Online Dating Guide: What to (and What Not to) Do

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Finding your potential partner no longer just involves running into someone in person, whether it be at a bar, bookstore, or a random place on the street. Nowadays, snagging your soulmate also involves mastering the art of online dating.

Online dating sites promise concise algorithms to match you up with your potential mate. If you’re considering getting online because the real-world dating scene is brutal (because it is), use online dating as just another way to meet women, in addition to whatever else you’re doing. Do realize though, that the e-fishing pond is more competitive than ever; on most sites, men outnumber women. Match.com reports its guy-girl ratio to be 60:40.

Gentlemen, you need this guide. “Any guy who’s complaining about being single, and who are this late date does not have an online profile as part if his diversified dating portfolio, should stop complaining,” says Lynn Harris, a journalist who helps online daters with their profiles at personalstrainer.com. “Having a profile online is like having another credit card in your wallet; it’s there as a backup.”

Despite the disproportionate guy-girl ratio many dating sites have, it’s easy to make yourself stand out from the rest. Here is your Cheat Sheet Guide to online dating. Refer back to it as often as you need to:

Let’s face it

Take time to select the perfect profile picture — it’s the first thing people see. Step one: make sure you have a photo. Women will not respond to messages without photos; it’s just not a good look. It makes women suspicious and makes it seem like you have something to hide. Profiles with photos get up to 10 times more responses than those without, according to Match.com. Make sure the photo is taken up close and is in focus. DO NOT wear sunglasses or a hat. Smile too, damn it.

Also, don’t put up vanity pictures, i.e. ones with your shirts off or a picture that clearly indicates that you’re showing off. Women are not as visual as men are; a shirtless man photo does not equal hot, it equals not hot and please stop it. Believe it or not, modesty goes a long way.

The Power of the good word

Beer Pub, couple, date

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Do not, I repeat, do not use cliches in your profile. Being a “people person” is not going to work, nor will “liking long walks on the beach at night” — which is actually a little creepy if we just met, why at night? Pin point things about you that are unique. Be specific and descriptive (but don’t write a novel) because being specific is memorable. If you’re funny, don’t say you’re funny — show it in your profile. Don’t forget, you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the overcrowded ratio of men. Also remember to always be honest and check for spelling errors on your profile — it shows you care.

Pick carefully

It is absolutely OK to be picky about the women you meet online. When you go after a woman you’re truly interested in, not several random women, you’re more likely to get her, as you’re more likely to seem genuine and unique. As an article in Men’s Health points out, when you start e-dating, there’s an eBay effect: you want everything you see. Relax, though, it’s best to focus on just one. If you begin messaging all the women you see or ones who you find momentarily attractive, you’re apt to send generic messages, and guess what? They won’t respond.

Trish McDermott, one of the founding team members of Match.com, in which there are 15 million members says that “Women are actually quite sophisticated online daters today.”

“They know when they’re getting spammed — when a guy is just playing the numbers game.”

Message that you care

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Winkies are for wusses and men who don’t know what else to say to get a woman’s attention. Send an actual email and reference something in the woman’s profile; you can make a connection that way. A compliment couldn’t hurt — something like, “Of all the profiles I looked at, yours stood out the most.” Rule of thumb: If you show genuine interest, you’ll grab her attention.

Ask her out

If you’ve been emailing a woman several times, it’s a safe bet to ask her out for coffee or a drink — or even her phone number! Carpe diem gentleman — if you wait too long to ask her out, she might lose interest or start building expectations about you that will build, and build, and never be met, mostly because it would be impossible to at that point. The fantasy becomes too much. Once you ask her out and get to know her, let her take the lead in revealing information. We’re all a little bit weirded out at first when we meet with someone we met online.

Extras

Before going public with your profile on whichever site you choose, if you can, try and ask a lady-friend — maybe someone similar to who you would like to date or someone who you trust — if your profile looks good and is up to speed with the competition. Would she want to date you? Hmm. Happy fishing, folks.

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