Best Advice For Online Dating & Creating a Kick-Ass Profile+comment
Several years ago, I created a match.com profile. Frustrated with a slew of bad dates, perpetual texters, and some hookup situations, I decided online was the place to be. Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Two of my best friends decided to join with me. Like a workout partner, we had online dating partners. Looking back, my favorite part of the entire experience was the three of us drinking wine and punching up each other’s profiles. Nothing like comedians to punch up an “About Me” section. (Wait, I see a potential career: personal profile puncher-upper) I highly recommend this process.
The one downside to this process was since the three of us lived in close proximity to each other, are all about the same age and had similar tastes, the same guys would ask us out. In that way, it kept the process fun and not daunting. While my ultimate dating success (my hubby) was not found via the internet, the time I had my profile up taught me a lot about dating and myself. Dating is complicated no matter if it’s in bars, at school or over the internet. It’s good to have some guidance.
So here, from my personal experience and in my humble opinion, are tips to online dating.
1. Take the Pressure Off
If you start online dating hoping you’ll meet your soulmate, that’s a hell of a lot of pressure. On you and on your dates. I understand intention and laws of attraction, but sometimes dating is like shopping. When you go out looking for the exact thing you want, you don’t find it. But if you’re just shopping with a friend and open to anything, you’ll find an amazing dress for a steal. Start your online dating process with the idea of getting in the game. How do you get a date? Have a date. Keep it simple. Don’t overanalyze yourself or the guys. It’s dating people, not rocket science.
2. Value Each Date the Way You Would a Nail Appointment
I know this sounds too casual but whenever there is too much hype for anything, it’s almost always disappointing. Think about it, who doesn’t love a great mani/pedi appointment? It’s relaxing, it’s indulgent and you walk away feeling a little prettier. Look at any first date – either a drink or coffee – the same way. Hope for nice conversation and meeting someone new. Picking an outfit doesn’t need to send you into a meltdown. In fact, wear whatever you want. Chances are you won’t be that into the guy so just wear something that makes you feel good. That’s always more attractive than an overdressed woman.
3. Let Online Dating Be 1 Way You’re Meeting New People, Then Choose Another
This goes along with taking the pressure off. Join a new class, sign up at a new spin studio, volunteer, campaign for something you believe in, the choices are endless. If you say you don’t have time, make time. These things aren’t about just meeting someone but opening yourself up to new experiences and new people. Plus, they are great stress relievers. Also, meeting someone who only talks about their job is less interesting than meeting a hard-working cool person who is also taking Italian lessons, or learnt how to cook French cuisine, or just took a trapeze class.
4. Trust Your Instincts
Good guys don’t give you the heebie-jeebies. If a guy whether on line, via text or in person seems aggressive, pushy, weird, or makes you hesitant in the slightest, trust that reaction. It took me years to learn to trust my instincts. Now I treat them like the law. When it comes to men, especially strange men you meet online, your instincts are HUGE. If you talk to him on the phone and bells go off, then make an excuse and get out of it. It’s fine to block someone on a dating site. They have those options there for a reason. Same with Facebook or any other social media outlet. Instincts are key when meeting online.
5. Your Online Profile is an Amuse Bouche, Not the Main Meal. Keep it Simple.
While it’s easy to want to pour your heart out in your profile, no one wants to read that. Long, rambling paragraphs of what someone is looking for, who they are, what interests them, etc. gives people more of a chance to judge or criticize you. And too much personal information is off-putting and uncomfortable, it just is. People are attracted to fun, confident personalities. No one wants to read Anna Karenina in a profile. Remember the more you reveal about yourself online, the less you’ll have to reveal if you meet in person.
6. Be Yourself
As a woman, I know the photos I would never allow on any social media site, and the ones that I put up everywhere. I know which Instagram filters are my favorite, duh. Definitely use a flattering shot of yourself. But don’t use some ancient photo of how you wish you looked. We all have body issues, so don’t hide behind an unrealistic photo of yourself. Also, be honest in your profile. If you aren’t an animal person, don’t pretend to love dogs. And seriously, stop with the “I love the beach, sunsets, but staying on the couch on rainy days.” Yeah, we know. Everyone does. It’s better to be specific but honest, but not a monologue of your likes and dislikes. Truthful and simple should be your online motto.
7. Have a Getaway Plan
I know a lot of people complain that texting, googling, facebook, etc. are making dating more complicated, but smartphones are awesome for blind dates! Leave it to technology to get you out of an awkward situation gracefully. Set an alarm on your phone to go off an hour into the date (or 30 minutes, you choose). It’s a great way to get out of a date that you’re not comfortable being on. For a long time, I felt guilty if a guy had bought me anything – a coffee, an ice cream, a drink – that I owed talking to him. Forget that. If you know it’s going nowhere, or you’re completely bored or uncomfortable, make your excuses and leave. Meet him right after work and have another function (even if it’s a date with your DVR) to go to. Be in control. You hardly know this person. Anyone can be anything online, just ask Manti Te’o. Don’t feel obligated to anyone in your first meeting. Don’t be a bitch, just put yourself first.
8. Be Organized
I’m not suggesting have a dating spreadsheet, well, you can if you want, but just don’t forget who you’ve messaged or gone out with. Sometimes it gets a little confusing, especially if you have several dates in a week. Just try to find a way to stay organized. It will make the entire process less stressful for you. When I joined match.com with my friends, we were asked out by the same guys a couple of times. Needless to say, when some of them found out they’d gone on dates with three best friends, they were not happy. We should have been more organized and tried not to overlap. Remember if you treat people well, most likely they’ll do the same (not always, but the Golden Rule is usually a pretty good policy in life and in online dating).
Good luck. I highly recommend online dating to anyone bored, frustrated or feeling stagnant in their dating life. Then again, I met my husband in a bar. You just never know! Consider dating like playing the lottery, you can never win if you don’t buy a ticket.