More people try out online dating each year. Once new and strange, no one looks at you funny anymore if you say you’re a couple that met online. But for every person who uses and loves online dating platforms, there are many more people who have never so much as activated a dating account. For these people, there are some tips to avoid newbie mistakes. All of these tips will involve Red Flags that pop up when another user messages you, or you take a look at his or her profile. There are plenty of great people on these sites, but there are some losers too. Make your experience as good as it can be by noticing these red flags when they happen and ceasing communication!

  1. Form Letters. There is no one-size-fits-all way to pick this one out. For some, dating sites are a numbers game. It’s all about maximizing the chances and frequency of sexual encounters, or even of scamming unwitting new users. There’s nothing wrong with using a dating site for sex, but if you are interested in in having encounters with people who share your interests or have something to offer you emotionally, don’t reply to messages that seem oddly written or impersonal. It’s common for users to write one letter, then send it to ask many people as possible in the hope of getting a few bites. The most rewarding interactions you are likely to have are with people who take the time to communicate in a personal and respectful manner with you, emphasis on the personal.
  2. Watch Out for Short and Long Profiles. A profile that is too long or too short is a red flag in itself. Good dates tend to be confident. Unconfidence may be a result of someone not yet feeling comfortable on an online dating setting. Or it could be the result of someone with unhealthy communication patterns. This latter group won’t all be bad people, or bad dates, but good dates tend to learn to present themselves well online. You should look for those people.
  3. Watch Out for Drama. People take to flirting online for all kinds of reasons. Some people approach it during the most emotionally healthy times of their lives. And others…don’t. It can be easy to tell, in certain situations, when someone is emotionally unstable, and you can usually tell from the profile itself. If someone writes about an ex, or talks about being “a little crazy sometimes”, or “reaaaallly needs a shoulder to cry on”, they will tend to bring drama in your life. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It doesn’t mean you might not want a little drama. But if you don’t want drama, know this is a sign of it.

Online dating can revolutionize your love life, putting you in touch with people who would normally be well outside of your social circle. But it can also put you in touch with people who won’t add good things to your life. So keep track of these red flags and keep things fun when you date online.