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There are all sorts of ways to meet someone today, and if there’s one thing dating has taught us, it’s that there’s really no better way. The most surprising thing I’ve found is that you don’t necessarily have to rely on a traditional platform like Plenty of people out there in your age range are joining sites like Hinge, OkCupid, and other sites that match people based on their mutual interests.

So, that said, I’m going to tell you how I got my boyfriend, and maybe the tips I’ve picked up over the past couple of years can help you get your own.

1) Be Yourself

I know, it sounds counterintuitive. After all, why not play up a few things you like about yourself and downplay the stuff you don’t? But if you start with a lie, it’s always going to end in tears. What you put on your profile is going to be filtered through the expectations of the site, and if you haven’t already figured it out, that’s a whole different can of worms. I started with the most brutal honesty I possibly could, and that honesty made my profile stand out, while all the other profiles that put a fake first name and pretended to like winter sport from the get-go looked the same. (Go figure!)

You don’t have to sacrifice your integrity to get a date. Sites like OKCupid put you in a “mutual interest” match with someone else, but you can always “Match” with someone you know. If you know someone you’re interested in, go right ahead and ask them out. If they’re intrigued, they’ll follow up and you can meet somewhere else. And you can always tell if someone thinks you’re a jerk by their lack of answering you. If they don’t reply, they don’t want to date you.

Still not convinced? Try it out on someone you know and see how it goes. Dating is a people sport, and you can’t get very far without knowing how people act in real life.

2) Match at least a little bit

I think of this one as “not going to get rejected.”

I have to admit, I used to be incredibly cynical about dating sites. I thought they were dumb and that they just lead you down the path of more ways for weirdos to meet each other and the bottom feeders of the Internet to scam and swindle you. I hadn’t exactly had
Date Ideas

Before you go and get invested in a relationship or promise yourself one more day without relief from the lonely spell, consider the following:

You will meet a new person. Make sure that you get out there—do some quality or even volunteer work. It’s better to work up a sweat than to sweat in the sheets. Something that’s always helped me during the vetting process is to ask myself: “Would I trust this person with my children?” It’s impossible to underestimate the value of a good babysitter or tutor.

You are bound to run into a better person than you are. And you will see signs that they’re going to be a great person. Don’t change your life in a way that they’re not mature enough to handle. Remember that it’s not very fun to raise kids with a wild aunt or uncle. Yes, I know that it’s hard to tell who is going to be a good match when you’re young, but do yourself and everyone else a favor and take the time to look at a couple of pictures of potential dates together and check out what their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is like. You’ll be able to tell a lot more from the people you know than you will from a picture.

You can do a lot with a little bit of time.

While trying to keep an active social life is important, don’t be a slave to your friends’ expectations about what you should be doing. Schedule an hour or two for date ideas and take advantage of them. The other day I scheduled an appointment with a bunch of friends in town for lunch. We spent the day (including drinks and dessert), and the end result was so much more enjoyable than if we had just hung out in our friend’s homes. You can do the same by scheduling a happy hour date with your friends, a play date with your children, or simply a bike ride or walk around your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised by the time you can save up for in the process.

You’ll date (and date well) across a larger age range.

People you are interested in dating will be interested in you, too. That’s just the way it is. You should just accept that fact and go out with people who you can have interesting conversations with. People grow up and their interests change over time, and those changes shouldn’t keep you from dating someone. If you do want to date someone who you know has a different lifestyle than you do, don’t

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