Maybe you just got out of a long-term relationship. Perhaps you just moved to another part of the country. Or it could be that you are just tired of the bar scene and are longing for something different. Whatever it is, you have made the decision to **gasp** join an online dating site!
‘It’ll be no big deal’, you say to yourself, ‘I’ll just create an online dating profile, throw up a couple of pictures, tell a little bit about myself and wait for the emails to roll in.’ I’m sorry to say that it just doesn’t work that way and you need to put a little bit more effort into it if you want to get the best results.
Think of online dating as a gym. Sure, you can go in on your own and try and figure out the machines and how best to use them. But chances are that you’re probably not going to use the tools to the best of their ability and if you do it wrong, it could actually end up hurting you. Think of me as your online personal trainer. I’ll help you maximise your results and give you the best ROI considering your CBA.
1. Choose the right site
First off, decide what site or sites that you want to be on. I usually recommend to be on at least two sites. Find one major site that has lots of people on it like Match, eHarmony or JDate. And find one niche site that is something up your alley. Some examples would be Bristlr.com for men who have beards and women that love them, Pounced.org for all the cat lovers out there or GlutenFreeSingles.com for anyone with a wheat allergy. Make sure your profile reflects the site as well. If you’re on an active singles site, don’t write about how you love binging on Netflix.
2. What does your username say about you?
Choosing a username isn’t just a quick and easy decision. It’s the first impression that people get of you. It is how they refer to you in their heads or even to their friends. Make sure that you choose something that is easy to pronounce. “XR4TI1” is not something that one can say or pronounce and it doesn’t say anything about the person behind it. While you are choosing something that you can pronounce, also make sure it helps to flesh you out a bit. ‘Sexygirl2000’ is easily understandable, but doesn’t tell anybody about yourself. ‘StarfruitSurfergurl’ is much more descriptive. It at least gives a first impression and hopefully makes someone want to look closer.
3. Be selective about your profile pictures
There’s a lot of back and forth about exactly how many photos you should include in your profile. Some say as little at 3 while other push for 10 or more. I think there is a law of diminishing returns once you hit about 5 or 6 photos. First off, people are going to find the worst picture of you and assume that’s what you look like, as opposed to your best ones. Secondly, you want to keep some sort of mystery and interest. If there’s a guy that has posted 20 pictures, you already feel like you know him, so you may not feel like reaching out.
Make sure you have one of your face where you are smiling, so everyone can see how cute you are! The second one should have a full body photo to make sure that there’s nothing hidden about you. Then post some pictures of you doing the things you like to do. One thing to be careful of, if you post pictures of you in a group, make sure you don’t have a drop dead gorgeous friend in it or people might message you asking to meet them.
4. Talk about who you are
I know that it’s tough writing about yourself in your online dating profile. It’s hard to be your own cheerleader. So ask your friends. What would they say about you?
Don’t spend the whole time talking about what you are looking for, talk about who you are. Don’t just sit there and list things, that has no emotion. Instead, describe a perfect day for you or what makes you happy. Everyone is attracted to people that seem happy. Also, don’t write a novel. People are glancing through and want to be able to get a quick snapshot into who you are.
5. Keep your messages to the point
You are not looking for a pen pal so avoid over-long back-and-forths. Many people just treat online dating as entertainment and don’t actually plan on meeting others. Limit your messages to under 5 email/responses. Also, like above, don’t write a novel. All the things that make you you are best talked about in person where there is body language, flirting, tonality, etc. As many people get tons of emails, keep yours short, sweet, to the point and ask a quick question to make it easy for them to respond.
6. Don’t overshare
Whether it’s in your profile or while messaging, be careful not to overshare. Nobody wants to hear about your messy break-up. Making a list of wants or deal breakers is not going to endear you to anyone. This is especially true when it comes to messaging. You may enjoy the closeness that you feel writing to someone, but now’s not the time to tell them about your Crohn’s disease. Wait until you’ve actually met and have developed some sort of bond before you start dumping your baggage. I’m not advocating lying, just holding off until the right time.
7. Avoid clichés
‘I love to laugh, I couldn’t live without my friends and family. I like to work hard and play hard. I love to travel.’ – said everybody. This tells us nothing except that you’re unoriginal.
8. Don’t stagnate
You are constantly evolving. So should your online dating profile. If it’s August and they are reading, ‘Just got back from skiing in Vermont’, they know that you haven’t updated your profile in a while and probably don’t care that much. Keep it fresh. Go in occasionally and change the photos, re-word some stuff, update your ‘last read’ field. Remember that you are also trying to find the best combination that shows you off the best. You should constantly be tweaking it to see what gives you the best result.
9. Fill out all the fields
Nothing says, ‘I don’t care’ like a half-assed profile. If you are truly looking for someone, show the world that you are making a concerted effort. Whether is the ‘books and movies’ or ‘favorite places’, make sure that you’ve taken the time to fill it all out. Not only does it give a potential dater the best view of you, it shows that you take this seriously and really want to find someone.
10. Highlight the five F’s
There are 5 “F”s that people are consciously or unconsciously looking for when they look at a profile.
Friends: Are you the Unabomber? Showing you have friends is a form of social proof. You’ve been vetted by humanity. You are not a loner that no one likes.
Family: Do you have good relationship with your fam? Even if you don’t, hold back on trashing them. Highlight the good, don’t mention the bad.
Fitness: What do you do to make sure you don’t become obese? Not saying that everyone has to have awesome abs, just showcase that you do something outdoors or active.
Future: What are you working towards? Are you on a good job track? Are you building your own start-up? Are you in grad school? Even if things aren’t where you want them at the moment, showing you have a plan for your future is great!
Fun: The world is an amazing place full of amazing things and people. What is it you do that makes you happy? Plus nothing is better than seeing a happy, laughing person enjoying life!