The Process: Michelle chose this location-based dating app—which lets you set up a date right then and there (say you're at a café and a possible match is there too)—because it had the most local users.
But she wanted to take things slow, so she waited two weeks before meeting someone in person.
The Process: After a string of awful online dates, Amy took a clever route to improving her own profile, creating several fake male profiles so she could see how the women who came up most often in search results presented themselves.
What she found (and copied): Popular women showed some skin in their photos (shoulders or a bit of cleavage) and kept their "About Me" sections short.
The Guy: Lillian's boyfriend is, on paper, her opposite: more laid-back and artistic, and divorced, "but our personalities are similar in that we're both warm and caring," she says.
"We have an understanding of each other," she says. "No-shows, rude ones, egotistical ones, supercute ones, not-so-supercute ones." One Sunday morning—date 30, coincidentally—Lillian met a guy for coffee.In that first week, Linda gave the green light to two men.She didn't feel a connection with the first, but the second was Tommy, a guy she might otherwise have overlooked because of "a cliched, general profile," she says."I was being picky and wasn't opening my heart up to anyone," she says.Finally, Linda decided to say OK to every guy who asked to meet—even if she had reservations about him."Maybe because we're both Capricorns."Lillian 35, New York City, yearlong relationship, used e The Strategy: Go on 30 dates, and make a friend do it too. "As soon as he sat down, I knew I wanted to really get to know him," she says.The Process: Lillian tracked the string of breakfasts, lunches, coffees, walks, dinners, and drinks on a spreadsheet, listing each guy's name and where she'd met him to keep it all straight. It helped to have someone endure—and giggle about—the marathon with her. "Had I not gone on those other dates, I may not have been able to see the difference." It became clear who was simply cute "and who I actually wanted to spend time with." A year later, they're still spending time together.Her old profile included detailed descriptions of her work life and what she wanted in a man; her new one was just 100 words, "each carefully selected to optimize my chances of attracting the largest number of men." After the switch, "I was one of the most popular people on the site," says Amy, who wrote a book about her experience called . She agreed to go out only with men who fulfilled most of her 72-trait checklist of what she wanted in a partner.Her dual strategy is how she met Brian, her husband of five years.Online dating is now the second-most common way couples meet, with 30 to 40 percent of singles trying out some 1,500 services, from sites to apps.So if you're single and don't want to be, shunning digital dating is kinda, well, dumb.