Online Dating 101

I must be in the holiday spirit or something, because I gave you my famous Prime Rib recipe and now you are getting a quick user guide to online dating. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!!!

While you can’t control the fact that there are some wackadoos online, there are also plenty of (somewhat) nice and perfectly normal single people using dating sites too. What you write in your profile and the way that you pursue potential dates is the only control you have in determining who you attract.

Your profile

I always say “let fun be your guide” when dating, and writing your profile should be no different. I emphasize fun, because even if your content is 100% positive, if your tone is not somewhat playful you will come across as arrogant or too perfect.  So, don’t take your profile (or yourself) too seriously. Be candid about your life; Include where you grew up, what you do for a living, a few of your hobbies and interests, and a fun piece of “trivia” about yourself.  DO NOT mention anything resentful about your work, family, relationship history, etc.   It’s like an office party… you’re there to have a good time, but you have to keep all of your clothes on!

When describing what attributes you seek in a partner, list no more than 5 preferences. Don’t be too abrasive when writing this section either. You want to avoid saying “Don’t bother writing if…” or labeling with words like “criteria”, “requirements”, or “must-haves”.  In allowing some wiggle room, you will give yourself more options.  In general, children and religion are the only two defining qualities that can’t be negotiated, so be true to yourself when describing your preferences on these subjects. Focus mostly on your relationship goals as opposed to tangible characteristics like a bangin’ bod or a fat bank roll. This way you don’t come across as shallow, narrow-minded,or judgmental.

It’s important to leave some mystery, so be sure to not go into too much detail about your life and who you think you are. Your profile should not be your autobiography, it is the Cliffs Notes version of the person you are today.

Photos

It is imperative that you use photos that give an accurate visual of what you look like currently. Think of it like this: If you show up looking better in person than you do in your photos you will have exceeded the expectations of your date once you meet face to face! You should have at least four photos posted. Be  sure to include one that is a close shot of your face, one full body, and the others can be a silly/playful photo or of you doing something you listed as an interest like hiking or traveling to an exotic place. If you don’t have any recent photos, grab a friend and ask them to snap some of you. In this age of modern technology there are no excuses for grainy bathroom pics!

Joe's profile pic when I spotted him online. How could I resist such a handsome hotdog?

Joe’s profile pic when I spotted him online. How could I resist such a handsome hotdog?

Reaching Out

It all begins with punctuation. Yes, punctuation. When you initiate contact through an online dating site, write as you would in English class. No abbreviations or writing in all caps. No misspelled words either.  For heaven’s sake, do not address them as “hottie”, “sweety”, “baby”, or any other cutesy pet names.

Why is this so important? It shows that you are mature, intelligent, respectful, and thoughtful. The content of your email is crucial as well, and should be reflective of the characteristics stated above.  You can be complementary in your first exchanges, but be sure to compliment something specific about their interests or if they mention a physical trait, you can co-sign. You have to be careful with the compliments you choose in your first exchanges, so do not focus compliments on appearance or anything remotely sexual.  Safe physical attributes are: hair, facial features, and style. Also, comparisons to famous people are very tricky, so avoid them altogether unless they mentioned a specific resemblance. I once told a guy he looked like Farva from Super Troopers. Learn from my mistakes, people!!

Next, look for what the two of you have in common.  The more specific the commonality the better, be it a favorite musician or a place you have both traveled  even better if you reference it in your profile. This is because when you write to someone they will undoubtedly visit your profile to make sure you aren’t a creeper. Highlighting your commonalities can tie in to the most crucial element of initiating contact online, which is….

 Ask questions! This is vital and it takes paying attention to what they share about themselves in their profile. Don’t ask anything too personal about their back ground or relationship goals. Keep it light and on point with something they mentioned about themselves in their profile. For example, if they say that they grew up in Memphis ask what BBQ restaurants are their favorite locally. That will open a dialogue to set up a date…sneeky, huh? In asking questions you are not only being attentive, you also leave the correspondence open ended. When your questions are thoughtful the person will feel compelled to answer you-and that, my friend, is your IN.

With these simple guidelines you are much more inclined to get a response, and if you get a response, you are almost guaranteed a date!

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