Recently, I was asked to speak at the Santa Monica Public Library at an event and book signing about online dating. I was invited by Mark Miller, author of 500 Dates to chime in on the female perspective of dating in the digital age.
It appeared that 80 percent of the audience had tried online dating, yet they were filled with pain and frustrated with the process. Something wasn't working and they were all-ears to hear how to improve their profiles to find a meaningful relationship.
Here are seven simple tips to change your profile right away to help you fill your date card by the weekend.
1. Create a catchy screen name.
Jane12345 isn't so catchy. Neither is your name and year you were born. Shirley90210 or a bunch of numbers that don't mean anything won't catch his eye. The key to creating a successful profile name is to be descriptive. When I created my first Internet dating screen name years ago, I selected "Pianobaby," because I had a baby grand piano and enjoyed playing. Using this screen name caught eyes of men who liked music. More often-than-not, they'd ask why I chose the name, if I went to music school and what my favorite song was to play on the piano. By creating this fun and flirty screen name, it made it easy for someone to start a conversation.
If you love yoga, make sure you put it in your profile. It will send the message that you take care of your mind and body and perhaps someone will ask you to join them at the yoga studio for a date.
2. Post great photos.
I've found from working on profiles for the past two decades, that the magic number of photos to post in your profile is three to five. If you post anything less, a potential date might think you're not serious or might be hiding something. Anything more, I recommend posting it on your social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. By posting a handful of photos, it's enough to pique his or her curiosity, while leaving them wanting to see more of you.
Of these photos, the primary shot needs to be a close-up, smiling, wearing an outfit with a solid color such as red for women and blue for men. Red is my favorite color for women as it's the color of passion, love and romance. It also happens to be the color of the stop sign, so a man's natural instinct will be to stop to see your profile photo.
Which photos should you ditch on your dating profile? Selfies don't make you look your best and posting a photo with your puppy dog will make him or her assume you sleep in bed with your four-legged friend. What will they think? They'll assume there's no room for them in your life.
Are you thinking of posting group party shots? If so, think again. A man has a split second to decide whether to write you or take a pass. If he can't figure out immediately which girl he'd be going on a date with, he'll move to the next profile.
Remember to toss away the sunglasses shots so it doesn't appear that you're hiding anything and please don't wear a bikini unless you're looking for a hook-up. It looks like lingerie with a different material.
3. Leave the novel at home.
Online dating profiles should be brief. My recommended word count its 125 - 150 words on a traditional dating profile and two sentences on a mobile app. Viewing a long-winded profile is painful for someone to consider. You'll have plenty of time to send emails back and forth and talk about interesting things on your dates.
4. Leave the drama behind.
I know you realize that talking about your ex is an off-limits subject, but for some reason it becomes the default conversation topic. If there's a box to check to state that you're divorced, that should be enough. There's no need to say that your divorce was just final after three years of divorce court, that your ex doesn't support you, or that he's a deadbeat dad.
If you've had a recent breakup, don't mention it. It's time to start fresh with a smile on your face and please don't talk about money problems. Believe it or not, many do.
5. Don't be a Debbie or Donnie Downer.
Some singles take the time make long lists of what they don't want in a partner. I've seen comments such as, "Don't contact me if you don't have a great job, live more that 20 miles away, don't want children or if you have any addictions." The only words your potential date will see is, "Don't contact me." If you do, I promise you, they won't.
6. Do ask questions.
One of my best pieces of advice is to ask a question in your profile. This gives a potential date the icebreaker on how to write to you. It's simple but it works. You ask, they answer.
Here's an example:
I like to hiking and on weekends. I hike Paseo Miramar in the Santa Monica mountains, but haven't hiked Franklin Canyon yet. What about you?
If he or she is into hiking, you just might get a hiking date put on the calendar.
7. Don't become an online dating addict.
When you meet someone online and click offline, take a chance and take your profile down in good faith to see where the relationship will go. After a few dates, you should be able to determine if you'd like to consider a relationship with him or her. Don't sneak around with a hidden profile because one of his or her friends will bust you, and you won't be happy if you get dumped by someone you really liked. Remember the reason you went online was to meet someone offline. While it's tempting to keep checking your email at night to see who else is interested in you, you might not be giving that special someone the chance you both deserve.
At the end of the digital day, the need to love and be loved is so powerful and universal. Online dating and mobile dating apps help you meet more people more efficiently. Isn't it time for you to ride off into the sunset?