The Thing About Dating Online Is…
The quantity of prospective dates online is simultaneously the biggest advantage and disadvantage to online dating. I am much more selective of who I respond to online than I am of who I would talk to in the real world, solely due to the sheer volume. If I go out to a bar maybe one or two guys will approach me to strike up a conversation, which I’ll almost always engage in (unless they attempt some a-hole opener) because I’m a decent human being and open to engaging with other decent human beings.
Online however, I receive multiple messages daily. When I first started I wanted to respond to each person (unless they attempt some a-hole opener) because I’m a decent human being, and it seems decent to respond to another human being that reached out to you. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that the logistics of this simply did not work out. One the major reasons I have an online dating account is because I don’t have a ton of free time. So it ends up that for practical reasons, I probably respond to about 2% of the guys that contact me. This 2% are the one’s that seem the highest quality/most attractive/most compatible from their profile. Admittedly, that doesn’t mean they ARE the highest quality/most attractive/most compatible, but alas I can only do the best with the information available. The point is that the guys who don’t get responses shouldn’t take it personally, chances are that if they approached me in real life, I’d gladly chat with them and maybe they would even be a better match for me.
So I apologize in advanced if my advice comes off as harsh or dismissive of the guys that have reached out to me. Getting many messages and only having the resources to respond to a select few, forces me into becoming very selective. I don’t necessarily like it, or think it’s a perfect system, but I haven’t figured out a better approach. So in the mean time, I thought it might be helpful to share some tips based on what’s likely to quickly turn me off to a person’s profile.
This is purely based on my personal experiences and preferences. It’s very possible that what turns me off about a dating profile might not bother some one else. But I think I’m a pretty typical gal, so there’s a good chance other girls feel the same way I do. So without further ado, if one of my guy friends asked my advice on making a profile, here’s what I would suggest:
1. Smile in your profile picture
I’ve seen quite a few profiles where the guy looks very sad, angry, or intimidating in the main picture (or sometimes all the pictures). When I see these I think “Why are they sad? I don’t want to date someone who’s sad. That’ll make me sad. I want to be happy! I want to date someone who is happy!” Your profile picture is your first impression. People are attracted to others who look happy and like they are having fun, because we want to be happy and having fun.
Above all else – as a guy trying online dating, the last thing you want is to look angry or intimidating!!! Just by being on the site you already need to be working against a girl’s anxious suspicion that you might be a total creep. The last thing you need is anything in your profile that is going to confirm that fear!
2. Be the best looking person in your pictures
Especially in your main photo, but ideally in all of your photos. The last thing you want to do is have a girl see your picture, think your buddy next to you is really cute, and then get disappointed when she discovers it’s not his profile. Alternatively if she never saw your cuter buddy, she might still think you’re attractive and never experience a let down.
There’s a social psychology concept called “the contrast effect” which states that how attractive people perceive us to be can be relative to the attractiveness of those around us. In other words, I don’t look so great when standing next to a super model, but put me next to a below average girl and I don’t look so bad. So keep this in mind when choosing your picture.
3. Be clearly visible in your main picture
Again, as a girl online I have an overwhelming amount of options. If I can’t tell what you look like right away, you’re going to need to send me a very intriguing message in order to incentivize me to invest time/energy into looking further into your profile. If I can’t get a good idea of what you look like from any of your pictures, there’s almost no way I’m going to respond. Call it superficial, but again it’s a consequence of the numbers. I can only respond to so many people, and actually meet with even less. Chances are that there is a guy on the site with a comparable profile as yours, but with pictures that actually allow me to see what he looks like. In such a case the devil I know is better than the devil don’t.
Things that can get in the way of me feeling like I know what you look like can be:
- wearing sunglasses/hats
- being far away
- group shots
- side profiles
- extreme close-ups
*none of these are bad to include, but if all your photos fall into these categories, I’m moving on. If your main photo falls under this category, your making it harder for yourself.
In the same spirit, have more than one picture. We all know a picture can be deceiving, so the more you include, the more confident I am that I know what you look like. Plus more pictures usually give me a better feeling for your personality.
4. Put some effort into it
If it’s obvious you put little to no effort into your profile, you’re unlikely to get a response. Again, I’m not going to invest time messaging/meeting someone who I know nothing about, especially when there are plenty of other options on the site. Being on a dating site but putting little effort into it seems to reflect an attitude of indifference that I’m not really attracted to. As best as possible, your profile should be a reflection of yourself. So think about how it reflects on you, and what it says about the time/energy you would invest in a relationship if you put no effort into your profile. Would you go about putting together a job resume the same way?
Also I have a theory that a lack of effort in a dating profile is an act of defensiveness. It hurts less to be rejected when you didn’t try that hard, than it does to be rejected when you really put yourself out there. Obviously the cost is that you’re less likely to find high quality dates. Personally, I’m not interested in someone that needs to be so protective of their ego. But most girls probably don’t analyze this so deeply 🙂
5. Talk about what you offer, not just what you want
I’ve come across several profiles where guys include lists of what they’re not interested in from girls. Even if nothing you list applies to me, this just seems very critical and confrontational. I (and I assume other girls) am attracted to warm and open people. It also seems a bit cocky to be on a dating site and announce all the types of girls that should keep away from you.
