Welcome back to the second part of this series! To Read Part 1, CLICK HERE!
Factor #1: His Initial Message
My friends always complain about not having enough time to answer every guy who messages them, let alone go through all of their profiles. My answer is simple.
If he only says “hi,” delete the message. Seven out of ten messages that I receive just say “hi.” I delete those messages 97% of the time, because the guy is giving me nothing to go on. Unless he is extremely good looking and/or our compatibility stats are really high, I trash the one-word messages.
If he couldn’t take the time to use proper grammar and correct punctuation, don’t answer. Even if he is using his cell phone to send messages, it is not that hard to hit the Shift key, spell words out, and add periods at the end of sentences. A grown-ass man should communicate like a grown-ass man. “wow, you hot girl! look at dat smile. hit me up if you wanna talk,” does not conjure the image of a mature man and a great date in my mind. I just don’t get it.
If he only makes a short comment about your looks, don’t answer. “You’re pretty” is a nice gesture and a lovely compliment, but it is lacking originality. If he only says something like, “You seem cool. Let’s meet,” don’t bother. These short and impersonal messages make me think the guy sends fifty of them a day, hoping someone will answer.
If you say “Hi” back or “Thank you” to a basic compliment, you are inevitably going to exchange three more short messages – “How are you?” “Good, you?” “Great, thanks.” – before you actually start talking.
If you have the time for that, cool. I don’t. And no, I am not willing to set up a date without even exchanging a few emails. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Let’s see if we have at least a little bit in common before the always awkward first meeting.
Your time is valuable. Spend it focusing on the men who took the time to actually read your profile and send you thoughtful, personalized messages that will lead to conversations.
There are so many people dating online now, it isn’t too hard to stand out in someone’s inbox. I think that if a guy read my profile and wanted to talk to me, he should come up with more than just “hi.”
It may sound crazy to delete a message without looking at a guy’s profile, but it will save you time to move on instead of trying to pull a conversation out of a guy. I have a lot of talking points in my profile, and if a guy can find a way to bring one of those up, especially if he is funny about it, I will answer him. Every time.
Example: I mention in my profile that I love to travel and that I went fountain diving the last time I was in Italy. Here’s one guy’s message that made me laugh and want to answer immediately:
“Wow, bad girl! Which fountain did you go diving in? Did the Carabinieri come running after you screaming ‘RAGAZZIII!’?”
He not only took the time to actually read my profile, he was original and even made sure to use spell check.
The other night, my friend Hillary and I were talking about our experiences with online dating. She told me she had pretty much given up on it because of a few less-than-stellar meetings.
The last man she had gone out with looked nothing like his profile pictures – he was older, balder, and rounder than he let on – and though they both worked for large corporations and seemed to have a lot in common from their profiles and messages, they had nothing to talk about. She asked what she was doing wrong, and my answer was that she had thrown in the towel.
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It’s definitely a strange thing to talk to a stranger online and form a relationship before meeting in person. There is always the possibility that someone is being untruthful and chances are you will go on a date or two with men who look different from their pictures or listed fake interests in their profiles.
It is also very possible that there will be no physical connection regardless of how compatible you are online. It happens, but it is not the end of the world.
Obviously, Hillary did not go out with that guy again. But when I asked her what was so awful about that night, what happened that made her never want to go on another online date again, she didn’t really have an answer. Though he didn’t look like his pictures, he wasn’t repulsive. And even though they didn’t have much to talk about, he still acted like a gentleman. It could have been worse…
I have met several men from online who were openly surprised that I actually look like my pictures. The funny thing is, a couple of those men who made comments about my photos actually looked different from theirs. When I mentioned it, they had lame excuses, like not having changed them in a while or not having better photographs. Blah, blah, blah. But it made me realize that there are a few things you can tell about a person from the photos they choose for their profiles.
Factor # 2: His Pictures
If a dude doesn’t have a picture, hit delete. Immediately. If you are putting your picture out there, you deserve to see the person you are talking too. There is not one valid reason for a man to not have a picture.
With all of the social media that everyone uses today, there is no way that a guy can’t find at least one decent picture. If he doesn’t have one, he doesn’t take online dating seriously, or he is cheating. DELETE.
If his pictures are blurry, taken from far away, or he’s wearing sunglasses in every shot, he may want to remain anonymous, or he might not really be comfortable with his looks or online dating. Or he has a lazy eye.
If he never looks at the camera, he probably doesn’t like taking pictures or he lacks confidence.
If he only has shirtless pictures, confidence definitely isn’t a problem, but cockiness probably is, and there is a good chance his main goal is sex.
Looks are not the most important thing and you should keep in mind that some people are not as photogenic as others. You really can’t be sure until you meet in person. Focus more on the messages and content of a profile, but if a guy’s pictures are blurry or obviously outdated, you have every right to be wary. You also have every right to ask him if his pictures are recent.
The other day my girlfriend told me she couldn’t tell if a guy she was talking to was cute or not. He had six pictures. In five of them, he either had on sunglasses or was looking away from the camera. In the sixth, he was looking right at it but making a silly face. You could tell that he wasn’t unattractive, so my guess was that he probably doesn’t like taking pictures. He sent a nice message, so my friend decided to give him a shot and ended up having a great first date.
Another friend of mine made a good point. He said that he always expects a woman to look a little – if not a lot – different from her profile, because women choose the best pictures they can find.
On any given day, do you look exactly like your profile pictures?
I doubt it.
If you can’t tell what a guy looks like from his pictures, call him on it. Tell him you have met guys who used old pictures and ask him for a recent one. If he won’t send one, your instincts were right and you can move on.
If you meet a guy and he doesn’t look like his picture, the next move is completely up to you. You can end the date or you can chalk it up to him being insecure and give him a chance. You might actually end up having fun even if you don’t make a physical connection.
Filtering through initial messages and looking at profile pictures are actually the easier parts of online dating. Reading the profiles of the men who have potential is where it can get tricky and time consuming. How can you tell if you are compatible? How can you tell if he is being truthful?
Stay tuned next week for the last part of this three-part series!
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