The term ‘dating services’ can refer to a wide range of companies, matchmaking agencies, and websites that aim to assist singles in their quest to locate a boyfriend or girlfriend. The criteria used to determine a possible match could be nationality, religion, location, income, or hobbies and interests. While these services reflect a tradition of matchmaking that has existed since humans evolved, the sector has experienced an amazing resurgence in the Internet age, with countless websites appearing claiming to be able to connect you with the partner of your dreams.

Now that millions of people have ventured into the online dating arena, one problem that often arises is compiling a shortlist of potential partners. Lots of services use detailed questionnaires for members that will determine how compatible they are with fellow members. The information requested typically includes age, occupation, marital status, what height and ethnicity you would prefer your match to be, and how fashionable you think you are. Certain websites state that their questionnaires are devised or assessed by professional councilors, however – if nothing else – they can help to whittle down the candidates.

If you opt for online dating, your first task is to create a personal profile. This should feature your life story, future ambitions, pastimes, how many children you have, and what sort of person you want as a partner. You could mention your salary and what sort of salary you expect your partner to have. You could limit yourself to a partner from a particular religion, or even a particular type of body.

Photographs are not compulsory, however, most websites say that these boost the number of views your profile will get. Bear in mind that, after you publish a photograph, anyone can see it, copy it and use it however they want. Lots of online dating websites charge registration fees. You might be allowed to search member’s profiles free of charge, however, you have to pay if you want to message them. Paypal, debit and credit card payments are accepted on most platforms.

For offline dating services, you could look for singles events in your local area. Recently, ‘speed dating’ events have become a common way to meet potential partners while circumventing the embarrassment of blind dating. At these events, people move from one table to the next, talking to a new participant for a few minutes at a time. Once everyone has spoken to each other, each participant writes down the name of their desired partner and gives this to the event host. When a match occurs, the hosts provide both participants with the other’s contact details.

Traditionally, dating services were looked down upon by many people, who regarded them as the last resort of social rejects. However, as people live increasingly busy lives, these services have gained acceptance as a handy and practical way to find love. If you intend to try dating in this way, always research the websites before registering, and take sensible precautions when going on dates and providing personal details.