Whether you're completely new to online dating, or are getting back onto the dating scene after a break, there are a few things you should bear in mind before getting started. Keeping in mind that to grow any relationship, you have to give a little to get a little, we also want you to exercise caution when getting to know any potential new dating partners whether you meet them in a bar, through a friends or on our site. Here are a few things you might like to consider:
Stay in control
It is our top priority to ensure that you have a safe and successful experience on DatingDirect.com. We strongly recommend that you stay within the site to build up relationships over time, rather than giving out your phone number, personal email or instant messenger address to matches that interest you straight away. Remember that with DatingDirect.com you are fully in control of your search for love and can choose to take things at your own pace.
Keep it real
With online dating you get what you give. Honesty and communication have often been viewed as the cornerstones of a happy relationship, so by being honest about yourself and what you're looking for in a partner from the start, you'll have a better chance of meeting someone who's right for you. Our research shows that members with photographs receive as many as seven times more responses to their profiles than those without. So be sure to choose a recent picture that accurately reflects how you look now. Pick a headshot that clearly shows your face smiling and in a flattering light, plus one full-length shot, and another showing you doing something you enjoy such as walking your dog on the beach.
Get the most from your time on DatingDirect.com
When creating your profile, if you want to catch peoples' eyes and stand out from the crowd, it pays to be specific in your interests and to highlight the qualities you have. Don't just simply state 'I have a good sense of humour' or 'I enjoy nights in with a bottle of wine and a DVD'. If someone you like the sound of shows an interest in you, take a good look at their profile. Personalising your first email to them is everything. Pick up on common life experiences and interests and make a connection that way. A first email is about getting the conversation started, not revealing your entire life story - so leave something for you both to chat about next time. Make responding to your email as easy as possible by asking them some questions, it's important to remember that the person at the other end may be waiting for you to make the first move.
Tell us if something's not right
Get to know potential dates before meeting them in person by exchanging messages through the DatingDirect.com internal email or instant messenger services. Help us to ensure the success of our community by alerting us if you come across anything you feel is not right. There are several options available to you if you are unsure about the profile or activities of another member:
Taking any of the above actions will flag the member causing you concern to our moderators immediately, which will help us resolve the issue quickly.
Trust your instincts
Your common sense and instincts are a valuable tool in deciding whether to pursue a relationship with someone you meet in any walk of life. Love generally happens over time, so if someone you've never met or have recently made contact with asks you for money, they probably don't have the best intentions. Although scams are rare, it's still a good idea to be aware of how to recognise the warning signals, especially if you have decided to communicate with somebody privately outside of our site.
If you feel that you may have experienced monetary fraud, report it to Action Fraud using their online fraud reporting tool which is available here.
Be Date Smart
Meeting for the first time can be extremely exciting, but be sure to keep your feet on the ground. Choose a public place to meet where you feel comfortable and secure. Cafes for example are great places for first dates. A cup of coffee can be a short encounter or a longer meeting, depending on how well you hit it off!
For your own safety, never agree to be picked up at your home, and always make sure you have a way to get yourself to and from the date. Tell at least one friend or family member who you are meeting, where you are going and what time you expect to return. Let your date know that the meeting is not a secret and that others are aware of where you are going.
Stay sober throughout the date as having one too many could impair your ability to make good decisions. Keep your drink and personal belongings within sight at all times, and if you have a mobile phone, always take it with you. Most mobiles can make emergency calls even when locked, or out of credit.
Long Distance Meetings
Fifty years ago, the idea of 'courting' someone who lived in the next town (much less across the globe) was pretty much unheard of. Today, technology has made it possible to make new friends all over the world, and we constantly hear of inspiring long-distance and international love stories. Exciting as it is, you should always take extra care and follow the tips below when travelling to meet someone for the first time.
Stay in a hotel. If you can't afford to stay in a hotel, don't go. Never stay at the other person's home on your first visit and don't get into a personal vehicle with someone that you are meeting for the first time. Use taxis to get to and from the airport.
Keep your hotel location private. Until you are completely certain of the person's intentions, don't reveal exactly where you're staying. Always tell a friend or family member who you are meeting, exactly where you are going, what you plan to do whilst you are away and when you plan to return. Keep in regular contact with this friend via text message or email and share information about your date with them.
Remember to follow all of the tips and advice on this page until you feel confident with your new partner. If the other person is sincerely interested in you, he or she will want you to feel comfortable and will be happy to take things slowly.
Every year, thousands of people successfully find love on our site, so why not get started now?