* I realize this post could look like just what I’m describing above, but this list is not on my profile – and the intention is really just to help out some guys that might be unknowingly turning girls away from their profiles by some of these simple faux-pas.
There are also a lot of guys that list what they are looking for in a woman. There’s nothing wrong with this, but don’t forget to include all the things about yourself that would make that type of woman attracted to you.
6. Be confident, but don’t be cocky.
If under “Things I’m Good At” you’ve put “being awesome” I’m going to think you’re not that awesome, or else you would have been able to think of something more specific/creative to put there.
Rather than bragging about positive qualities (i.e. “I’m always making people laugh” “I accomplish whatever I set my mind to” “I’m an extremely passionate person”), include things about yourself that demonstrate these qualities. Don’t tell me you’ll make me laugh, make me laugh. Don’t tell me you can accomplish anything, tell me what you’ve accomplished. Don’t tell me you’re a passionate person, show me how that passion materializes in your life. A truly confident man doesn’t have to convince others of his positive qualities, he just goes about being himself and allows those qualities to come across.
7. Limit the selfies
I understand that guys don’t take typically take pictures as often as girls do, so it can be hard to track down flattering pictures. But if every one of your pictures are selfies, I’m asking myself “why are there no other people in your life?” Plus having a bunch of pictures of yourself taking a picture of yourself can come across as a bit self-absorbed.
8. Open with more than just “Hi”
If all you say in your first message is “Hey, whats up”, I probably won’t investigate further. I get that it’s not always easy to think of what to say to someone, and I’m not asking for some super creative and clever opening, but again consider the numbers. The bottom-line is, if you want a response, you have to stand out, and “Hey, whats up” isn’t going to cut it. Also, “you’re beautiful” and variations of that are nice to hear, but they’re not enough. Pretty much every other message says something along the same lines, so it’s not setting you apart or giving me sense of who you are as a person.
A good start is to let a girl know what about her profile in particular stood out to you, besides the pictures. That way she gets the feeling you actually took enough interest to read through her profile. Look for something in her profile that interests you or that you can relate to. Ask a question to learn more, and let her know how you can relate.
9. Don’t get snippy
I actually don’t mind a repeat message if I didn’t respond to your first one. Often I might get a message from a guy that interests me but I don’t have time to respond right away. So I’ll save the message with plans to respond later, but next time I sign on I have more messages to go through, and get side-tracked, and so on. So sometimes a follow up is a good reminder to me, but what you definitely don’t want to do is get snippy or defensive with me. For example something along these lines has happened several times:
I get a message from a guy that looks like he might have some potential, and save the message to respond to later. I guess the guy sees that I checked his profile and didn’t respond immediately and is insulted. He messages me again saying something aggressive like “Seriously? Not even a response?” or “guess you’re not interested in meeting one of the few genuinely nice guys out there” or “your loss”
Little do they know I actually might have responded until their follow up, which left me thinking “good thing I didn’t respond, that saved me some time”. I’m not sure what these guys are trying to accomplish with such messages, because all it does it make them come across as highly sensitive, defensive, aggressive, not to mention desperate.
10. Lose the ladies
Avoid pictures of you with a bunch of girls. You don’t look like a ladies man, you look like a player. Pictures of you with one other girl look like pictures with an ex girlfriend. I personally (and I know I’m not the only one) don’t want to see pictures of a potential date with their ex. If you use a picture with a girl other than your ex, at least specify in the caption that it’s your sister/cousin/friend/friend’s girlfriend etc.
54 thoughts on “Tips For Guys From A Girl On OkCupid”
An interesting post! As a fellow girl, I would think those things would be a turn-off for me as well. I’m actually surprise that some guys would have profile pics of them w/ a bunch of girls on an online DATING site. What kind of girls are they trying to attract??
I think the article is awesome and I actually felt like you didn’t even need to apologize. Not only did you go as far as to explain why you may not respond, but actually explained ways to get more replies. You’re an awesome person for that. As for the girl pictures and to the responses, I don’t think that’s quite fair. I’ve seen a lot of girls who have pics of them with guys. Some with a group and some with one guy in the picture. Now they could be friends or family, but that would make your point null and void because it could also hold true for the guy. So in that instance it sounds like a we’re being judged unfairly. Then again I guess I can’t blame you when you’re being bombarded with messages. The thing I hate about internet dating compared to meeting someone in person is because it’s like comparing fishing and hunting. Internet dating is like fishing where you sit on your butt and wait to hopefully get a catch. With hunting you just pull the trigger and see what happens. In my opinion internet dating isn’t worth it. I rather go out and still be able to have a good time then waste my time being hopeful on a website where I’m not just competing with the guys going out, but also the guys who have no confidence and use a computer to find a date. No offense meant, but why even go through the trouble whilst paying a monthly fee?
