Match/ EHarmony/ Okcupid/Christian Mingles???…
The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating: A Female’s Perspective
Remember when online dating used to be taboo and you were either ugly, desperate or both? Yeah…not anymore. The online dating phenomena has picked up immensely. I remember sitting down one night and watching some sad crappy movie on Lifetime wondering why once again I was dateless for the weekend. My mother who I just rounded up a 3 hour conversation was headed to work and here I was on a Friday night, eating chips and watching t.v. It was rather depressing and just plain sad.
I recently moved to the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) area and did not know anyone other than some friends. Were their cute guys around me…of course but I was not one to ever make a first move. I had started a new job and did not know where to go or had friends to set me up on dates. I had gone to a couple happy hour events and was not impressed by how certain males had approached me.
When I did go out, I was not particularly a fan of the bar pick up approach. I was never a fan of kissing random guys in the club, neither was I a fan of being groped on by any Dick and Harry. I was slowly losing the excitement of moving into a new city. With no prospects in sight, the Match commercials looked way too tempting.
A couple of months down the line, I overheard some of my coworkers talking about their experiences with online dating. Not wanting to be noisy, I joined the conversation and was shocked at how some of them actually enjoyed going out on dates and actually meeting some great guys. Not sure if I wanted to make that drastic leap, I contemplated over it for awhile and decided to ask my bestie for advice.
What was I fearing? I mean what could be worse…getting rejected online? Ehh….I wasn’t too worried about that, I was more concerned with the negative perception that online dating had and I didn’t want any part of that stigma.
Funny enough, I decided to take a leap and created a profile on OKCupid, another increasingly popular FREE online dating website. Within minutes I had created my profile and all I had to do was step back and wait. It didn’t take long bvisitors and messages. To be honest, it was quite an overload. I had fun viewing my visitors and I was pretty impressed with some and downright scared with others.
I had guys from every ethnicity, every age and profession who either was interested in something on my page or my pictures and decided to leave a message. To be honest some of the messages were not that great and didn’t seem like effort was made but for the ones who took the time to read and come up with clever, witty or informative messages I definitely gave them a second look. Not every experience that you have with someone online would be good or even great, trust me, but not all will be bad. You can actually make a connection with someone on there who you may have never met before.
Now with anything in life comes rules and regulations, online dating is one of them. From a female perspective I will give you the Do’s and the Dont’s. A friend of mine who is male, will give you fellas some great tips on what to do and what NOT to do.
Yes, it can be intimidating and may be daunting but it can also be interesting and fun and hey, you might meet someone that you connect with offline.
All my single ladies now put your hands UP!
Do’s & Dont’s:
- Profile Information: Ok, so you’re cute and your charming and you love to shop and have fun with your girl friends but how do you get that across to a potential match? Just write and be yourself. Having a great command of the English language is great…nothing like effectively getting your message across without coming off as trying too hard to be witty, funny or super intelligent. Please be honest as much as you can. Don’t lie and say you like sports to attract someone when you don’t. Don’t say you enjoy hiking and the outdoors if you prefer shopping and watching romantic comedies. Don’t lie about your career or profession because with time…it will ALL come out. You don’t want to be THAT girl.
- Pictures: Who doesn’t enjoy the duck/smooch face? Ummmm…not guys. To us we think it’s cute and it shows off ummmm our lips?? But for guys that is not an attractive picture even if you are a cute girl, so refrain from posting that one up; leave that one for Facebook or Instagram. Also, post recent photos of yourself. I understand that as women, our weight can sometimes yo-yo but you want to have pictures that reflect what you look like presently. Nothing worse than posting pictures of you a year ago and 10lbs lighter and than meeting the guy and him being completely surprised at the full blown deception that you fed him. Not a good look ladies. Be aware that your online profile is supposed to be reflective of who you are as a person and how you look. Be confident in yourself and your pictures…no need for the deception with cropped or photoshop photos. You don’t want to date a guy who also photoshopped or angled himself in a cute way, now do you?
- Messages: Aaahh yes, good ol messages. What do you do when the guy that you have been eyeing FINALLY leaves you a message. Well, you respond of course but there is a science to it. Actually read the message and respond in a manner that is informative as well as engaging. Please actually read the guy’s’ profile so that you have something to contribute in the conversation. It also shows that you made the effort as well. As much as we ladies hate one-sided conversations, guys don’t like it as well. It takes courage for a guy to send a message…well for some. Now does that mean you have to answer EVERY message you get? NO. Choose to answer the ones you want, just have something worth saying other than some lousy one liner that won’t get you nowhere. Be engaging…who doesn’t like a girl with a witty comeback? Point him in my direction and I would make him a believer.
- Offline Connection: This is the fun part…well for some it is. Once you have reached a state in where you are comfortable meeting this person. Do tell your friends who you are going out with and provide as much information as possible. Do meet in a public and neutral place. You don’t have to go out on expensive date to have fun ladies. The first date is to see if there is some level of connection and attraction. If you are looking to be wined and dined and that doesn’t happen initially than you may need to reconsider why your going out or the guy you chose to take you out. If there is no connection, don’t be rude, just make best of the time spent and chalk it up as a loss. Not every person will be potential.
Here is the fun part…if you do meet someone who gets you going and you thoroughly enjoy hanging out with them, continue to do so. However, be clear with your intentions and make sure that you guys are on the same page. Yes, some people say things and don’t truly mean them but if you are honest with yourself you will be able to let certain people or situations go that are not beneficial to you.
