Online dating is part of the modern single person’s landscape. Everyone’s doing it, and most of us are doing it wrong!
There are certainly good things about dating on OKCupid, Match.com and Tinder- if you’re new to an area, if you want to meet people out of your regular social circle, or if, in the case of eharmony.com, you want to meet divorced Christian dads in the suburbs- but these formats have their own particular do’s and dont’s.
Here’s a list of common mistakes the online bachelor can avoid (to not kill chances of a possible date):
- A Woman in Your Profile Pic- When I see a dude on a dating site with his arm around a pretty lady, I don’t think “Hey, she’s really pretty, I’d better step up my game”, I think “well, what did he do to piss her off?”
- A Blurred or Cropped Out Woman in Profile Pic – Hey, I feel for you guys. Unlike women, who celebrate every dinner, haircut, and outfit with a photo session, guys only get pictures taken when they’re on a date with someone or when they are on a bass boat. Please try and get a decent selfie, or ask a friend “Hey bro, can you do me a favor? I need a picture of myself.”
- Abs Pictures- Sure, he stopped eating bread and he does five thousand crunches a day, but when’s the last time he read something longer than the list of ingredients on a protein shake? A tendency to post pictures of one’s torso sometimes speaks to a desire to show it to many people.
- Generic First Message. There are real studies saying it doesn’t matter what your first message is, and the best method is to scattershot HEY HOW ARE YOU to a hundred women a week, but I have personally never responded to a HEY HOW ARE YOU message, and can’t imagine I would do so unless it was sent by Johnny Depp.
- LONG Opening Message, mentioning EVERY interest and hobby I have and their thoughts about it. This starts to feel stalkery. Wait, how did you know I’m eating a bagel? Are you watching me right now?
- Talking Solely About My Appearance: it doesn’t seem like there’s a desire to find out about my personality, right?
- Pen Pals- Once we’ve established contact, and written a couple messages back and forth, ask me out. I’m here for men pals, not pen pals! Also, if you live five hundred miles away, don’t message me- this is not a sexy chat service and I’m not coming to visit you in Pig’s Snout, Arkansas. Ever. Unless you are Edward Scissorhands or Captain Jack Sparrow. Then, anything is possible.
In the interest of fairness, here is a list of men’s online dating complaints that women can learn from:
- The LIST: Women have a long list of what they DON’T want in a guy. “No fakes, no players!” What, you want someone who’s not a drug addict AND who has a job? Picky, picky!
- NO Profile: Women that do not have profile info. I know you might be a private person, but no information at all makes it hard to start a conversation. “So…I see you have eyes! I do, too!”
- Over-Accentuating the Curves –-If a woman’s photo accentuates her body, one assumption is that she is not interested in a serious relationship, and another is that she might be a paid escort.
- And lastly, Misrepresentation- when women in person are fatter/older/less attractive than their photo.
Again, I understand this complaint. Who among us has not overrated our own looks? When we are picking out our best pictures of ourselves, sometimes we don’t recognize that because the picture is ten years old, we are posting pics of someone else who we used to be. I once had a long correspondence with a man who had deep brown eyes and long, wild hair whom I called “sexy werewolf”, and when I met him, he was just a regular, non-sexy werewolf with one great photo.
Clearly, nobody has mastered the online dating experience.
The truth is that I sometimes meet guys online that I find interesting, but when they make one of these errors, I delete them. I think of these as “dealbreakers” and an indication of deeper problems, and maybe they are, but sometimes I’m just dealing with men who hadn’t spent any time dating online. These are actually the people you want to meet: men who seek out and enjoy serious relationships, and stay off the market while they’re in them. The guys who stay online for years and years, perfecting their online presence and their patter, only pausing to occasionally list what bands they’d most like to see at Coachella, are confirmed bachelors who would sooner kiss a beartrap than give a girl more than a month of their attention.
What I learned is that: the only thing that online dating really makes you good at is online dating- especially in the case of free sites, whose goal is not to pair compatible couples up, it’s to keep everyone in the mix, looking at their ads and clicking, and generating revenue, so, the only real method to online dating is to relax, honestly be yourself, and accept some mistakes in the process of meeting real people!
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