Whether you’ve been single for five years or five minutes, you could probably use some help navigating the ups and downs of online dating. Sure, it beats letting your mom set you up, but finding a decent date from an endless digital pool of thirsty bros can often seem just as painful as actually meeting up with that med student you haven’t seen since high school. Follow these tips to make online dating a lot more fun.

1. Meet up quickly. The only way to know if you really have chemistry is to test it out face to face. If they haven’t pulled the trigger after a few messages, ask them out! Besides, if it’s not meant to be, you’re better off clearing them out of your inbox before you invest any more time.

2. Don’t commit too soon… to just one app. Every app has its own pros and cons, so don’t feel guilty about playing the digital field. Maybe you love Tinder for the weekend and Bumble when you feel more take charge.

3. When in doubt, swipe right. Variety and possibility are the two best things about online dating. Loosen up your height/job/must-love-T-Swift requirements, and you might meet someone great!

4. Set the mood for romance. Who among us hasn’t spent a Friday night solo, dismally searching for a profile pic in an old pair of sweats as if the perfect photo is the only thing stopping us from dying alone? That kind of entry into the dating game doesn’t exactly make you feel like the hot single woman you are. Instead, meet up with a friend and compare profiles and matches over a glass of wine. You’ll boost your confidence, take down the pressure, and do some bonding at the same time.

5. Be Yourself. Online dating is essentially shopping for people. You can specify height, political opinions, non-smoker, whatever, and hit search. Plenty of people are looking for exactly what you have to offer, so be honest. Love old sci-fi? Hate sports? Don’t be afraid to share what you’re really looking for… everyone loves to travel and thinks they’re laid back. What makes you original might be what makes your future soulmate swipe right.

6. Don’t let your heart take it so seriously. It’s easy to get swept up in the myth that you have to find The One to be happy. But you’re a real person, not a Match.com commercial. Sometimes a first date is just a first date, and that’s OK. The beauty of online dating is that for every date that doesn’t end in fireworks, there’s another one waiting to meet up for drinks.

7. Brush off rejection. Sure, it sucks to see your messages go unanswered. But remember that your potential matches are only seeing one tiny fraction of who you are. Those few words and pictures you get to share aren’t the full you. So try not to take the occasional ghost knock your self-confidence.

8. Show a new side of yourself. Remember that potential matches aren’t seeing the whole you. If your profile pics and personal essay aren’t getting the kind of matches you want, take your profile down and start over! We’re not saying to be something you’re not. Instead, think of what kind of person you want to attract. If you’re looking for an adventurous dude, you’ll have better luck showing off the kayaking trip you took last summer and saving the sexy selfies for later. Be specific, and mix it up whether you’re looking for a hookup or true romance.

9. Take a break if you need it. Believe it or not, online dating isn’t a requirement of being single. If you find yourself rolling your eyes at each new message, it’s ok to check out for a bit. Turn off your notifications and focus on the real world for a few weeks. There will still be plenty of matches left when you come back. We promise.

10. Remember that you might find Your soulmate…or not. Online dating is an easy way to break out of your comfort zone and hit it off with cute, funny people you may never have otherwise met. But it’s not magic. Sometimes you’ll send a week’s worth of flirty text messages, and have zero chemistry in real life. And that’s perfectly fine! If you’re looking forward to a fun night out at the new tapas place and maybe some sparks, you won’t be crushed when you just don’t click.

Would you try these hacks? Let us know in a comment below!

Author: Mandie Williams
You can follow Mandie on Twitter @mandiethekid