We strongly recommend openness to the "just friends" option in any online personals profile situation.
Even if your primary goal in participating in a personals service is to find "The One," try to be open to various types of new relationships. Nothing that makes you uncomfortable, but try not to be rigid in advance with regard to how a brand new relationship ought to operate in the future or what goals it should have upfront.
At the very very VERY least, try not to give off the impression that if things don't head toward a "til death do us part" situation within the first 20 minutes that you'll be hitting the highway. (Even before you finish that first cup of coffee.) That sort of attitude will make you seem simultaneously desperate and really aggressive, which surely isn't your most appealing stance.
Many women that are actually open to more serious longer-term romantic relationships will submit their profiles asking for "just friends."
Some figure it's best to start as friends first no matter where the relationship might go later, which is a perfectly reasonable point of view. If two people can't enjoy each other's company in a casual and platonic way, a "serious relationship" would definitely crash and burn.
Others may understand it's often best to approach an initial interaction with a new person without loading it down with a bunch of stultifying expectations. This might seem a bit of a Catch-22, but if you approach getting to know a new woman with no other expectation or desire than enjoying her company during whatever brief time you'll spend with her, you're actually more likely to wind up enjoying each other's company. And then subsequently, you'll both be more likely to want to spend more and more time together.
For instance, one of us here at lesbotronic.com met her "wife" online, but neither of them were looking for a "serious" relationship at the time. She placed a humorous personals-type ad just hoping to find new queer female friends for weekend activities, platonic-only just fine. She'd moved to a new city about a year earlier, and for various reasons still hadn't met as many new socially compatible people as she would have liked. However, she was already in a non-monogamous relationship, but with someone with whom she didn't have enough in common, and suspected the relationship was headed for its more-or-less inevitable demise. However, it was enough that she wasn't particularly looking to date anyone else.
The wife-to-be was single, but had "sworn off" dating for the time being after a string of bad experiences. She was reading ads on the same service merely hoping to find a tennis partner. While the ad placer didn't (and still doesn't) play tennis, the wife-to-be sent a response just to say the ad made her laugh. After amusing each other via email for a few weeks, they decided to get together for sushi. They got together a few more times, then the ad placer sent the wife-to-be an email saying she found their "just friends" encounters a lot more compelling than most "actual" dates she'd experienced. The wife-to-be admitted she felt similarly. After discussing where to go from there . . . they just went all the way from there, so to speak. And still are.
They now both imagine they got along better getting to know each other with no heavier expectation going in than friendship.
Here's a quote from one: "Speaking as one of those women above (heh), I don’t think I could ever do a 'let’s see if we’re compatible as life partners' meetup. Even just for coffee. If there was that much social pressure hinging on just one beverage . . . I think I’d just throw up or run screaming down the road. No thanks and NO WAY. Even if I met a woman with whom I really was compatible, I just might not notice anyway, due to the heavy duty social tension weighing down upon me. YUCK! I think more lesbians would actually be more successful finding love in the personals if they were less EXCLUSIVELY looking for love in the personals."
And now their advice to absolutely everyone is that if you do check that "long-term relationship" option, check other stuff (extra especially the platonic friend option) along with it. Just try to make some plans to meet new people, hang out, enjoy the process of that as an adventure in itself, and then see where the chemistry takes you. Ideally and for optimal results, meeting people should be more with the fun, less with the stress. 25 must-have requirements listed and the only thing checked is “long-term relationship” is going to feel like a job interview, or obscenely dramatic. Even if you’re looking for a serious relationship, tread lightly at first.
Meanwhile, in addition to the personals here or otherwise, we could also recommend that you participate actively in at least one online community. Lesbotronic.com has one, there are others. Even though you'll be "writing to" a larger audience mostly composed of women you won't end up dating for a wide variety of practical reasons, posts that portray you as interesting, intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful, knowledgeable, etc., can act as a "calling card" for you. Women that might not be using our personals and/or might not have contacted you otherwise now might. Forums are read by many, and the persistent nature of posts in a forum can promote community and connection in a way the more temporary nature of many other forms of communication can't. One interesting or well-written post could be read by women you might find attractive for years to come! Women that weren't necessarily looking to meet new people or don't have any personals profiles active might decide to meet you anyway, just because you fascinated them.
Openness to new friendships (from the personals and otherwise) will dramatically increase the pool of people available to you.