“also the guys who have no confidence and use a computer to find a date”
I have never found a long-term date using a computer despite being multiple long term relationships that last 4+ years. What I will say is that you are completely confused or blindly biased about why some people use dating sites. What I find better about online dating over going to a bar is that you can meet someone online and immediately understand if the person is not worth your time. At a bar you are seeing someone at their best. A girl who is a complete mess will cover all of that up and won’t be honest. She may not be forthcoming with various views so you may waste a night talking to someone who will either be good for a night or good for the next hour. Ultimately both routes have been a waste as all long-term relationships I’ve had have been from meeting people through a friend.
Just keep in mind that you can’t generalize your experience to everyone else’s. I met my fiance through Okcupid, and have a number of friends that found their spouses through online dating. Might not work for everyone, but definitely works for some.
Hmmmm this is an interesting perspective. I used to follow all of this advice and had little luck. My opening message would be something genuine, along the lines of “You seem like an interesting person that I’d like to get to know more. (Blank from profile) reminded me/made me think of…” You get the idea. Ironically what has worked for me has been he exact opposite of almost everything you suggest. As a guy, I have found that leaving plenty to the imagination and making light of the “online dating” concept in general worked far better for me (then again I am 25 and seeking women between 20-35). I have 2 pictures, one is an exact shot snowboarding where you cannot see at all what I look like. The other is a profile from a recent gig I played. You can’t see my face at all. My entire profile is sarcastic and completely ridiculous one-liners. All of my opening messages are silly, like “got any jokes?” Or “what’s your spirit animal, mine’s a unicorn”. The novelty and cheekiness seem to be working much better. Than again I live in Vancouver and am more attracted to artsy, spontaneous girls with a mean wit. Thoughts?
Glad you’ve found a style that’s working better for you. Like I said, these are just things I consider but may not be true for all girls. That being said, you may go against some of what I suggest but I wouldn’t say you’re doing the opposite. In fact I think a lot of what you’re doing falls in line with my suggestions. Maybe your pictures don’t show your face, by they do demonstrate your desirable qualities, just as I suggested. You’re not just saying you’re athletic/adventurous – you’re showing it with a picture of you snowboarding. You’re not just saying you’re talented and artistic – you’re showing it with a picture of you at a gig. I advised against putting little to no effort into you’re profile – but I didn’t say you needed to have lengthy profile sharing you’re life story. While your profile might be a ridiculous collection of one liners – it might still be a good reflection of your personality. If it’s actually making girls laugh, it probably doesn’t come across as effortless, because that’s not easy to do. Once again you’re demonstrating your humor rather than just saying “I’m funny”. You’re also not opening with a simple “Hi” or cliche compliment. You’re openers may be silly but they probably stand out (as I suggested) and again are reflecting a personal attribute that a girl might connect with. Other than that, you don’t have pictures with a bunch of other girls, or better looking guys, you don’t have a bunch of selfies, you’re not making a sad or angry face in your pictures, and you’re not be snippy or too cocky. So I would argue that you’re actually following the majority of what I suggested. Check and mate. I appreciate your implying that I’m not artsy, spontaneous, or witty though (and apparently younger than 20 or older than 35). Cheers 😉
So what would a girl do if they wanted to get the attention of a guy? Or do they just wait for the guy to message them? I’m not trying to be rude or anything, it’s just that I don’t feel bad for anyone who’s drowning in messages of people that are interested in them lol. As a guy, you’re just expected to be the one to traverse the minefield of dating and rejection, a behavior that is learned; we’re not born with it. It gets easier every time you do it, but it still hurts when you step on a mine. I’d like to think that these days, with everybody screaming about gender equality, that we’d see some equality in this arena.
Never said any where that I expected anyone to feel bad for me. The purpose of the post is not to complain about getting a lot of messages, just to explain how it influences online dating behavior. In fact I’m saying i feel bad for not being able to give every one that messages me more consideration. For the record, I also actively look for guys, initiate messages with them, and often don’t receive replies as well. And as I mentioned, I’d love to hear feedback from guys but their turn-ons/offs when it comes to dating profiles.
What I do is keep the profile short and sweet. I describe my career interest for computer programming, music genres, documentaries, etc. Pics are something I have a tougher time with, since I am blind. To compensate for that, I might start my message with a question about what is on the woman’s profile. If she has not put much effort into the profile, I see it as a red flag, but not necessarily a reason not to give her a chance. Perhaps, she prefers to converse, to allow for mystery, or does not want to reveal too much personal information on her profile. I just use the lack of a profile as an opportunity to ask about her interest in music, computers, documentaries, travel, etc. I allow the message to be thought-provoking, to allow for conversation to take place. I don’t want to needlessly limit myself, because of impressions I have about what a profile looks like. I’m not sure I’d even go as far as to consider it to be like a job application/resume, but I would like the profile to be friendly. I hate it when a woman puts how the guy must have a car. Blindness is why I cannot have one, so I tend to not know what to say, when sending her the first message.
Very interesting perspective! It’s funny to me that some women consider having a car a requirement. In the city, lots of people don’t have cars!
