I’ve been in the online dating game for awhile now and like to consider myself fairly well-versed in the art of cyber schmoozing. Here are some of my favorite tips:
Writing Your Profile
Keep it simple: I like to take a “less is more” approach to writing my profile. While I appreciate the thought and effort that people invest in to writing up lengthy accounts of their interests and passions, it doesn’t leave much room for initiating conversation.
Focus on values: “The list”. Every woman has one. I’ve learned that every man has one too, and it’s often times longer than ours. If you’re looking for a potential relationship, then you definitely should include qualities that you’re looking for in a partner – just make sure that you focus on values (communication, loyalty, etc). You may secretly want a man who’s financially stable or enjoys working out, but if you establish that in your profile than you may be narrowing your range of really wonderful men who a.) may not fit those standards, but may exceed your others or b.) don’t want to be valued because of their money or bodies. Guys have feelings too.
Be yourself: I like to pretend that I’m eloquent and sophisticated, but really – I’m blunt, sarcastic, and don’t take myself too seriously. I’ve connected with so many guys online that I have a steady ongoing stream of conversations with – only to meet them in person and realize their face-to-face presence is so much different than their online personality. You don’t want to be the girl who guys tell their friends was “nothing like their profile”.
Here’s a look at my actual online dating profile:
Simple, brief, and obnoxiously me.
Give men the benefit of the doubt: Through my experience I’ve learned that all men suck at online dating for different reasons. You’ll run in to a few different dating types:
- The men that come on too strong: *insert 5 paragraph autobiography here*
- The men that don’t come on strong enough: “Hi. What’s up“
- The men who are really good at copying and pasting: “Hi Sara! It sounds like we have a lot in common. I’d love to get to know you!” K, great. My name’s Jenn. Good luck with Sara, though.
In that respect, initiating a conversation is kind of a lose / lose for men, so try not to judge that first message too harshly.
Don’t feel obligated to respond to every message: That being said, if a guy messages you – you’ve checked out his profile – and you know that there are some things that aren’t compatible with what you’re looking for (i.e. smokes, has kids / doesn’t want kids, etc. etc), you don’t have to respond to them. This was a struggle for me at first, but I realized that there’s no “nice” way to say “I’m not interested” and often times, the rationale you’ll have to provide for not being interested is probably going to be more hurtful than just not responding.
Keep it simple: Similar to writing your profile, when you’re communicating with a guy that you’re interested in – try not to get in to an ongoing back and forth of laundry-list type questions (i.e. what’s your favorite movie? favorite food? favorite cereal?). Generally, you don’t really care about these trivial questions and you’re not doing anything to maintain your interest or his. Instead, focus on a small number of questions that will help you get a better feel for the kind of person he is (Are you close with your family? What do you like to do in your spare time?) . I usually don’t go go longer than 3 – 4 solid message exchanges each before setting up a time to meet.
Don’t give our your number until you’ve established up a time to meet: Guys love to ask for your number because “communicating via text is easier”. False. 99.9% of men are using an app anyway – which is just as easy as texting. If you give your guy your number before setting up a time to meet, you’re essentially just transferring to another mode of communication where you’ll have to develop another conversation before maybe establishing a date. After you’ve set up a time to meet, then you can give him your number and tell him to “text you if anything changes”. This is good tactic for two reasons: 1.) it closes off cyber communication (which you’ve probably already belabored at this point) until you actually meet in person, and 2.) he has your number – so if things go well after the date, he can call you and let you know how lovely you are And if he doesn’t….next!
Keep it simple (do we notice a trend here?): Again, simplicity simplicity simplicity! It’s really easy to fall for the thought of having an over-the-top romantic first date that you can tell your future grandkids about, but there’s also a 50% chance that could turn in to an over-the-top awful first date that you can tell your best friends about. Essentially all you know about this person is his bias perception of himself. He may be great on paper, he may be a good person, but the last thing you want is to be stuck on the top of a ferris wheel with some guy that you have absolutely zero chemistry with.
Do what makes you comfortable: I love when a guy extends an open-ended date invitation (i.e. “I’d love to get together some time), because this allows you to tell him what you want to do. Yes ladies, it’s okay to say what you want to do. While it’s tempting to want to play coy and let “him do the work”, you can let him do the work on the second date. For me, I know I’m the best version of myself during the day. I’m more energized, relaxed, and, personally – it’s way easier for me to pick out an appropriate “day time” outfit than a night time outfit (which may totally vary depending on where you’re going!). If a guy says he’d like to get together, my go to response is “That’d be great. I’m free Saturday afternoon if you want to grab coffee). Coffee dates are the best. They’re relaxed and allow you to really focus on the person rather than worrying what he’ll think about what your ordered for dinner or how much wine you’re drinking / not drinking.
Don’t have expectations: I’ve found that dating is so much more fun when you remain present and surrender any expectations that you may have about the person or your communication with him. The best thing that can happen is that you meet someone that you connect with, and the worst thing that can happen is you have to sit and get to know someone new for an hour.
Have you ever tried online dating? Any tips to share? Or, better yet, any good stories to tell?