After talking to a slew of dating experts about what makes modern dating different and what has changed since the first (and last) millennium, we’ve compiled the top 10 things that really do make dating modern. So, whether it’s hot or not, whether you have swipes or Tinder, this guide will help you understand how modern dating works.

1. You have to put yourself out there

Before you could open your email or accept a friend request on Facebook, you had to put yourself out there. The goal of online dating is to meet someone, and your profile—and all the rest of your profile—is your chance to introduce yourself and tell a potential date (or a future boss) why you’re awesome. And since the goal of online dating is to connect on a personal level, you have to make yourself attractive and interesting. Think about what kind of person you want to date, and then decide what kind of impression you want to make in the process of meeting them. Would you prefer a steady, professional man who doesn’t mince words? Or a laid-back, everyman kind of person who isn’t too picky about his looks? Do you want someone from another country who is interested in seeing the world and who is open to hanging out with the person you just met? All these questions will go into your profile, and the answers to them will influence how you decide to present yourself.

2. Everyone is interacting

We used to meet people in settings and have many chances to interact with them: at work, in our neighborhoods, at the grocery store, in a party, at a dance. Nowadays, everyone is on their phone. In a real, face-to-face conversation, you actually have to pay attention and listen to what the other person is saying. On dating apps, on the other hand, everyone can choose to send you a message and has the opportunity to interact with you. Nowadays, your time will be entirely devoted to responding to messages. Whether you’re using a dating app like Hinge or talking to someone in real life, you’ll have to be pretty flexible if you want to get to know someone.

3. Everyone has a dating profile

Before, if you didn’t want to meet someone, you couldn’t. You were too busy working, or you had a wife or boyfriend or commitment to any other person. Just a few short years ago, you had to make a choice: date or don’t date. There was
Enjoy Your Date, But…

Before you get down and dirty, remember that today’s modern dating has its downsides. Going on a date that ends in a hook-up can be fun, but when you are getting messages from your ex and wondering why your heart isn’t racing, it can be a bit disappointing—and, of course, can lead to the breakup of your dating relationship.

So, as you approach the dating pool for your single life, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Get to Know Yourself

Before you go on a date, do you have any specific expectations for it? Chances are, you do. «It’s really easy to get into the habit of going on dates with a certain mindset,» says Samia Arora, Chief Happiness Officer at the dating site, Badoo. «You get into the pattern of being nervous or excited and totally forget to explore who you really are.»

And when you’re feeling anxious, you can’t focus on the person you’re actually with.

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Arora, who has been on a few dates herself, recommends breaking the habit of setting preconceptions for your date. Instead, she suggests that you go into the date feeling free to ask questions that will help you to discover who the person is and what they want in their relationships.

2. Be Confident

«If you are going to find a relationship, you have to be confident in your own self,» says Arora. «As a first date, [you have to] be looking to make a good first impression, but it doesn’t have to be on the basis that you are trying to impress this person. You should really want to be with them.»

That means making sure your own appearance is on point. Arora says that today’s men are really self-conscious about the way they look, and that’s because of cultural pressures. On top of that, being confident often means you are showing your best sides, and that means dressing right. «The more you know about yourself, the better the conversation will go,» she says. «Do your research. You really don’t have to dress that differently, but being more confident about who you are as a human being allows you to discuss things more freely and honestly.»

3. Take Your Time

If the

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