I’ve been trying the online dating thing, and I’ve come to realize that a few of you need some extra help. Here are my best thoughts, based on what I’ve encountered in my past month on Match (and my previous foray onto OkCupid):
Your profile photo. First of all, for the love of God, do not post profile photos that make you look like a serial killer. If I’m afraid of you, I’m not going to be thinking, Oh, here’s a guy I want to get to know better. Nope, I’m thinking, Yikes! I hope if I ignore him he’ll go away. But just in case, maybe I ought to start dating that MMA instructor/former Bama defensive tackle, from a few profiles back….
Also, do not post “car selfies” – you know, the ones where it’s like you couldn’t think of a good place to get a private pic (because maybe you have something to hide?), so you snapped a quick one in the driver’s seat before you went inside your house. Those rarely turn out looking flattering for anyone (just fyi).
Your profile photo is your first line of advertising. It’s your main marketing tool. Think of it this way: How would you go into a job interview, knowing that this is the first time your potential boss is going to see you? According to a Forbes article, people make up their minds in the first seven seconds of meeting you. They spend the rest of the time trying to justify their initial reaction. The same is true with online dating. Get your profile photo vetted by another female – preferably one who will give you honest feedback. (If you seriously don’t have a female in your life of whom you can ask this favor, send it to me – firstname.lastname@example.org – and I will tell you how bad it is. 😉 )
Her profile parameters (and yours). I’m tired of guys from New Jersey, Utah, Wyoming, and the Bahamas messaging me, despite the fact that I’ve set my dating range to “within 15 miles of Westminster, Colorado.” I’m also tired of chat requests from 35 and 60 year-olds, since I’ve given careful consideration to my target age-range, which is 47-53 year-olds.
I know it’s tough to match up to all of a person’s exact parameters, but if you are wildly-off from what a woman has indicated, there’s just no point. (And if you still try to date, chances are it’s going to be frustrating for at least one of you.) Similarly, when I see that a guy has checked “slender,” “athletic,” and/or “toned,”
as his desired female body type — and nothing else (like “curvy,” “average,” or “a few extra pounds”) — then I will immediately discount him, as I am not what he is looking for. Although I stay reasonably fit in general, I don’t see my body-type as being “slender,” “athletic,” or “toned.” So pay careful attention to both what you say you want, and what she says she wants. This will help you eliminate bad match-ups and instant shoot-downs.
Your conversational skills. The story goes like this: a guy messages me: “Hey – Nice photo.” I assume this means he’s interested. I go check out his profile. He’s cute, he matches up to a lot of my parameters – distance, age, height, pets, the fact that he’s actually single(!), etc. – so I message him back. “Thanks. You’re not so bad, yourself.” Him: “How’s your summer going?” Okay, yes, I can reasonably assume, at this point, that he’s interested.
So I tell him a bit about my summer… and ask about his.
He tells me about his summer. And that’s all he says. Okay…?
So I respond back, asking about one of the things he’s mentioned that caught my attention.
He responds back, telling me more about himself.
I ask another question about him.
He tells me even more… about himself… and that’s all he says.
At this point he’s ceased asking about me, and he’s giving me nothing to go on, so I assume he’s not really interested, and I stop responding. If you want to keep a conversation going, you have to be interested in the other person. A good way to find things to talk about is to come up with a list of questions — fun things you’d want to know about a woman — ahead of time. (There are loads of excellent “icebreaker” and dating questions on Google, if you need ideas.)
Guys, these are my best starter-tips to help you out in the world of online dating. There’s more – like when it comes to the actual date – but for those of you who are struggling, this is how you get past the first hurdle. I hope this helps.