In the last couple of months, two friends very close to me have decided to try online dating. I’ve given both of them some advice, from having been in their shoes, and thought that it would be appropriate to visit some of that as my blog approaches its one year anniversary.
Disclaimer: I was NOT SUCCESSFUL at online dating.
Of course, that very much depends on your definition of “success.” If we’re looking at it in the sense that I did or did not find a lasting relationship as a direct result of online dating, I was unsuccessful. I did, however, go on multiple dates with men from a couple of different sites, and then evaluated the relationship potential of those men.
Would I classify myself as an expert? No.
Did I enjoy the experience and end it feeling more empowered and self-aware than when I started? YES.
Though I’ll address my comments primarily to women, they really apply to both genders. Sit back, pull up a chair, and let Momma Brooke tell you how it’s done.
In no particular order:
Post a lot of pictures– Men (and women to a lesser extent) are visual creatures. If they can’t get a good impression of what you look like, most of them will assume you’re a “butterface” and move on. BE VAIN. You know you’re hot, you know what pictures of you are attractive, use them. Use at least one as your “main” image, and scatter some others throughout your pics. It’s awesome to show pictures of you skiing a tough trail, rock climbing, or just being goofy, but if you’re bundled up in outdoor gear or making an odd face, it may not spark someone’s interest in chemistry. I’m not saying post a pic of yourself that’s worthy of Paris Hilton, keep it classy.
~Post multiple pictures in which you are holding gargantuan drinks or clearly intoxicated. Not such a turn-on for people that are taking this seriously (and if you’re online dating, chances are you ARE taking it seriously)
~Post pictures of yourself hanging on people of the gender you’re seeking to date without clarifying that it’s “my cousin” or “my brother.”
~Post pictures of yourself in which an Ex has clearly been cropped out. Dude. We live in the age of digital cameras and camera phones. Have a friend snap a new pic before you recycle one.
Ask for what you want – No, really. When asked what you’re “searching for,” be ready with an honest answer. If you want a serious relationship that leads to marriage, say exactly that. Don’t say “I want to have some fun,” unless you truly just want someone to hang out/hook up with. If you are only drawn to Lutheran post-grads who read a lot of science fiction, post that. Who cares what others think? They can think you’re a jerk, but you’re not interested in dating them anyway.
Don’t be afraid to be blunt– My favorite part of my profile went as follows: “Do not give me your number, I will not use it. Ask for mine. Do not ask me out via text message, you will not get a response.” Just because we now have countless ways to be in communication with potential dates doesn’t mean that we should use them all. If a date is serious about you and respectful, he will call. Even a more playful “I don’t call boys” will suffice to get your point across.
Hold people accountable – Men can be STUPID. Some of them are single for a good reason- they have no idea of the appropriate way to address a woman. If you happen to get a message from someone to the extent of “wanna bone?” Don’t hesitate. Fire back and tell them that’s rude and immature, and not to waste your time. You have NOTHING TO LOSE by being honest. (You could just ignore them, but how much fun is that?)
Make sure you’re on the same page– Most sites have it posted whether a guy is interested in marriage, children, etc. Take these answers seriously. Just like you, these men have no reason to lie. If you definitely want children, don’t waste your time communicating with someone who “isn’t sure.” They might change their mind, sure… but in how long?
Broaden your search– Go for someone that might not be your “type.” This does not mean SETTLE. Chemistry is important. If you absolutely can’t see yourself knocking boots with a dude with curly hair, don’t force it. But even the most attractive man can be a turnoff if he’s a total Republican a jerk. And fugly guys can be assholes too. If someone appears to be the full package, but there isn’t a “spark” with an online profile, don’t be discouraged. You never know what a phone call/date will be like.
Switch Services – If you’re not getting the quantity or quality of results that you’re hoping for, don’t be afraid to try a new service. I had a lot of luck with Match.com, but found it very time-consuming. If I was paying for the service, I wanted them to do some of the work for me. I switched to eHarmony for that reason. Make the experience work for you in every way possible.
Read “He’s Just Not That Into You”. – Wait, what? What does that have to do with online dating? While I wouldn’t say it was a hard/fast Bible, it was a very useful reality check. I first read it back in 2006 after college, and whether it was humor, the writer’s tone, or the fact that it’s JUST PLAIN COMMON SENSE, it clicked with me. Basic premise: Everything that we as women are intelligent to think of, men are intelligent enough to think of too. If they’re not doing it? They don’t want to.
It’s NOT about getting dates– Yes, you read that right. Even at when I wasn’t interested in dating anyone new, checking out my profile was always a positive thing. When you’re single older than a lot of your friends, or not having luck dating someone in your area, it’s a very isolating thing. You feel that “there’s nobody out there for you”, or that the “good guys are all taken.” Your dating profile full of potential matches proves otherwise. There are a lot of single men out there that are looking for some type of relationship with a woman. When I was SO frustrated at living in CowTown, PA, I was reminded that there ARE single guys out there. Just that was enough to snap me out of feeling sorry for myself. I’m not too proud to admit that I indulged in that at times.
Best of luck to anyone out there (my lovely girls included) who is tired of waiting for life to happen and ready to take the next pro-active step. If you have any tips to add, feel free to leave them in the comments. Come on, I’m not the only one to try this and survive, right??