When it comes to sex or anything sexually related…just be SMART. Yes, attraction can be there but because you are still getting to know this person treat them like you will treat any other person. That doesn’t mean that this person is less likely to hurt your feelings, be infected with a STI or have baggage that you are not ready to handle. Act and behave accordingly but just be careful and be guarded.
Most important part is to enjoy yourself and have fun. If you stress and over think you may actually miss out on a good thing. It’s funny to think that you can meet someone off a mode such as the internet and forge a connection with them but if it does happen, don’t take it for granted.
So take your time, get to know them and most importantly have FUN!
A Guy’s Perspective
As a recently turned single guy in a city I recently move to, I decided to try my luck with online dating. I am far from an expert, but after a few months of trying it out, here are my do’s and don’ts of online dating.
- Actually read her profile. This may seem like a simple one, but it’s tempting to just starting clicking and typing away at the first attractive girl you see. It will save you time and money if you do your homework. You and her will only end up being disappointed to find out that she’s into Christian rock and going to church on Sunday, while your cathedral is the parking lot of your favorite NFL stadium.
- Know what you’re looking for and stick to it. Most girls say quite a bit about themselves in their profile. If you like shy girls, look for keywords like “laid back” or “likes to read” or whatever. If you like the outgoing type, looks for words like “fun” or . . . “outgoing.” It sounds simple, and it is. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, there’s a tendency to start drifting away and start making compromises. Just be patient.
- Try to have an interesting opening line but don’t fret over it. The first message is a lot like a cover letter for a job. Your profile is like your resume. The opening line is to get them to look at your profile. Like a cover letter, it may not matter that much for some, and they may look at your profile anyway. So my advice is try to think of something clever/interesting based on what you read about her. For example, if she’s bragging on her profile about how good of a dancer she is, say you don’t believe her and you would show her up. If you can’t think of anything, just say something straightforward like “You seem like my type” or “looks like we have a lot in common” and ask her a question to engage her in a conversation.
- Try to get at least one LOL or hahaha before asking her out. Two things every girl likes – confidence and sense of humor. I’m not a funny guy, straight up. Everyone is capable of getting one LOL or HAHAHA though. Get one, then ask her to meet up for a drink/coffee.
- Go incognito. If you’re on Ok Cupid or any other site that tracks who visits profiles, go incognito. You don’t want girls to see how many times you visit their profile, and it’s not worth the flattery to see who visits your profile. And you’re fooling yourself if you think you can interpret interest level based on who visits your profile or somehow attract a girl by strategically visiting hers. Just forget it.
- Be yourself. I know it’s tempting to become someone else online. Girls will see through it though and it will be a waste of time if you actually meet up.
- Say anything sexual/creepy. Girls know guys like sex. They get it. It’s best left unsaid at this point.
- Get fooled by girls’ pictures. If physical attractiveness is a dealbreaker for you, don’t get fooled. If the girl doesn’t have a full-body photo, she probably doesn’t have a nice body. If her chin is cut off, she probably has a masculine jaw line. Beware of old photos, the skinny girl arm, the leg cross that exaggerates her waist-to-hip ratio. If she’s turned to the side, her face may look better from that angle. For the most part, the picture you see is as hot as she gets. On a typical day, she’s not going to look like that.
- Message too many people. The idea is quality not quantity. Girls will notice if you are copying and pasting some generic message to them. Also, if you know your type and are messaging similar girls, you might end up messaging two girls that know each other. You think I’m kidding, but you’d be surprised.
- Have your shirt off in your profile picture. It’s just crass and sophomoric. You don’t need to see a girl in a bikini to know she has a nice body. It’s the same for guys. If you’re ripped and want to show it, have a v-neck on or something. Cover those nips gentlemen.
- Brag too much. Many guys define their worth by what they achieved. They do this because many girls want a provider. Likewise, it’s probably a good idea to demonstrate your value as a competent male with goals. But be careful not to overdo it. For example, “After graduating summa cum laude from Stanford, I worked for Goldman Sachs as an investment banker, where I became the project lead for multi-million dollar mergers and acquisitions.” If you have that truly impressive background, just say “I went to Stanford (followed by “Go Cardnal!” or something to deflect the prestige a bit) and now work in banking.” They’ll get it that you make money. It’s fine to give a brief history of where you’re from, what school you went to, what you do/have done. Some girls will value this more than others. The idea is to show you are a confident man who has accomplished some cool stuff and has plans to continue on that path. At the same time, you want to balance that with your interests outside of work. Girls still want to have fun with a guy.
The overall message you want to send is that you are confident but not cocky guy who has a sense of humor/likes to have fun. Girls want a guy who has achieved a lot and also has time/money to take them out for a fun night on the town. Finally, you need to be a challenge for them. The chase doesn’t matter in the long-run, but it matters quite a bit in the beginning. Don’t come off as clingy/give away your interest level too easily. Set a high standard for her and make her reach it. You can’t literally say these things in your profile though. The girl needs to interpret your profile/messages and come to that conclusion on her own. I can’t tell you exactly what to say, mostly because I’m not very good at it, but also because it’s an art not a science. As with any art, however, there are a few guiding principles. If you follow these, you’ll do quite well with a bit of practice.