Be more open to being even more open.
See what it’s like to hang out with different kinds of people, practice your conversational skills. You might end up surprised at yourself for getting along with someone you had a preconceived idea you couldn’t. Or even if sparks fail to fly, you could end up with a friend or acquaintance who may introduce you to the next woman for whom they will.
Let your life surprise you a little. Sometimes excessive pickiness is really rationalized avoidance.
We know some out there reading this are thinking, "But I don't want to waste my precious time!" OK, so you're a busy busy bee. Yes, we get that, but our advice is still the same.
Women that say that seem to be thinking they'll necessarily have the exact same interactions with new women no matter HOW they approach them.
Something like . . . interactions with new women are somehow either pre-destined to go well or not, so they might as well be business-like. They might as well conduct an organized set of little job interviews, with the job as "my next serious life partner." Then, they'll want to determine who is "qualified" and "meets their requirements" with a checklist.
It's our opinion that that is definitely NOT true. And . . . that's gonna be a really lousy date.
Our advice would be that the way you approach a meetup will heavily influence its outcome. Ergo, in a conversely perverse sort of way, if you show up with the attitude, "I don't want to be wasting my time here!" it's not going to go as well, and then you're actually making it MORE likely that you WILL waste your time. Excessive concern with wasting time in an interpersonal situation being one of those unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecies.
A FEW MORE RELATED TIPS: If you say you're also open to meeting new friends in your text area(s) and you really do mean that, don't forget to check that off in your search criteria. Many people do insist they're new to town, wanting to meet new folks just to hang out with casually, etc., then don't actually check "friend" as a possible relationship type in their search criteria. That would mean they would subsequently have fewer friend possibilities in their Search Results. (We're still not sure what's going on with that.)
We also find it mildly odd that some that check off that they do want new friends, but then further limit their search criteria with only butches or only femmes or only totally single people. Yes, we understand you might have that preference for a more intimate relationship, but we're talking friends here. Your friends all need to be either butch or femme? We don't get why that would be the case.
Yes, we can see how if you're single, you might appreciate some other single pals to go rampage around the local (fill-in-whatever-is-a-local-hot-spot-to-meet-cute-women). Understood. And also understood that longer-term couples can be a little on the boring going-to-sleep-before-midnight-curled-up-with-the-cats-more-often-than-not end of things. Sometimes. Also understood.
But ALL your friends have to be totally single? That's going to be limiting.
You're also missing out on another important source that women often use to meet other women, the time-honored and often effective "friend of a friend." Someone could hook you up with a "friend of a friend" date at any time, but beyond that we've also noticed a phenomenon in some smaller towns where there are a few lesbian couples that have lived in the area for 10 years or more. While the two of them have been monogamously involved for the last 101 years, they know practically everyone else, coupled AND otherwise. Who's dating whom, who's single now, who's on the rebound but might be more suitable for serious dating in about 3-6 months, etc. (Or who's suitable FOR rebound dating right now, if that's more your style.) You probably won't end up dating a member of one of those couples, but 15 other lesbians they keep tabs on might be serious contenders.
If you want to clarify that you're NOT poly, the rest of your search criteria probably does that anyway. If you're still in any doubt, put whatever preferences you have along those lines in your text area(s). And finally, remember that everyone in your Search Results is ONLY A POSSIBILITY unless and until you and one of those other subscribers make it otherwise. Your Search Results are not prefab obligations, not even for one cup of coffee.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION TO THE ADVICE ABOVE:
The above is primarily aimed at women looking for partners, friends, and/or other longer-term relationships. If you are NOT looking for a partner and/or longer-term relationship, and specifically know that you really (and truly) do NOT want that, AND you don't want to meet new friends EITHER . . .
Then maybe forget the above. If you're EXCLUSIVELY looking for a short-term encounter with a sleazier, one-night-stand-ier / lost weekend-ier, decidedly more sordid sort of feel . . . don't bother with friends first or friends at all. Just make those different expectations clear in your profile, and stick to them. The only caveat we'd offer here is that it's probably best to avoid much in the way of any expectation that the woman you might meet via that sort of profile will change her mind and want something longer-term if you decide you do. Lightning does strike, absolutely, but as a very GENERAL rule, the sort of woman that responds to that sort of profile is a different variety than the one open and available for a longer-term, more solid relationship.