Stepping into the world of online dating can feel overwhelming. Worries about navigating dating apps and protecting your privacy are valid, regardless of whether you’re out or only beginning to consider creaking open the closer door. And although almost two thirds of gay couples meet online, the adventure of plunging into an Internet romance often comes with a long list of questions. Luckily for you, we’re armed with information.

The Benefits of Online Dating

‘Why should I invest my time and energy into online dating, though?’ you might be thinking. Imagine how long it would take to find your dream partner if you relied on formal introductions through family and friends. And, sometimes, fate needs a little push. Moving your love life online opens a door of convenience, and the opportunity of meeting people outside of your existing social circles, ones that you may have never bumped into in real life. We seldom think twice about the people we pass on the street, never stopping to think that a certain stranger could be a perfect match. Online, we’re offered an instant glance into that stranger’s personality – their passions, values, priorities. Do they spark your interest enough to start a conversation? Will curiosity bloom into something more? 

Finding individuals that share your values and interests is so much easier when you’re holding a pre-selected list in the palm of your hand. Online dating is truly revolutionary when it comes to meeting like-minded people from the safety and comfort of your home. You’re in charge of your romances, so there’s no need to share your tastes with the eager matchmakers in your life if that’s not something you fancy doing just yet.

Understanding Algorithms

So you may have signed up to an app or two, but how does it know who you’d like to (potentially) date? Popular apps like Tinder or Bumble are often based on a ‘swipe left’ concept. The app shows you profiles of men in your area, and, if you both ‘like’ each other, you match. Others, like AsYouAre, follow a different system: users create a profile, set their preferences, and matchmakers with expertise in psychology and fluent in the language of love scout suitable matches. When you approve, you’re free to get to know each other – you choose whether or not you want to start a chat. It’s that extra bit of control that can make or break your online dating experience – Tinder’s ‘My Move’ setting, for example, prevents other users from sending you messages until you reach out first.

In your hunt for the perfect gay dating app, keep your priorities in mind. Grindr has quite the reputation when it comes to hookups, for example, while apps like LGBTQutie focus more on building long-term relationships. A quick search into the matchmaking systems and privacy policies they run can help narrow down your options, too, as well as the choice between exclusively queer apps in comparison to all-inclusive ones.

Building Your Profile

First impressions do count when it comes to online dating, because what you write in your bio will inevitably shape your potential lover’s expectations. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you decide the story you tell, so flaunt that wonderful personality of yours! We have an ultimate guide to setting up a dating profile coming soon, too, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, here are some quick tips.

Firstly, don’t be generic, and think ‘character’ rather than ‘characteristics’ – focusing on your interests and values rather than physical traits is always a better bet. Honesty is a virtue that tends to be overlooked by dating app users, which is why all AsYouAre members are verified before they can start their journey. Uploading a selfie is a must for us to make sure you are who you say you are, these extra safety measures protecting both your identity and others’ from catfishing and scams. Besides, it’s nice to see what the person you’re talking to looks like; it helps build a connection. And if you’re stuck between entering your real name and a pseudonym, keep in mind that it’s your character that counts, after all, and you can always reveal your name further along the game.

What About Privacy?

Arguably, online dating offers more privacy than traditional dating, but if you’ve already Googled ‘dangers of online dating’ and have been put off by the statistics and news reports, we have to keep in mind the policies and actions that both the app designers and its users have in place to guarantee your protection. From turning off location services on Tinder to using a screen name on AsYouAre, being mindful of your online presence can’t hurt.

On AsYouAre, we keep your identity safe. Users can see each other’s profiles, but never their picture or real name. Within India’s LGBTQ+ community, many value anonymity. We respect that. And when you’re ready, you can share your profile with whomever you like. It’s your move.