Year after year, tons of online dating sites have documented a surge in traffic during December and January—a.k.a.the height of "cuffing season." In fact, Match calls this time of year its peak season."There are an estimated 107 million single adults in this country, and at the New Year, many are inspired to make finding a relationship a resolution for the coming year,” says Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy and a dating expert for Match.Tinder saw a 60 percent increase in super-likes during Christmas week last year, but anytime between Christmas and Valentine's Day is better than usual.With that in mind, here are some online dating tips from Gandhi to take advantage of all those potential new opportunities:1. Apps that will see the most traffic and new members are the ones that have the most in the first place, says Gandhi.Seriously, it's like a catalog of people in your area who you could talk to if you wanted to. Sure, bars have that and so does wherever else people meet people, but online, all you have to do is send an email, which is like the coward's hello. So why wouldn't you give this easy-as-eating-pie method of meeting potential dating partners a shot? (Look, I can't help it if I look really great up close because it makes my eyes look like I'm in a Japanese cartoon). Or if you're like me, taking photos in a photo booth at a craft fair. Write about things your ideal person would respond to. If you wanna meet someone who loves Beyoncé, same thing! You're gonna have nights when you scroll and scroll and scroll and it'll be nothing, no one good, no one attractive, no one who wants what you want.Plus, my confidence in myself noticeably skyrocketed because I was getting countless messages from crazy-hot Internet strangers, causing me to have that important realization of — and since most women have way less self-confidence than they should have (seriously, if you are reading this right now I guarantee if you think you're a 3, you're an 8, maybe even a 9), the answer was, Seriously, I now know exactly the caliber of people who find me attractive and it actually helps me in real life because now if I'm ever near a hot stranger I'm like, "Oh, he's into me. If you wanna meet someone who is super sensitive and kind, put that you are! Or it seems like they do want what you want, but then you meet them in person and whoa, it's different. Plus, that's when you get to the best part of online dating: not doing it anymore.
SOURCE: Consumer Reports "It's clear that online dating websites play a major role in the lives of many consumers — we invest a tremendous amount of time, money and emotional energy.So this may not be the best time of year to experiment with a niche new app.Stick to the standard ones like Tinder, Match, Plentyoffish, or OKCupid for now.2. Gandhi recommends reaching out to three to five new users a day, and don't worry if it takes a while to get a reply.Today, 40 percent of singles have dated someone they met online, while only 25 percent met a first date through a friend.(which isn't that great but man, that was, like, the dream of the '90s) or because I was obsessed with coding as a teen (shut up, I was so cool, you guys) or because I work too much or because I'm hardly ever at bars unless I'm performing and even then, when someone hits on me it's like throwing flirtation into the wind and hoping it lands somewhere near my brain. Seriously, if I had a dime for every time a friend told me, "Lane, they were hitting on you!!!And avoid firing off a litany of pet peeves or things you don't want in a partner, since it comes off as negative.5. We all have our deal breakers, but is it really important that your date lives within 25 miles of you? Or they might be a year younger or older than the age range you designated. "A phone call is a great screening mechanism before the date," says Gandhi.Amy Giberson, now 34, was reluctant to try internet dating again but she decided to give it one more shot in 2014. There are a slew of sites and apps to help singles find love and, for the most part, they work, according to Consumer Reports."Studies show that 90 percent of emails DON' T get a response—so you've got to pedal the bike hard to start to get some responses," she says.And don't wait for others to message you; take the initiative.And even better news: Conversations initiated by women are more likely to lead to dates.3. Gandhi recommends five or six photos—including head shots and full-body shots—that haven't been retouched, so they give a realistic idea of what you look like.It also helps to show yourself doing fun activities that express your personality.Likeminded people seek likeminded people a lot of the time. I know it's often impossible to get it to line up like this, but try having a few upcoming dates at once. When I first started online dating, I was disabling my profile all the time. Here are some tips I've gathered over the years to help you know what to look for in someone else's profile that'll save you a lot of bad dates in the long run. A lot of the time, that person isn't actually that great but once in a great while, they really, truly are. Plus, it's really great to know you already have a lot to talk about on your first date because you love stuff together. That way, if one doesn't work out, it won't seem like the end of the world because you have other dates soon! Sometimes it's just too much to deal with and you get all those weird messages, but you don't wanna give up on finding someone awesome. I would like to go somewhere with your face and body with the intent to date or have sex with you."Point is, I guess I just always assumed that the traditional meet-cutes of movies and TV were bullshit unless you were super outgoing and out at bars every single night, or if you were a fancy lawyer with no time for dating but then one day your heel gets stuck in a street grate. When I started online dating, it was fantastic in most ways. We all have that one ridiculous angle that makes us look like we're Angelina Jolie in her prime (which was , BTW), and that's great, but if this person can't recognize you when you meet in person because in person you look more like Wednesday Addams, choose another photo. If they make you feel sexy and happy, take 'em every second. You're just starting out, so it's OK to only reveal a little bit because you have no idea who these people are or how this thing works and it's kind of scary!