Question: 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 to spend time with. — Lonely Linda
Answer: Whether you’re interested in dating again or just looking for a friend to spend time with, online dating sites have become a very popular and effective way for baby boomers to meet new single people.
Making new friends can be challenging as we get older, which is why online dating sites are an excellent option for baby boomers. They provide an easy and convenient way to meet dozens of new people, without ever having to leave home. And, to make things even easier, many sites today use matchmaking algorithms that factor in your interests and preferences so they can steer you to matches that are best suited for you. Here are some other tips to help you get started.
Choose a site or two: There are literally hundreds of different matchmaking websites and apps available, so choosing can be a bit confusing. Costs typically range between $15 and $20 per month, however some dating sites are completely free to use.
If you don’t want to spend any money, free sites such as OKCupid.com and PlentyofFish.com are good places to start, but these sites have a lot of advertising. There are also free apps such as Tinder (GoTinder.com) and Bumble.com, but these tend to be geared toward younger adults looking for casual romance.
If you’re interested in lots of choices, consider Match.com, which has a huge membership in all demographics. Or check out eHarmony.com, which is also very large but more targeted for people who want to take things slow.
Or, if you are looking to find a specific type of person, there are hundreds of niche sites such as 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, favorite activities and more. If you need some help, sites such as ProfileHelper.com can write one for you for a fee.
Use caution: When you register with a site, you remain anonymous. No one gets access to your personal contact information until you decide to give it out, so be prudent to whom you give it. Before meeting, you should chat on the phone or video chat a few times, and when you meet in person for the first time, meet in a public place or bring a friend along. And if someone asks for money, don’t send it. Online dating/sweetheart scams are out there, so be aware. 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 flat out lie in their profiles, or post pictures that are 10 years old or 20 pounds lighter. So don’t believe everything you see or 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.” Keep it simple.
Don’t get discouraged: If you don’t get a response from someone, don’t let it bother you. Just move on. There are many others that will be interested in you, and it only takes one person to make online dating worthwhile.
Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070 or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.