I read through this and I follow all the rules. Have been since day one. I’ve never sent a message with a sleazy pickup line or commented on appearances, I’ve got a filled out profile that does a really good job describing who I am and I’ve gotten a few messages in the past where people tell my my profile is entertaining and one of the funnier ones they’ve read on okcupid. I’ve answered a ton of questions, I’ve got good pictures, I make sure I’m only messaging active profiles, I’m not fat or actively ugly, I spell correctly and use punctuation. I see profiles of girls with really interesting traits that I’d really be interested in talking to them about even if it weren’t a date and I write decent messages that aren’t creepy long or “hi” brief. I don’t come across as needy in my messages, I don’t spam generic messages, etc. Even when it’s a “mutual like” that I get an email about or whatever, nothing. I used to get replies, I guess, but this last year I don’t get anything. And when I do get replies (I can think of two message chains since like, last October) the girls just disappear and just seem uninterested in meeting. I never am pushy about it at all, but if I ask in the first few messages to get lunch or go suuuuper slow the same thing.
I just don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I feel like I’m the perfect guy, I’m smart, funny, tall, college graduate with a solid degree, not a deadbeat, genuinely looking for a relationship, etc. I’m a keeper. But there’s just this deafening silence and it’s killing me.
It’s extremely demoralizing. What the hell, okcupid? Any suggestions?
look man, first off I want to say I sympathize for your situation but you’ve gotta stop feeling sorry for yourself. just the other day I was talking to my friend Craig and he was complaining exactly like you are about how he never gets any mail. nothing. nada. zip. despite having a solid profile and he himself being a genuine person (not unlike yourself) based on your post I can tell that you have decent grammar and since your username is “Nixonforpresident” you’ve probably got a good sense of humor. ultimately here is my advice to you: broaden your search. send out more messages to more girls, explore other areas, and most importantly try different methods for striking up conversations with girls. be original for the love of god. its worked for me.
No sympathy cuz you’re tall.
This was a good read. Thank you. A lot of sound advice – I am a dude, and try to follow this. I learned something with the part on don’t say your something, just say something that gets the point across. I’ll make an observation from 3 years of this. Lack of response in general for me is when I am messaging women who are not looking for types like me. And like you said, women get a lot of messages, so repeat does sometimes get the response. And having not responded to a lot of women, or ones that liked me in a photo, it is the same thing I said. They were not what I was looking for. One piece of advice I’ll give to keep it brief, with humor, and make it obvious you read their profile. Humor lightens everything up. Oh, and have low expectations. Dating sites do not mean you will land dates. You’ll interact with some people, and sometimes it leads to a date. Just like in real life. You meet someone on the airplane, at a store, a bar, and based on timing, and bunch of other factors, it sometimes doesn’t happen. No worries. Thanks
great article by the way, Emma.
Good stuff. But let me add that while obviously you have the full right to respond or not respond to whoever you want, it needs to work both ways – if you don’t have the time or effort to answer, that’s reasonable, but then don’t expect guys to always put tons of effort into making every single message unique and individually crafted if 49 times out of 50 (!!) all their time and effort was waste. Especially since “first contact” messages are generally the hardest ones to think of what to say compared to a response where you have some idea of what to talk about based on promptings from the other person. Obviously we aren’t in an ideal or egalitarian world, but the concepts of initiative vs response, acting vs re-acting, shouldn’t be gender-relegated.
There is certainly a great deal to learn about this subject.
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I think you’re reading into things a bit too much. Most profiles (at least 60 percent prob much more) don’t have pics of other people in them and it’s totally idiotic to assume they have no friends. Also it’s a double standard, girls can have 20 pics of them by themselves and no one says “Oh that girl is a loser!”. Most people aren’t trying to throw pics of their friends on a dating site either. It just seems so lame to urge people to post pics of them at exotic locations and out with people. Like “Do this or some neurotic b*tch is going to think you have no life and no friends!” I’d rather keep my private life private until later. It’s much better that way, more build, more romantic, like reading a novel. I mean I have all those pics but I feel like a total fake loser throwing them online, like “Hey, look at me! I’m cool!” (even though I’ve had long adventures in NZ, France, Spain, worked at different national parks all over the states) I don’t need to do that crap. My personality speaks for itself, if I can get that vital first phone call that is lol And you are the obstacle to that. You represent the problem with online dating. People who read WAAAAAY too much into things, assuming sh*t that isn’t even true.
True story bro!
For clarification, I didn’t say anything about putting up pictures of you with friends. I said “limit the selfiess”. A “selfy” is a picture of yourself, taken by yourself; as opposed to pictures of yourself that were taken by another person (which show that you get out into the world and interact with people). Notice that I only said “limit” the selfies. I don’t necessarily think it’s awful to have a selfy or two, but I recommend you have other types of photos as well. As far as withholding interesting pictures because you don’t want seem “fake” or like “Hey, look at me! I’m cool!”; first of all if those are experiences you’ve had, there’s nothing fake about it – you’re just sharing something about yourself that someone else might find interesting or relate to. Second – you kind of need a “Hey, look at me! I’m cool!” mentality, to get someone’s attention online. Dating in general requires marketing oneself – ideally in a genuine way that attracts someone you really connect with. Of course you save some personal information to be uncovered as you get to know the other person, but you have to put some information out there to get enough interest in order to get that “vital first call”. You say the problem is girls reading too much into things, and making false assumptions, but what’s really happening is if you don’t tell me much about yourself, I’m NOT going to think much about you, and move on. You’re the one that is actually EXPECTING girls to make the assumption that you might have a great personality even though you’re not presenting a lot of evidence. Women are very incentivized to NOT make those assumptions, because there are many more options. Not to mention, we have safety to consider… so the more I feel like I know about the person, the more comfortable I feel, and the more I see that he has other people in his life that feel comfortable with him (hence limit the selfless), the more comfortable I feel.
