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Dating has never been easy, but the modern age has changed the whole game. Like, from top to bottom. We don’t meet in the same ways, get to know each other in the same ways or even really end up in relationships that work in the same ways as our parents might have. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s definitely a new medium for meeting people. Our whole lives can be hosted online, and that makes for some strange new courting rituals.

The Facebook timeline, the Twitter feed and Instagram profile might have challenged our dreams of movie love, but they haven’t shattered them. Sure, finding a video of your future sweetheart doing a keg stand with the lads or documenting a past relationship(s) with the “only one for them” can be disheartening. Our parents certainly didn’t have to deal with it. But the stats don’t lie – it seems we’re all fairly confident online dating can work, and we enjoy it.

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 59% of over-18s felt that online dating does work as a way to meet new people, a 15% increase on the 2005 survey. That’s because it can. It’s an amazing way to meet all kinds of people and find that special connection with some of them.

In this crazy, hyper-connected world that many of us are growing up in whilst looking for someone to grow old with – it can be an intimidating thing to get online and start the dating game. Clearly, the old dating rules are gone. But after all, go back far enough and you’d be marrying for land and chattels, and certainly not love – maybe it’s time to get with the times?

Image 1 – Source: Unsplash / Image 2 – Source: Unsplash

Honesty is the best policy

When you’re online dating, don’t be tempted to stretch the truth. Why not add an inch to that height listing? Who would notice if you bumped a year or two off your age? Sure, we all might want to change things about ourselves – it’s normal, and it’s ok. But – it’s never going to work when you’re trying to meet someone new!

It seems obvious, but you want someone to like the authentic you, the real you. Not the 6’8’’, 22-year old semi-professional footballer (Ok, well I did have trials!) you could say you were. The first thing to remember when you start online dating is don’t be afraid to be the person you are. Ultimately, the whole thing feels more fulfilling, more real and you’ll form stronger, deeper connections with people. Just like in the good old days.

Don’t be scared of ghosts

Rejection sucks – that one has always been the case, ever since the first cave-people agreed to go out for drinks by the swamp/volcano, or wherever ancient civilisations used to hang out. Ghosting is more of a modern phenomenon but still carries the same disappointment. We might wish there was a quick fix to this one, however, it’s an unfortunate but simple truth – and it’s totally ok if it happens to you. Love is a tricky business, but it’s 100% worth it in the end. You might not get an explanation, but your best bet is not to worry about it too much, stay positive and keep chatting to new people.

Leave it to the imagination

Ok, this one is perhaps the easiest one to follow. Unless someone has explicitly and consensually agreed to partake in the fun pastime of sexting – let’s leave the nudity by the wayside. The unsolicited pictures are both the worst and the best thing you can do. Why? It’s the worst because there is literally the smallest – the absolute tiniest – chance anyone will appreciate it. It’s also the best thing you can do because you can very quickly communicate to the other person that you’re probably not worth dating. Seriously, there are a million other things you could send that are nicer than an unsolicited picture – they’re much more likely to win you a date in person! Score!

Every relationship we have in our lives won’t necessarily end in a marriage. However, there’s a lot to learn from each and every relationship you do have. The best ones make you a better person. In 2014, only 20% of millennials between the ages of 18-30 were married. In comparison, 36% of the Generation X respondents and a whopping 48% of boomers said they had been married at the same age.

However, that doesn’t mean many of us aren’t having fulfilling relationships in the meantime. So get out there, get online, know yourself, be proud of the person you are. You never know who you might meet – and what they could teach you.