its set of dos
which you need to learn
e.g. what to write in your profile, your emails, what kind of photo to
to give out your phone number, etc.
Same as learning a new set of social customs in a new setting, whether you
start out to night clubs or make a move to a new city or country, the
online dating board also has its own set
of rules. And the faster you learn them, the faster you start reaping the
fruits-meeting lots of new people, going out a lot, and having a good
Even in online
dating men are initiating the first contact more often than women.
This is probably because male profiles outnumber female profiles
(data from Amigos.com). However, for both parties, romance
is still a numbers game.
What that means is: get
ready to contact a large number of people. People are inundated with virtual
kisses and icebreakers, so
it's your profile and what your
write about yourself which will set you apart. After
creating an informative and catchy Ad, you can generally start out by
sending a simple message to the people you are
interested in: "Hello, I am xxxx, I liked your profile,
and would like to get to know you better. Please
write me at *your-email-address* if you are
interested." This email is an invitation for the
other person to come and have a look at your profile - the profile should
do the talking. Long introductory, tailor-made emails are a waste of time
- because people are getting lots of emails and will often ignore a
long-winded email. You need to send a simple
"first contact" email out to a lot of people, and soon you
should get some good responses to your Ad.
Do read the Ads of the
people you write to carefully before writing to them,
you might be just wasting your time (e.g. religious
preferences & smoking habits).
The importance of clear and
informative ads cannot be overstressed. Not to
mention that if you just say "I am looking around to meet some
people, was just curious.." a lot of bored people from Germany
will be writing you! In general, the more information you put in your Ad,
the less the number of useless responses you receive. An intelligent
person should spend a good amount of time looking at
other people's Ads, because selecting dates or a partner is probably
the most important thing we do in our adult life. With that, keep
in mind that even after you have started meeting people, you may not get
"hooked up" right away. Give it a few months at least before you
get some results. Communication should evolve from email exchanges to
telephone conversations (for security purposes, just to avoid the offhand
lunatic out there, make sure you have the other party's number), and then
to a personal meeting for a lunch or coffee-first
dates always in the daytime, less stressful for both parties. After
that, it is all genes and chemistry. Let's face it-love is hard to find.
But at least if you are going out with a lot of people, meeting new people
quickly and efficiently (a key advantage of online dating), you can expect
to find someone to fall in love with faster.
Don't be shy in your
profile, or try to be overly politically correct. If you think you don't
want to go out with people with kids, say so. If you have some particular
preferences for physical attributes, height, body
weight, etc. do mention them clearly. You save
yourself unnecessary communication, and so does the other party.
is a bad idea to be negative, whine, or complain, in your
ad, even if you've had some
unsatisfying dating experiences or relationships in
the recent past. In such cases, maybe it is
better to be single and just smell the roses for some time, until
you feel really ready to meet new people again. However, mentioning
negative details in a matter-of-fact way is fine, e.g. women saying
"Men who are not looking for a committed relationship please do not
Use the screens or the
searches available on your dating site wisely (How
to select a dating site?). You can screen for people living
close to you, choose physical attributes, religious preferences, smoking
and drinking habits, and many more categories. Yahoo even has a
screen based on sense of humor
type (nothing funny about that...). Learning to use these
screens will save you considerable time-by narrowing down the pool of
potential candidates quickly.
It is surprising how many
people are still shy about putting their photo online. They are scared
that the guy they work with, or another acquaintance, will discover their
profile and somehow that makes them uncomfortable. Well, guess what:
those other people are the ones who are behind the curve. Online dating is
here to stay, and you must be completely comfortable with putting a
profile on the Net, with photos, to look for a partner. This WILL BE (it
may already be) the most popular way to meet new people.
By being upfront about putting your personal ad
and your photo on a dating site, you are
embracing the future.
The primary photo is a very
important part of your personal ad.
the photo which shows in search results and when people are casually
browsing online dating ads. If this is bad, people won't even
bother to click and look at your profile!
The ideal primary photo
is a head shot, or about a quarter of your body height, so you can see the
shoulders. It should be bright, your face
clearly visible (brightness can be adjusted by
software), with you looking straight into the camera.
If the site allows you to put more than one photo, and you have
good photos, go ahead and upload them all. For the secondary photos,
photos with friends and family are a good idea because they give
the impression that you are a normal social human
being. This is specially true if you have kids -
putting a secondary photo with your kids gives an excellent first
Avoid using sunglasses in
photos. Do not be provocative or too revealing
(most sites will not even accept such a photo).
out after the responses
you have some responses from people who you would like to know more, you
start the second screening process. Remember that it is likely that the
people writing to you are also writing to other people. Therefore, some
email exchanges will just cut off very abruptly; this is a part of online
dating which people find very difficult to digest at first, but it
happens in real life too. It is just that in real life maybe we get clued
in a little better when someone doesnít want to communicate with us
anymore, plus they are more polite-they will say they are busy with work
so they wonít be able to go out, etc. Get ready for some rude
disappearances on the Internet-but donít take them personally. It is
just people optimizing their time and spending their time communicating
with people who they feel they will get along the best with. And if you
have lots of responses, as I did, you will sometimes act the same way-even
if you are not a rude or impolite person in real life.
you have started to get to know someone interesting, normally with you
exchanging emails with them, you may want to keep an eye out to see if
they have been lying. A recent study found that men are most likely to lie
about whether they are in a relationship, and women about their physical
attributes and how they look. So ask for more photos, and ask directly if
they are single or in a relationship.
section is more for the women than the men.
chances of running into an offhand lunatic are not any higher online than
they are in real life, but some precautions are new and apply only online.
