Dear Savvy Senior: What can you tell me about online dating for baby boomers? I’m 57 and recently divorced, and would like to find a new friend. — Lonely Linda
Dear Linda: Whether you’re interested in dating again or just looking for a friend, online dating sites have become a very popular and effective way for baby boomers to meet people.
Making new friends can be challenging as we get older, which is why online dating sites are an excellent option. They provide an easy and convenient way to meet dozens of new people, without ever having to leave home. Many sites use matchmaking algorithms that factor in your interests and preferences. Here are some other tips to help you get started.
Choose a site or two: There are hundreds of matchmaking websites and apps, so choosing can be confusing. Costs range between $15 and $20 per month; however, some dating sites are free. Here are some popular options.
Free sites like OKCupid.com and PlentyofFish.com are good places to start, but these sites have a lot of advertising. There are also free apps like Tinder (GoTinder.com) and Bumble.com, but these tend to be geared toward younger adults looking for casual romance.
If you’re desire many choices consider Match.com, which has a huge membership. Check out eHarmony.com, which is very large and more targeted for people who want to take things slowly.
There are hundreds of niche sites like: OurTime.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com and 50more.com for those 50 and older; EliteSingles.com for professionals; DateMyPet.com for animal lovers; VeggieDate.org for vegetarians; JDate.com for Jewish singles; BlackPeopleMeet.com for African Americans; and ChristianMingle.com for Christians.
Create a profile: When you join a matchmaking site you’ll need to create a personality profile that reflects who you are, including recent photos, hobbies, interests and favorite activities. If you need some help, sites like ProfileHelper.com can write one for you for a fee.
Use caution: When you register with a site, you remain anonymous, until you decide to give out personal information, so be prudent whom you give it to. Before meeting, chat on the phone or video chat, and when you do meet for the first time, choose a public place or bring a friend along. If someone asks for money, don’t send it. Online dating scams are out there. If you want to be extra cautious, you can even do a quick background check on your date at MyMatchChecker.com.
Don’t be naive: In an effort to get more responses, many people will exaggerate or lie in their profiles, or post pictures that are 10 years old or 20 pounds lighter. Don’t believe everything you read.
Make an effort: A lot of times, people — especially women — sit back and let others come to them. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. When you find someone you like, send a short note that says, “I really enjoyed your profile. I think we have some things in common.”
Don’t get discouraged: If you don’t get a response, don’t let it bother you. Just move on. There are many others who will be interested and it only takes one person to make online dating worthwhile.
Jim Miller is a contributor to NBC-TV’s “Today” program and author of “The Savvy Senior.” Send your questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070; or visit savvysenior.org.