The Best Time to Join an Online Dating Site? After the Holidays!

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Christmas season is over and it's time for a fresh start. Maybe the holidays left you feeling a little lonely and desiring a new relationship. Or maybe you've made a few New Year's resolutions and dating more is one of them.

Whatever the case, it's a great time of the year to join an online dating site and start meeting new people. According to The Daily Mail in the UK, online dating sites are reporting 350 percent more traffic after Christmas, and Match.com expects three million messages to be sent and 500,000 instant messages exchanged the week after Christmas alone.

With all that activity, it's hard to just sit back and wait for someone to show up at your door. It's time to take advantage of the increase in traffic and meet all the new online daters (including those who just split up before the holidays). And this means joining a new online dating site, or perhaps even renewing that old subscription and revamping your profile.

But please take note - just because there are a lot of people who have joined dating sites after the holidays doesn't mean that you can special order your perfect partner. Online dating isn't the same as online shopping. It's good to temper your expectations with a reality check - you aren't perfect, and your dates won't be either. But that doesn't mean you can't find someone special.

It's important to keep a few things in mind when you're online dating to have the most success:

Don't limit yourself. If you have a laundry list of deal breakers, then you won't have much success, or much fun when you're dating. Put that list on hold and try dating outside your type.

Accept invitations. Not sure if you want to date him? Say yes anyway if he asks you out. There's no secret formula to falling in love - for everyone it's different, and often it doesn't start with instant attraction. So accept more dates and engage with each one before you write him off. You never know who you could meet - and end up falling for.

Withhold judgment. This goes along with the first two tips. It's important to go on a first date with a sense of adventure. Sure, it might go horribly wrong, but it also might go incredibly well. If you have a positive attitude, it will rub off on your date and he or she will feel more free to open up. A good attitude changes the dynamic. So before you judge your date for what he might be lacking, give him the benefit of the doubt and see how much better things go.

Try something new! Don't rely on that same old bar or coffee shop for meeting new people. Be a little more creative - go ice skating, walking, or try rock climbing or a cooking class together. That way, you're doing something productive with your time, even if your date doesn't go so well.

Happy dating in 2013!