Some good tips and I guess the intention behind the article was to help people. Though it has always bothered me that there is this expectation of guys needing to be almost flawless when it comes to interacting and showcasing ones self.
Meanwhile a girl needs only a photo and a lot of the time their profiles contain “oh i don’t know what to write”. not all the girls do this though. however I cannot afford to not talk to these girls just because they were not sure what to write.
It just boils down to too many men and not enough women who aren’t hugely obese online (by that I mean 4 or 5 belly rolls). I don’t think its wrong to expect people to at least look after themselves so they don’t break the scales.
I am bitter. bitter because I know many of the girls that rejected me and have ended up with men who are attractive until they start beating or cheating on them. One guy got a girl I was interested in into drugs. It’s like a kick in the teeth when they choose someone like that over you.
You need an Iron Will to be a guy in the dating world (at least online) and I don’t think most girls even register that. Id much rather be the chooser and make wrong choices than be at the mercy of everyone you’re interested in. It also baffles me when I see women complain about not having enough time say “No thanks” or use ctrl-v. Meanwhile most guys inbox will be barren of “first messages”
Point is, be grateful that so many people are interested and if they say more than “hey” its deserving of a response (us guys have a life too you know and those messages don’t write themselves). So if you look at their profile you can spare a few seconds to respond.
Gender ratio on OKCupid is going to vary from region to region, but conservative numbers reveal that it’s about equal. There are more guys registered, but not by much.
Buuuuut here’s the problem a lot of decent guys have with online dating… There are a lot of socially un-adjusted jerks out there who ruin it for the rest of us. There are a lot of really good guys who want to broaden their leads by also dating online. But they seem to be outnumbered by the crass losers who’s ONLY option is to date online. These guys typically don’t know how to talk to regular people — let alone people whom they want to have sex with. They typically have no manners and have low self-value. And thusly, they project that low value onto their targets: all the girls with the prettiest pictures.
I’ve heard and reads lots of horror stories. Not only are the typical woman’s mailbox inundated by sheer volume, but most of it is NSFW drivel.
So when an average-looking guy who’s actually really cool and genuine tries to insert himself into the sea of loudmouthed jerks, it’s very difficult for a woman who’s looking for him to actually find him. It almost becomes a full time job for a woman to keep up with all the messages — and for the guy, it’s a full time job for him to scout and SEND messages to countless women. And the vicious cycle continues.
For me, online dating isn’t my SOLE method of meeting women. It’s something I have in ADDITION to meeting women the traditional way. Guys, if you’re putting your sole focus into online dating, I can promise you that unless you look like Zac Effron, it’s going to be a rather depressing endeavor to get rejected over and over again. For every 10 girls you message, you may get 1 reply. And that reply is probably a “thanks, but no thanks”. And for every 10 rejections, you might get a date. Depending on your picture and profile, your milage will vary with that.
And that brings me to a dude’s profile in general. Sorry to all the ladies here, but to be frank, a woman — because she has to be so discerning — will scour your profile (if your picture piques her interest) — and find SOMETHING to bust you on. Whether it’s a picture she DOESN’T like, or whether you said one little thing in your profile that gives her second thoughts — and thusly, she closes your tab and never looks at you again.
I think part of the problem is that a lot of us guys has the tendency to say waaaaay too much in our profiles. We think by spelling out our entire lives on a page will increase the likelihood for a woman to see what you’re all about and then she’ll say, “hey, we are so perfect for each other! I better message him right away!” The fact of the matter is this: women need some mystery in the men she’s genuinely interested in. In fact, it’s the mystery that plays a big part in the attraction. Part of the “fun” for women is unravelling that mystery over time. If you write your life in a book that she can read at her leisure, there’s really no point for her to investigate any further. She’ll have you pegged and figured out right away, and then you’ll be classified as predictable and boring (consciously or unconsciously).
Nice guys think that women are only really attracted to bad boys and jerks. It’s not the bad behavior that attracts women, it’s the fact that they’re doing their own thing, and they don’t let anyone sway them from their mission in life. Not even women. And WHAT they do in life is almost always a mystery (for a lot of pick up artists, there isn’t much under that mystery, either)…
What I’ve found that worked for me (and by “worked”, I mean I get 1 to 3 messages per week without having to actively message women) is that I don’t put down my life’s story. I put down juuuust enough for someone to get a sense of what I’m about. Like being very vague and general about what I do for a living and what drives me. I list a couple of specific things, but certainly not everything. I don’t want to be too vague. But what I do is fluff up my profile with PERSONALITY. While being mostly vague and mysterious, I let a woman get a good sense of what I’d be like in person. I write my profile as if I’m talking, so maybe they can find a voice, instead of being clinical or making lists.
I also only have three pictures in my profile. And to the author of this article’s credit, two of them are indeed smiling genuinely.
The magical formula is essentially having personality (I do this by hooking her with a story), be mostly vague (giving her a sense or taste — if she likes it, she’ll bite), and look like a normal-yet-fun guy in your photos (most women want a normal, nice guy. You don’t have to be on a jet ski or jumping out of an airplane). You HAVE to leave something to her imagination, or she won’t find you interesting. And towards the end, be bold by telling women what you’re looking for. She’ll be more attracted to men who not only know what they want, but have the confidence to say it.
And when I said I don’t actively message women, all of the conversations I have are with women who message me. The ones whom I find physically attractive have basically said that they had more success looking for guys rather than just being reactive and responding to their inboxes. So in a way, the frame is basically reversed. I still set the tone of the interaction. But if I like what I see (she’s already interested in me to have been the one to reach out first), we’ll make a coffee or cocktail date and see if we click in person.
I’ve been on OKCupid for about 6 months or so. I’ve had 5 dates from the site. And the girls were very nice. Still dating one of them.
Aaaaaanyway, for you guys who are having a tough time dating online, try what I suggested in mystifying your profile somewhat. Less is always more. Too much comes off as desperate and needy.
And while I understand everyone’s circumstances are different, I would advise any man to go out and meet women the old fashioned way in addition to dating online. If you have trouble meeting girls in everyday situations, that awkwardness will funnel into your online dating life as well.
There isn’t enough time in the world to reply to all of my messages, even using control V. Sorry. I have a life & can think of other ways to spend my time helping someone or making this world a better place than to send a rejection to the 50-75 messages I get each & everyday. It’s simply unrealistic to expect a girl to send a “no thank you” to that many people daily. Because then you get the ones who don’t get it and then still message you back trying to change your mind. That is the reason I stopped sending rejections, usually the guy just goes off on you or doesn’t get it & starts arguing to keep the conversation going.
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First of all, thank for sharing your view Emma. There are some interesting observations, that go against what some ‘dating experts’ would advise.
Anyway, I actually landed on this site because of the ‘no reply’ issue on dating sites (specifically OKCupid for me), which is apparently a quite important one for both genders 😛 For me personally it is not so much a self-confidence thing, but it really just annoys me when you spend up to half an hour to write an interesting message and then someone doesn’t bother to send a reply. It’s my gut feeling that there is more to it for many women then just getting too many messages. That is, I think that they don’t like to reject. I don’t like to reject myself, but when someone puts a bit of effort into sending a message and I don’t feel the click I will just be clear and tell the girl in one or two lines.
In that respect I find the ‘I get too many messages’ argument a cheap excuse, because it doesn’t really cost that much time. In the end, reading the message and the sender’s profile will cost you a lot more time. Convenience has slipped in. Just as sometimes women may flake. You said something that disqualified you and instead of being honest about it they start to ignore you.
I do agree that it you increase your chances of a reply when you send a second message, or sometimes even a third. Women often like a bit of persistence from a man towards her (as long as it’s not pushy, rather relaxed and funny) and she may have just forgotten due to busy schedules or whatever.
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Good advice, a lot (or all?) of which is just as applicable to women’s profiles too.
As a girl, I strongly disagree with #4. If a guy puts too much effort into his profile, he probably spends too much time on online dating sites. I want guys with a life, not guys who spend substantial amounts of time trying to find a girlfriend.
This is also why I get better results messaging guys rather than waiting for them to message me. The men who are spamming women’s inboxes put too much effort into dating, while the quality guys don’t pay much attention to the site. (Obviously, not every guy who messages women is low quality, but the low quality guys send a lot more messages than the high quality guys, so the average person who messages me will be lower quality than the average person I choose to message.)
Your inbox and your search function will give you two different streams of men, and you shouldn’t feel like you have no time for the search function because you’re too busy cleaning your inbox. Treat them like two separate dating sites, where the second is vastly superior to the first.
I leave you with the Gale-Shapley algorithm, which matches guys with girls in a way that neither party will want to switch to a different partner (who would also want them). While the resulting matching is “stable” (for both parties), the algorithm favors guys over girls, since guys are the ones doing the initial proposing. Obviously real life dating is not done using the Gale-Shapley algorithm, but I think it’s a pretty good metaphor for what’s going on.
Id LOVE to see who ignored your unsolicited email on a dating site! I think much of what you said is very true and relevant. I liked your honest and direct approach to offering this advice. And you’re definitely a thoughtful and well mannered person, but the thing about you getting ignored on dating sites, sorry, not buying that at all. I’m willing to believe it HAS happened, but “often?” Absolutely no way.
Just wanted to add few things:
– Almost all of these points apply to a girl too; and no, none of them are following these except some but then a lot of guys do this too! Problem is they/you are not even expected to do this. It’s pretty much an one sided game. You are overwhelmed by numbers, well, we are overwhelmed by lack of it and the lack of sincere ones – just because you (not saying all of you) except us to be the “perfect catches” while at the same time not trying enough from your own side or simply piling up expectation barriers for us – again and again.
– A message more than just a “Hi”? Don’t you think it’s unfair? Put an effort, go through someone’s profile and form a good 1-2 line message or maybe 3 and then send it. And? Nothing. You don’t even get a response. Well, you could say it wasn’t good enough. Fair deal; then I think a nice balance would be to start with a “Hi” or “Hello” and then if the other person likes the profile (given she bothers to check the profile) then she can also reply with a simple Hi or something and then they can carry it forward. Or just let it go. I mean everybody talks of equality, equal stake-holding and here you are saying “Well, you have got to do this because we girls are less in numbers” – that is mean and absurd and unfair to all the guys – that’s like taking unfair advantage. It’s like your are saying “take it or leave it, we are a monopoly”.
I saw this girl on OKC who had mentioned points like “if you are not drop dead gorgeous or extremely rich you should go this blogpost first and then message me “. You know what, the one picture she had put of hers didn’t even show her face clearly, hell, not even tone or hair colour and there was barely any effort in the profile. Talk about sense of entitlement; and no she is not the only one projecting this stereotype. Too many of them just create a profile for the kicks.
Then there’s OKC ready to tell you “Give them $1 because they don’t have inbox space”. Well, you what all this is for a guy (except maybe for those “lucky” proverbial ones)? A textbook case of a perfect lose-lose game!
> I do hope this doesn’t come off as too cocky or judgmental on my part
Naah, you didn’t. Just a little selfish (and a bit of entitlement) if I may say so 🙂
Never said the situation is fair, in fact I explicitly stated that it’s not ideal. But it is what it is. I can’t change the status quo for you, but I can give some advice based on what I’ve observe. Complaining about it and blaming the women probably isn’t going to get you more responses; the above advice might (at least that’s the intention). I agree that women should follow the advice as well (I personally do), but the fact is that if they get bombarded with messages regardless of how much effort they put it, there’s little motivation to put in more effort. So how about acknowledging the accountability of men who message a girl regardless of her profile content, giving girls less incentive to write more? And how about acknowledging the entitlement of being mad at women who are not interested in you?
The hard truth is that while the most guys receive less messages than the average girl, but I know PLENTY of guys that get responses, and dates via OKC regularly. So if some guys get responses, and you’re not… pointing your finger at the women isn’t going to do anything. Changing your strategy might.
Coming from a guy here, ladies just read this and switch girls with boys and the article is exactly the same.
As a guy, it’s hard to justify a long initial message tailored to a girl’s profile if there’s only a 2% chance of a response (and if you ask me, this figure is high) or 1 out of 50 messages. Dating sites should limit the messages guys can sent to 4 a day. That way, there would not be pressure to send out a lot of messages to compete with other copy-paste guys.
To all the bitter guys in the comments here: go talk to women in real life.
I’ve tried online dating on and off, and it’s always been meh. However, overcoming my shyness and training myself to be more confident/funny in conversations has given me great results. Forget anyone who looks down on “pick up artists” — I learned a TON of useful advice from some online dating coaches. (Look up James Marshall, RSD Tyler, Mark Manson.)
Would you rather be one of the 2 guys she meets on a night out (or on her way to the bookstore)… or one of 50 messages in her inbox this week? Sure the tips in this article can maaaybe get 10% of your messages responded to instead of 2%, but it’s way easier to stand out in real life. And the dates are much better, I guess women are more impressed when you meet in real life.
Oh yeah, but there is still embarrassing rejections, mean girls, jealous friends, etc. Such is life lol.
I loved this article. Really pointed out to me a few things I’m doing wrong and some I’m doing right. It’s definitely true that my pictures suck and I look too serious, when actually I’m not at all. Your point about marketing yourself is really what I need to work on. That and maybe going through what I say in my profile too. You made me realize that I say a lot of nice things describing myself that are true and would hopefully get the interest of a woman that was looking for that, but I don’t really show it in how I say it. So my profile probably comes off too dry and that equals ‘no fun”.
Thanks again. Your article really helped me rethink this whole online dating adventure.
Thank you for the positive feedback! Glad you enjoyed reading, and good luck out there!
Great, thoughtful advice, I appreciate it. I also really like the comments, they add a lot of perspective to the article. My own experience on OKC so far is that it is just far too time-consuming and psychologically draining for a man to use it as a way to find somebody, but great to hear other perspectives. Although frustrating, I feel like I learned a bit about myself psychologically from the experience.
Really great read! I used to join dating websites because I was just too busy, now I do it because I don’t go out often and it’s hard to meet somebody sitting at home…..unless I’m online dating. I felt like I definitely could relate to all of what you were saying. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who thinks so. I thought i was being picky, stuck up and such, but you summed it up perfectly. I find myself a decent person and will talk to guys when they come up and spark conversation, but it makes it difficult to do with online dating. Anyway, thank you! 😀
Thank you for the comment abut girls in photos. I didn’t have many pictures in the beginning. And knew I needed a group shot. I just deleted one that did include my ex and a group of girls. Some of it quite frankly was because I didn’t have any pictures without her and this one had that party shot.
Originally, I thought I should include it because I set some pretty high standards in my description of what I was looking for and thought for whatever reason (well, basically I guess cause I have only done this for 4 weeks so far) that I should show an example of those standards. But now I realize it was just intimidating to anyone who visited and sends the wrong message. I am pretty happy with the rest of my profile but have been reading a lot about how to be interesting/authentic on okcupid. And I think you helped me from turning some people away. I kind of feel bad about the people I messaged earlier and visited now cause I feel I kind of screwed up. I only expect to try this out for 30 days more so I guess I will find out if deleting that photo helps.
