For lots of people, February feels like the perfect time to fall in love. Between Valentine's Day and the cold weather, this time of year makes you want to cozy up with someone special.
Fortunately, in this digital age of ours, finding love is easier than ever. In fact, that Mr. or Ms. Right might only be a few clicks away. So here are some tried-and-true tips for finding love online…
Choosing your dating site
If you're interested in stepping into the online dating world, the first thing you need to do is decide which dating site or mobile app you want to try first. Luckily, there are hundreds of sites and apps to choose from – it's just a matter of what feels right to you.
JAWS users report that Plenty of Fish works well with screen readers and it's also free, so that might be a good place to start.
If you'd like to meet someone who also has sight loss or another disability, there are dozens of dating websites you can try that are catered specifically for people who have sight loss or a disability, like visuallyimpairedsingles.com, dating4disabled.com or whispers4u.com.
Writing your profile
The key to successful online dating is writing a strong profile that really captures the essence of who you are and what you're all about. Easier said than done though, right? A lot of people have trouble writing about themselves, but try not to overthink it too much. Just be honest and write from the heart. If you're not sure how to get started, ask and answer the following questions:
- What's my favourite thing to do in my free time?
- What's the best thing about me?
- How do my friends describe me?
- What makes me laugh? How would I describe my sense of humour?
- What am I looking for? Marriage, a fun flirtation, a long-term relationship, or just whatever comes my way?
- What kind of person do I want to meet?
Here's one last tip for writing your profile: Consider being upfront about your sight loss or blindness. You don't want to meet someone whose got hang-ups about sight loss, right? So think about mentioning it in your profile. That way you know that anyone who shows interest in you is accepting of your blindness – just as they should be – and they won't be wasting your valuable time.
Setting yourself up for a good first date
So let's fast forward a bit. You've met someone online. You like them and they seem to like you too. Congrats! Now it's time to take the big step and meet them for a first date. Here are a few tips for making that first meeting go well:
- Make it a quick date. Avoid committing yourself to a long date like dinner and a movie. Instead, plan to grab a coffee or a quick lunch. This way you don't have to spend several hours on the date if it isn't going well. And if it IS going well, you can always extend the date by suggesting another activity afterwards – like going for a walk or doing some window shopping.
- Pick a place you're comfortable with. If you're blind or have low vision, you know that sometimes going to a new place can be a bit of a challenge – and that can be even more disconcerting if you've already got those first date jitters to deal with. You probably don't want to be worried about logistical problems like finding a new place, locating the bathrooms, figuring out how to read the menu, etc. when you're trying to focus on this new (and hopefully fantastic!) person you're meeting. So if possible, try to suggest a meeting place for your first date that you're familiar with, like a favourite coffee shop or restaurant.
- Think about conversation topics ahead of time. Now you definitely don't want to have a scripted conversation on your first date, and hopefully the conversation runs smoothly on its own. But let's face it: it can sometimes be tough to chat away with someone you've never met before, and there may be times when those awkward silences start to creep in. That's why it's a good idea to think about a couple of easy talking points you can turn to if the conversation runs dry. For starters, try asking them to tell you more about something they wrote in their profile, like their job or their hobbies.
- Be yourself! Remember, this person wanted to go on date with you because they liked what you said in your profile and they liked chatting with you online. Point being, they like you! So don't try to be someone else. Just be yourself – your regular, amazing, oh-so-lovable self!
Enjoying the ride
They say you've got to kiss a lot of frogs before you'll find your prince (or princess). And although some people find love on their first go around the online dating game, most people have to wait a while for that perfect Mr. or Ms. Right to come along. Don't get discouraged! According to Statistics Canada, there are more than 14.5 million single Canadians out there, playing the dating game. And chances are, one of them is just perfect for you. Until you meet them, enjoy the ride – get out there, have a few dates, have a few laughs and maybe you'll even make a few friends along the way.