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.