So far my experience has been in 4 weeks , refining profile, sent 60 messages to date, have about 15 visits that I know of and 4 return messages that have only gone as far as one cris-cross back and forth and those were with people that had something randomly funny that I made a ridiculous response too because I couldn’t resist.
I realize it is a buyers market for attractive women and I believe they are entitled to shop around and see if I am someone interesting or not. But I try to put my best foot forward to take it to the next level.
Ultimately, this social experiment only has about 30 days more shelf life left for me because I have pretty much contacted the people I am likely to be interested in and will see if I get a response. Sometimes I wish I knew 4 weeks ago what I know now. I am sure I would have been better at putting my best foot forward.
Glad you found it helpful! You might want to hang in there, even if you only revisit the site and look around once every few months – cause remember, new people are always signing up!
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I can certainly see where not having a car, when you live in the city, would be fine, as public transportation is available. Also, what advice would you have for filtering on dating sites, when you are not sure you want to be a parent? I am leaning towards probably not on that. Finally, how would you go about transitioning from a dating site to voice chat? Voice chat is something OkCupid lacks, but I like the idea, because it adds to tones not present in writing.
I believe that if you purchase a premium membership on OKC, you can filter for specific answers to Match questions – and I believe there’s a question regarding wanting to have kids. I haven’t been on the site in a long time though, so I would double check that info before purchasing. Moving to voice chatting is tricky, as many millennials are increasingly uncomfortable with talking over the phone. As silly as it might be, it’s the truth that many are much more comfortable texting. When I was dating, I would most often use text messages to arrange a first date with a person, and we wouldn’t talk over the phone until after the first date. Phone conversations make some people uncomfortable because there’s more pressure on you to hold the conversation, whereas on a date you can discuss the restaurant, the menu, what’s occurring around you, etc. Once you have a shared experience, a phone call might feel less intimidating. That being said, my sig. other called me soon after I gave him my number, and I was impressed by his effort to connect more personally. So it’s a matter of personal preference, and convenience but you might want to err on the side of caution.
I never thought about a match question about not wanting kids. What I do know though is that on the free site, under Browse Matches, you can select “Doesn’t have kids and doesn’t want any,” but you also must be careful with that, because of how much it limits your dating pool. I have my search set to target women within twenty-five miles of my town. Is that how you set up your search? The amount by which your dating pool is limited is why I reached out to you. I am not sure I would pay for a membership, just to filter on that. I suppose it is quite possible that women could leave the kids section blank, to avoid sounding cold-hearted, or because they could change their minds, if with the right man, so they might select “Might want kids.” I also thought about just talking to people, instead of trying to filter, to find out what the deal is early on.
I never knew that people did not feel comfortable talking on the phone, before organizing the first date. Getting a Google Voice number is something I thought about for OkCupid and other dating sites, so I do not have to be as cautious about my real number, and could remain more anonymous, before the first date. Skype is another option. I can always block the user, if I do not feel comfortable.
Truthfully, I am not a fan of organizing a date, before talking to the person. Since I cannot see pics, I really have no idea who is behind the computer screen or OkCupid/POF apps, or if they are even women. I can get a better idea of what is going on, by talking. Through a voice chat system, I can listen for cues like who is in the background, if anyone. If I heard multiple voices, I might think something was up. I could then get clarification.
great!, thanks for the tips
I thought this was a great article with some really sound advice. As a man, it’s really interesting to hear about women’s experiences with online dating. It’s obviously a flawed system, but I believe it can work for both men and women. I have done online dating for over a decade and met both my former partners online. I had a lot of trouble for a long time with writing messages that no one responded to. But lately I have gained the confidence in myself to not take it personally when someone doesn’t respond and not feel hurt when I don’t hear back. This actually allows me to be more genuine in my messages and just be myself, which as you probably guessed, results in higher response rates. I think the more we beat ourselves up about our low interest/response rate, the worse we will feel about ourselves, and this will affect the tone and content of our messages. When we take the attitude not of having to prove ourselves to women and instead flip it to where we are asking women to prove themselves to us, we become more attractive. I put myself out there, really. I even say stuff that some women I’m sure find offensive or not super attractive. I don’t go out of my way to offend, but if I have an unpopular opinion, I’ll go ahead and share it because I’m trying to separate the wheat from the chaff as well. It also makes me appear more sure of myself. I’m also really detailed in my profile and provide concrete examples (just as is suggested in this article). It’s a basic rule of storytelling: showing rather than telling always results in a more vivid and engaging picture. The simplest rule of all is also the most important: just be yourself! Now that I have taken this approach, I get an average of three or four likes per day and maybe 5 messages a week. I have more dates than I can fit into my schedule currently (1-2 per week), and I am no longer wallowing in the space of feeling sorry for myself. I think people take this stuff too seriously and just need to have fun with it even though I know from experience how frustrating it can be. Just don’t let it affect you in that way, and you will have much better results.
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