The Internet has changed almost everything, including how people find their soulmates, experts say.


“Even 10 years ago, most communication would have been either face-to-face or over the phone, and finding a partner or date on the Internet was still considered unusual,” said Brittney Schrick, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Family Life Specialist.


“Today, text-based and other forms of communication are the norm, and meeting online is far more common,” she said.


Schrick said even though there have been some shifts in dating, the fundamentals remain the same.


“Most people still date within their community, meet organically, and interact in person more than through other means,” Schrick said.


Here of some Schrick’s dating tips for the 21st century single person:


• Apps can be a good outlet to meet people, if used properly. “Using apps that are primarily for ‘hook-ups’ in hopes of finding a long-term partner would probably not bring the results you want,” Schrick said. Schrick also warned to be cautious when meeting someone or sharing personal information through dating apps.


• Don’t be afraid to make the first move. If you see someone you’re interested in, introduce yourself. “If you are turned down, don’t take it to heart. Just breathe, let yourself feel let down for a little while, and then move on,” Schrick said. “Don’t assume that your love story will be a fairy tale or without bumps in the road. Every story is different.”


• Be safe.“The importance of staying safe while dating cannot be overstated,” said Shcrick. Pay attention to your feelings and any red flags, and don’t ignore them. Meet in public and drive yourself there. Let someone know where you are going to be, and have an escape plan like having a friend text you.


• Make first dates fun and low-key. “Look for things that would give you time to talk to each other, but not pressure you to talk the entire time,” said Schrick. Schrick recommends going to dinner and then doing activity like a movie or concert.


For more information about safe dating in the 21st century, visit, http://www.uaex.edu/health-living/personal-family-well-being/family-life-fridays-blog/posts/Dating.FLF.aspx.


— Emily Thompson is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture.