm then if you aren't honest with yourself at this initial step, you won't be able to attract the right match online.

It is completely ok to have a goal as simple as "find a girl with blond hair" or someone who shares your passion for making kimchi. However, if you don't know what your goals are, or aren't honest with yourself, then everything else is a waste of time.


Determine Your Strengths That You Want To Promote 

Some folks would say that the next step should be to identify the type of person that you'd like to meet. I disagree with that unless you have very specific activity or lifestyle goals in mind for your online dating adventure.

Instead, if you are simply looking for a lady to meet up with in the hopes of developing a relationship, I would suggest that you focus on what your strengths are. This way, you can put your best foot forward and attract a partner that is looking for way you have to offer.

While online dating apps are wonderful in many ways, it often becomes a trap since you close doors that might lead to the perfect partner. This is because you are too focused on things like her interest in movies or hobbies that you miss the chance to connect on a deeper level.


Create The Perfect Dating Profile

Creating the perfect online dating profile is a bit of an art to get right and you should probably get a friend to review it for you before publishing. This way they can both check your reality as well as ensure that you are featuring all of the strengths that you identified.

Women are looking for the total package 

All too often men "over explain" or write entire paragraphs about themselves in their bios that only serve to turn off women who might have been interested otherwise. Sadly, it's also one of the most common things that guys do wrong when using online dating apps for the first time.

If you really want to be successful on a dating app then your profile should consist of four parts:

  • What you look like
  • How old you are
  • Where you live
  • Something to make them want to know more about you

This last part should play to your strengths as well as aligning with your dating goal.


Choose Natural And Authentic Photos

The number one rule while dating is to remain natural. Avoid exaggerating your life when sharing photos online with your match. For example, if you are a bit of an introvert and don't like going out clubbing all the time, it's probably not a good idea to post photos from your most recent night out.

Instead, share photos that represent who you really are; this will create trust and help to form a connection with someone sooner rather than later.

Similarly, avoid using filters on your pictures as they often distort how you look in real life. Stick to basic edits (if needed) and let your natural beauty shine through!

The idiom, "A picture is worth a thousand words" plays in here as well. Think about what the photo says about you and make sure that it aligns with your strengths and goals too.


Be Honest About What You Want And Who You Are

This is where things can get tricky since many people find it difficult to be honest about what they want when dating online. There is an incredible about of stress with the process of finding the right partner and so we often look for shortcuts. Unfortunately by exaggerating your wealth or pretending to have hobbies that aren't authentic that will just lead to issues down the road.

Just remember, in the world of online dating it is much easier and less painful to be rejected early on than it will be if you think you've found the perfect mate and then she discovers you weren't being honest with her.


How To Move From An Online Contact To A Real Relationship

Ultimately the objective of spending time exploring the world of online dating apps is that you want to be able to meet up with someone in person and develop a relationship together. That seems like an easy thing to do but too many guys mess things up by making some basic mistakes.


Ask Something Specific In Your First Message

After sending a DM to someone you feel has the qualities you're looking for, be specific with the first messages while expressing what you want. 


The App Is For Meeting - The Real World Is For Dating!

Don't fall into the trap of trying to date someone online. Use the app as a way to establish a basic filter that will help you connect with someone that might be interesting. Then proceed to set a time, place, and activity to actually meet the person in real life.

When out for a date, you can take the opportunity to pose as many questions as possible. Listen and analyze the answers. Have outdoor dates before planning for a date in your house to watch a movie. If you invited her and left some of her belongings in your home, she is probably planning another date in your house and wants to mark the territory as hers. You should plan prepare for another date as soon as possible to avoid losing that chance. 


Don't Make Excuses

Making excuses isn't a good idea when dating. This makes your match lose confidence in you. Likewise, if you are looking for something in them that is missing ... maybe it just isn't there. Making excuses simply prolongs the process.

While it is always good to be compassionate and understanding when things happen, making excuses for why they don't tick all of your boxes isn't going to help anyone and could just be a waste of time.


Don't Play Games

Online dating is very transactional and there is a relatively huge dating pool to pull from in most areas. Be honest and don't play games. Avoid looking at dating apps as a place to troll for friends and co-workers and pretend to "like" them too.

Similarly, if you are a man looking for a serious relationship then don't waste someone's time pretending to just want a quick hookup with the hope she will come around.  


Don't Expect Sex ... Unless That's What You Already Discussed

Sex is an important part of online dating and dating apps can make things extremely transactional today. However, unless you are specifically looking for that and have agreed to meet up for a hookup date, don't expect it on your first meeting.

Things do move faster online but if you are looking for a serious relationship then having sex before really getting to know someone can ruin the opportunity.


Don't Be Too Eager

Being eager isn't bad, but being too enthusiastic about the outcome of the relationship isn't good either. Always let everything in the relationship move on naturally. In fact, after some time, you have to analyze your match to observe if there are signs she wants to be exclusive. 

However, keep pushing hard to ensure you remain the top contender amongst many. Also, be genuine with your expectations to avoid depression when you're told "No." 


Avoid First Date Situations Involving Alcohol Or Recreational Drugs

While these are both part of dating, they can be a very bad choice for your first date. Legal drugs and alcohol can be a great way to relax and become more honest and open ... on your first date your goal is to see if this person is a good match that offers something interesting that you want to explore more. If you are "too open" or you get sloppy, forgetful, etc. that can be a detriment to your goals.


The World Of Online Dating Is Challenging - It's Not Just You

Being realistic in a relationship is the number one piece of advice from online dating coaches. It would help if you understood you met each other as grown-ups and she had met other men before. When heading into a relationship, make sure you comprehend that you can get positive or negative feedback. 

Finally, it would help if you always were ready for any eventuality when dating. Giving a positive answer to situations will ensure you have a successful relationship. If there is one period, you need to be highly sober with your decision-making when dating online. If you find that your meet keeps asking you more about your life - this is a sign she wants to be in a relationship with you. 

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.