Anyone who's ever tried dating knows that it can be a scary—and at times frustrating—experience. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a place where you could screen dates before ever meeting them, or let someone (or something) else pick potential matches for you? In this guide we'll show you how to use the Internet to do all those things. We'll provide you with dating sites for people with specific interests or lifestyles, as well as sites that evaluate all these online dating services. We'll even show you how to stay safe with online dating.
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Matchmaking services are nothing new, but the ease with which you can sign up for these services (or even play matchmaker yourself) has increased dramatically with the growth of the Internet. So if you'd prefer to have a human working to help determine your best romantic matches, or if you are looking for a service to get you involved in speed dating, you can still find what you need online.
- Some matchmaking services allow you to sign up online, whereas others merely list contact information on the Web and require that you participate in an in-person or over-the-phone interview process to determine your best matches. Because these services often involve a personal counselor or matchmaker to best suit your dating needs, they can be substantially more expensive than the online services that use computer programs to find matches for you.
- Speed dating brings together a group of singles in real-life events and gives you a few minutes with a number of potential partners (who you then rate and can potentially date). Online you should be able to see schedules of upcoming events and explanations of how each service works. Most events require preregistration, and you typically pay a fee for each event.
- The services listed below are either national or cater to a number of large cities. There are plenty of matchmaking and speed dating companies that serve only one or two cities. To find a local service, try searching for the type of service you want and your city name in a search engine like Ask.com or Zuula.com.
For speed dating ....
is an offshoot of Cupid.com that focuses on speed dating and holds monthly events in more than 100 U.S. cities. Click on the map on the homepage to find details for the upcoming activities in a nearby city. Events are usually organized for a specific age or interest group and costs run from about $20 to $40 each.
holds events in Canada and all over the United States where, for a fee, singles can have eight 8-minute dates in one night. To find an event near you, just choose your state and city (or choose "any" if you don't have a preference).
hosts real-world parties in a surprisingly large number of cities. For a fee, you can sign up online for a hosted party where you'll meet with a bunch of other singles for short intervals to see if you connect with any of them. Look for a party in your city, or sign up to meet people on the site. HurryDate also has a "Date Board" where you can browse activities that other members are interested in doing (or already have tickets for) and see if you'd like to go along, or post an activity yourself.
To pay someone to be a matchmaker for you ...
is one of the more established matchmaking resources. This service screens its users by meeting each one in person. On the site, you'll enter your name and zip code and be directed to a Great Expectations center in your area. If there isn't a location near you, you'll be directed to a partner site such as Great Dating.
Executive Lincoln Dating
is an online matchmaking service that matches you with other well-established professionals. You'll go through personal interviews and meetings with your matchmaking counselor to help you find love, but not without paying for it. Fees start around $1,000 for six months.
To let your friends do the work, or to become a matchmaker for your friends ...
lets you be a "looker" or a "helper." Lookers on the site are those looking for romance; you can post a profile and browse the profiles of others. Helpers on the site are there to help their friends find love; you can write stories about your single friends to help make their profiles more attractive to others, as well as virtually introduce them to other singles.
lets you recommend that great guy or girl that you know who is still single. Maybe it's your sister, maybe it's your ex-boyfriend; everyone on this site has been recommended by someone who knows them well. You must register before you can browse the recommended friends and try to find your perfect match.
offers free sign up, after which you can start making matches between your friends, or between other users. Search for potential matches by tag word, or vote on who you think would make a good match on the homepage.
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