Not too long ago, eager singles relied on blind dates, family setups, and chance meetings to find their true love. Nowadays, the premier way to find your match is through online dating. According to sociologists at Stanford University, matchmaking by app has officially become more popular than meeting someone through personal contacts or connections. Over a third of couples surveyed said they met their partner online, which is only expected to increase as people become more reliant on their smartphone.

If you are one of the many people who are interested in digital dating, there are certain ways to make your experience as positive and rewarding as possible. There are also a few things you should not do if you genuinely want to find your soulmate. Read our list of the most essential dos and don’ts for newcomers to the online dating scene. When you are informed and educated about the process, you will help to ensure you do not waste your time. You will also be more likely to find quality dates and a long-term partner.

  1. Do Your Research

When you enter the online dating world, research is essential. First, take the time to review different digital apps that are available to you. Look at your app store’s ratings to find out which ones are most popular. It is also a good idea to find out more about the service and its reputation. Take a look at their websites, find out what people have to say on social media, and read articles about the pros and cons of using the software. As you compare and contrast a few different options, you will know which approach is right for you.

It is also important to know the person you are talking to. Read the person’s profile carefully before you send your first message. Make sure what you want out of the relationship is in line with their desires, lifestyle, and personality. Some matchmaking apps have a questionnaire that helps you decide who is most compatible. Take advantage of these tools to help steer you in the right direction.

  1. Don’t Go Too Fast

Digital dating can be exciting. Technology allows you to find a match anywhere in the world. You can also instantly connect with your date through messaging or video. While you may start to develop a crush, do not progress too quickly. Spend at least a couple of days sending texts through the app, and then move on to exchanging social media profiles or phone numbers.

Even if you feel like you are hitting it off with someone, it is not as easy to get to know them over the internet. For one, it is more difficult to read body language like you would in person. Some people also display the best version of themselves while they are online—but could turn out to be much different when you get to know them. Since most digital dates do not have real-life mutual friends, it is important to take your time and stay safe.

  1. Do Stay Safe

Not rushing into a face-to-face relationship will help you stay safe. According to Safety.com, there are many other things you can do to protect yourself while you are engaging in online dating.

Use a digital phone number instead of your cell phone number until you get to know your match in person. Avoid driving in the same car with your new love interest for at least a few dates. Tell your friends or a family member where you are going before you go out to dinner or a movie. Give your loved one the person’s name and phone number and tell them where you are traveling. It is also a good idea to let them know when you expect to be home, so they can check on you.

No one wants to think that something bad will happen on a first date, but it is important to be prepared. Protect yourself by staying sober—and consider keeping a safety device with you. Pepper spray is small enough to fit in your purse and can be effective at fighting off an aggressive date. Before you carry it, make sure you practice using it and that it is allowed in your state or jurisdiction.

  1. Don’t Ignore Your Feelings

When you find true love, you feel it in your gut. The same is true when something is wrong about a person or situation. If you do not feel safe or you feel uncomfortable continuing the online conversation, listen to your intuition. You may have misjudged the initial match or put too much emphasis on the person’s appearance. It is also possible that dating them is not right for you.

It is better to start over again than to spend time with someone you will not date long-term. If you are no longer feeling the relationship, be upfront and honest. Cutting ties as soon as possible helps minimize the hurt. If your old flame continues to contact you, consider blocking them from your smartphone or app. Honoring your feelings is important in any dating situation. It is also critical to be honest with yourself and attend to your needs when you are in a romantic relationship.

Finding Your Match with Digital Dating

Everyone deserves true love. Digital dating can help you to find the person who is right for you. Remember the dos and don’ts above as you set up your profile and try to find a match. While you are looking, it may help your confidence to make small changes in your appearance. Schedule a facial to renew your skin and get tips on the products to use at home. Getting a fresh haircut can also refresh your look.

If you are struggling with getting thick, beautiful hair, consider using photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), also formerly often referred to as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), for hair regrowth. A PBMT device such as a laser therapy cap can increase the health of blood vessels in the scalp for more durable and supple hair shafts. PBMT for hair loss using red light lasers has also been shown to stimulate the sebaceous glands for shiner, silkier strands.

Other ideas include exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and indulging in nail and massage appointments. When you are feeling attractive, energized, and well-rested, you will make the best choices about your dating experience and partner.

Online dating can be a worthwhile experience that leads to a partner, to marriage, or to a family. You probably already know someone who has met their true love on the internet. Dive into the experience with a positive attitude, but also with caution and an understanding about how digital dating works. An honest and open-hearted approach to finding a match will benefit you throughout the process.