If you’ve found yourself back in the dating world you might not recognize it anymore. Dating has changed a lot in the last decade. Sure, online dating has been around since the beginning of the internet, but social media and smart phones have taken dating to a new and terrifying level. How can you maintain your sanity in today’s dating environment? Grab a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine and let’s dig in.

Back in the day you’d build a profile and wait for someone to wink, like or otherwise connect with you. You might start out emailing back and forth before meeting for coffee or a drink. If things went well you might go out to dinner and a movie and if things continued to go well you’d continue to date. If things didn’t work out or there was no chemistry usually someone would say as much and you’d go back to the beginning.

It’s similar today except the process is much faster and you don’t always get a clear-cut ending when things don’t work out.

Swipe Right or Left – You’ve probably heard of Tinder if you’re dating again. If not it’s a phone app for dating. You look at someone’s picture and if interested you swipe right at which point they will be notified that you are interested. If you aren’t you swipe left and you’ll never see their profile again. It’s all about looks for the most part and there’s a rumor that most people use the app to find casual sex or extra-marital sex. In other words, it can be a shallow way to date. I’m sure there are many lasting relationships that started on Tinder, but there are probably more than didn’t.

Traditional Online Dating – Sites like Match.com, EHarmony and Our Time are your standard dating websites. Each is similar in that you create a profile and then look at others based on the criteria you deem important. It’s sort of like creating a laundry list of qualities you want and then sorting through a data base to find the perfect one. In fact, it’s precisely like that. There’s nothing wrong with these sites, most people do meet online now, but it’s good to keep an open mind when searching. By choosing characteristics, an age range and even occupation, you might miss out on someone perfect for you. Be open to new people when using these sites and you’ll probably find the right one faster.

Blind Dates – Having a friend set you up with someone might be the better route to go when it comes to dating. Your friend knows you and they know the other person, that’s a head start when compared to online dating. If you’re dating again, let your friends know you’d like them to suggest a blind date or two. Many people are happy to do so, but need to be asked.

Be Considerate – If you’ve been online dating, you’ve probably run into some… interesting people. Remember that everyone is in this online dating boat together and treat them with kindness, even if you don’t click with them.