If you wanted to find a date 25 years ago, you would actually have to leave your house, go to a singles bar, and hope that someone came up and talked to you. But today, that's not necessary! The popularity of online dating has simplified -- but also complicated -- the dating process. While it might be fun to go "shopping" for a potential date while sitting in your jammies at home, there are many things that people do wrong.
Not only do I teach about relationships, I have also studied online dating for a long time -- both on a personal and professional level. So these tips are based on my own research as well as the studies done by others.
Here are 10 online dating tips that you probably didn't even think about:
1. Don't use selfies.
I know that we live in a "selfie-crazed" world. Heck, the invention of the selfie-stick says it all. So why not use one in your online dating profile, right? Because selfies are likely to send a negative message. Maybe they'll think, "Don't they have a friend that could take a picture of them?" or "Wow, they sure like looking in the mirror a lot -- they might be a narcissist." The photos should be tasteful, respectful, and positive. Don't frown, scrowl, or take the photo from a bad angle either.
2. Don't have pictures of things (or people) other than yourself.
Ok, so you love your cat, your car, your house, the sunset behind your house, and the fish you caught last weekend. That's sweet. But you don't need to put pictures like that in your profile. Is someone going to date your car, or are they going to date YOU? Enough said.
3. Don't use only headshots of your face.
Have some full-body photos too. Why? Because let's face it -- people want to know what you look like! And that means ALL of you. I know it's difficult if you are not comfortable with your body. But wouldn't you rather have your date say, "Wow! You look better in person!" (or at least the same) rather that "OMG... where is the nearest door so I can make my escape... where did THIS person come from?" Yeah, I thought so.
4. Don't say "I hate talking about myself, so just ask me."
That says "I'm lazy" or "I don't like myself" or "You need to do all the work in this relationship." Sure, many people don't like writing about themselves. I can be very challenging! But you have to do it in an online dating profile. And write something meaningful and representative of who you are. Don't just say, "I'm laid-back and I like long walks on the beach." Come on, this is your only shot to make a good first impression! Put your best self forward.
5. Do a background check on someone before you get too involved.
Just because you had an amazing first date doesn't mean that he's a keeper. A lot of people are great "interviewers." In other words, they put their best, charming self forward on the first few dates, but that's not who they really are. The world is filled with scammers, and tons of poor innocent people who have been screwed over by them. So before you get too deep, I would recommend doing a background check on them to make sure there are no red flags associated with them. There are some good guides out there to fully understand what this entails.
6. Do be polite and respond to every email.
Every online dater has been blown off. And how does it feel? How does it feel when someone decides that you are not even worth emailing back? Not good, that's for sure. And that's not nice to make someone feel worthless. So if you're not interested in a person, at least say something like, "Thanks you seem like a really nice guy, but I don't think we would be a love match. But I wish you the best of luck on your journey to find love!" Research shows that while people don't like being rejected - they feel better being treated with respect.
7. Don't write only one or two sentences.
I suppose this is better than saying nothing or saying that you hate talking about yourself. However, one or two sentences do not tell your potential date diddly squat about you! And it also has the potential to give the same messages as I mentioned in point #4.
8. Do use your initial email exchanges as a "mini first date."
Keep in mind, you are both "interviewing" each other! Keep an eye out for what the person says (or doesn't say). If they are not asking anything about you, that could say they are selfish. If they don't say anything about themselves, that means they are probably lying and hiding something. Be very observant during the email exchange - it can tell you a lot about a person.
9. Do look for "Red Flags" in people's profiles.
Does he mention everyone in his family, but not his mother? Maybe he has "mother issues." Does she go on a rant about dishonest men and how she won't tolerate it? Trust issues. Does he demand to see a photo and chastise anyone who doesn't have one? Could be shallow and rude. Does he have photos of his big house, BMW, and yacht? Might be materialistic. It's important to look for red flags because they speak volumes.
10. Don't stretch the truth (or flat-out lie).
According to research, 81 percent of people lie in one form or another in their online dating profiles. Women tend to lie about their weight (by saying they are about 8.2 pounds lighter), and men tend to lie about their height and income. But as I said in point #3, do you really want your potential date to find out that you are an "online dating profile liar"? The truth will come out eventually. So keep that in mind, not only when you write your profile, but also when you read your potential dates' profiles. There's an 81 percent chance they could be lying... or at least stretching the truth.
We all want to find our soul mate, and online dating can be a great way to do it. However, if you don't follow these tips, your chances of finding Mr. or Ms. Right will be greatly diminished. If you follow this advice, you will not be sorry!