Whether you’re just now wading into the online dating pool for the first time, or you already have a profile on every dating app available, there are certain do’s and don’ts that everyone in the online dating world should know.
From what to say in your profile, to what not to say when you finally make a connection, here are our 10 top tips for online dating:
Limit Your Options
This might sound counterintuitive, but having too many choices can actually limit your chances of making a quality connection. According to a great deal of research, being presented with too many choices can paralyze our decision-making process. On top of that, it can also make us far more likely to be disappointed with whatever we do end up choosing. Try limiting your options by only using one dating site and sticking to your preferred parameters. If you get impatient and try to widen your net by branching out onto other platforms, you might just be defeating yourself in the long run.
It’s not unusual to get frustrated after going on several disappointing dates in a row. Since online dating is so convenient and accessible, it feels like we should be getting results right away. The reality is that people often spend years looking for love, so don’t let a few bad online dating experiences discourage you.
The Profile Bio
Your profile bio is your chance at making a good first impression, so take the time to make it count. A good bio is brief, honest and up to date.
Start with the basics: who you are, what you do for work, and what you like to do for fun. Then throw in a few things that make you unique, like quirks, pet peeves, etc. Then maybe list what books you’re currently reading, any trips you’ve been on in the last few months and what movies/concerts/shows you’ve seen lately. This will make you seem lively and up-to-date, and might give you something to talk about right away.
You might say, why does it matter?
They should be interested in me, not how I look. Like it or not, looks are important. Like your bio, they are a crucial part of making a good first impression, so choose your user picture wisely.
Keep it recent, decent and real. No one likes feeling like they’ve been tricked into a date by a dishonest or outdated photo, so try to find a good picture taken within the last 6 months that clearly shows your face and most, if not all of your body. If you want to include a funny picture to show off your personality, that’s fine, but put that one deeper in your profile, don’t make it your default. Also, keep your shirt on, and whatever you do, please put down the fish.
Don’t Give Away Too Much
We’ve all met those people who give you every tragic detail of their childhood/life before telling you their first name. Don’t be one of these people. We’ve all had difficult times in life, and there is a time in every relationship for those details to emerge, but right away is not that time. Keep your sob stories off your profile description, and don’t mention them on early dates. Save them for after you’ve established a more substantial connection. Otherwise you’ll probably scare them off.
You shouldn’t tell them everything up front, but you also shouldn’t hide the unique things about yourself that make you stand out. Be up front about your weird hobby, or strange taste in music. If you collect Star Trek action figures, or love the band Phish, say so. If you wait too long to let them know that you’re secretly a competitive guinea pig groomer, they’ll feel tricked, or lied to. You are looking for someone you can share yourself with, so keeping things hidden is only going to hurt you.
Light teasing can be a great way to break the ice and show someone your playful side, but you should save it for when you meet in-person (and then be careful not to overdo it) and already have a feel for their sense of humor. If you start out teasing them right away, especially in text-based communication, the playfulness could get lost in translation and they might end up thinking you’re just mean.
Don’t be Too Timid
Asking someone out is always a bit scary, but if you’ve been chatting for a while, you’re probably safe from rejection. If you just keep chatting for too long while you’re building up the nerve to ask someone out, they’re going to start to question whether or not you’re really interested. So if you are, go ahead and ask already.
…Or Too Needy
The worst thing you can do is come on too strong. If you reach out to someone and they don’t respond right away, leave them alone and wait for them to get back to you. You can drive yourself insane wondering why they seem to be ignoring you, but in all probability they’ve probably just been busy, out of town, or away from their profile.
If you’ve made a connection and think you’re ready to ask him/her for a date, make sure you can actually make it. All too often I come across users who complain about online matches who are too busy to set a date, or keep cancelling/rescheduling. This makes you look aloof and uninterested. If you aren’t 100% that you can set aside the time for your date, don’t even ask.
Online dating isn’t an exact science, and you never know how things are going to work out. But the number one problem people seem to run into on mobile and online dating sites is feeling like they’ve been deceived by dishonest photos/profiles, so the most important thing you can do to increase your chances of success is to be honest, and be yourself.