These are just safety measures, and should not in any way
make you paranoid or less excited about finding love online. Think
of it as just putting on your seat-belt in your car-thatís all.
exchange phone numbers. When you give him yours, take his. Call him
at the number to confirm that he has not lied.
you do decide to meet a guy, it is absolutely important that you have the first meeting in a
public place. Do not meet a man in a hotel if he is from out of town. Do
not have him pick you up at your house; you donít want him to know where
you live. Before going on the first date, make sure you inform some
friend, roommate or family member that you are going to meet Mr. XXX
finally, after having known him through the Internet.
1. Meet in the day time,
in a public place, for a coffee (e.g. Starbucks). Do not meet for a drink
in the evening in a bar etc. for the first date.
2. If that is not enough,
consider informing a friend that you are going on this date and the name
of the guy and his phone number. When you do meet him tell him that you
did this-this will deter him from doing something silly-knowing that
someone already knows that you are seeing him. If you have a cell make a
phone call telling your friend that you are finally with the guy who you
wanted to see.
3. If even this makes you
uncomfortable, show up with a female friend at the place where you fix the
date with your guy. Make the guy meet your friend, say hello to her-and
then ask your friend to leave for an hour or so (go shopping, etc.).
Go meet them-the first date!
Your goal in online
dating contacts, emails, instant messages, and phone calls should be to
arrange a face-face meeting as soon as possible. That's when the fun
really starts-everything before that is just a preparation for the first real
life meeting (date). So give your your phone number fast, ask them to call
you, etc. with that single goal in mind-I want to meet this person in real
life as soon as possible. Of course during the time when you are
conversing with them with emails, instant messages and photo calls-you
should feel that the other person is a good fit for you and has not said
anything completely strange. But the take home message here is to arrange
the first date fast after you feel that there's nothing really wrong with
the other person-and avoid falling into the trap of trying to get too much
in information just from emails, instant messages and phone conversations.
They are a limited way of getting to know someone-and the real test is the
face to face meeting.
on dating sites
The most important parts of your online
dating 'experience' are (in that order of importance)
1. Your online dating profile-who you are
and what you are looking for.
2. Your primary photo (your primary photo
is the most important photo-that's the one which shows in online dating
search results when people are browsing profiles online)
3. Your headline
4. Your handle/nickname/username
The only thing to remember in choosing a
username is not to be too crazy-don't choose psychofemale or lovesex or
something like that-all else is completely fine and you should do well. I
highly recommend highly neutral usernames e.g. NewYorker3443, because then
people are more likely to read your headline, your profile and see your
photo-which is what you really want. Don't distract them by a weird
username is my strong recommendation.
Relationships-they can work!
There is a common myth in the world,
especially the online dating world, that long distance relationships don't
work. People believe often times that the long distance is the CAUSE of
the relationship failing. This is not true. Consider this:
-Plenty of pilots, flight attendants,
military personnel, who are traveling constantly and have sometimes fairly
long separations from their significant others, have really nice and
-There are a lot of divorces and
separations in small towns between people who have lived in these small
towns all their lives.
From these two one can conclude logically
that distances are not a major factor in relationships (not the
make-or-break the relationship factor).
Therefore, in online dating, don't rule out
matches which are not in your town. Of course you shouldn't be writing to
Latvian women if you have no chance of being in Latvia, but the idea
is-keep an open mind, and do not rule out long distance matches. If you
are living 200km from a big city which has a lot of singles and
online dating profiles-do contact these people, make a trip once every few
weeks to set up some dates, and meet these people! Don't be disheartened
Dealing with last minute
cancellations and people standing you up
If you are in a big city, you will
certainly have some unpleasant last minute cancellations and sometimes
even people not even showing up on the first date. This problem is unique
to big cities because people are going out on a lot of dates every week in
big cities, and are likely to change their mind at the last moment more in
a city than in a small town where dating frequency per week is lower. It
is also because the "accountability" factor in big cities is lower-you are
not likely to run into the person you canceled the date with. However,
because this is one of the most unpleasant experiences for online daters,
some tips are in order.
-Make sure you call your potential date a
few hours (lets say 6 hours in advance) to see if they are still meeting
you at the appointed hour. You can also text message them on the cell
phone to confirm this.
-Make another phone call 15-30 minutes
before you start out to meet them, just to make sure they are as keen to
meet you as you are to meet them. This is a MUST DO-without this don't
risk going out of your way to meet someone. I have seen many people get
stood up cold because they didn't do this. If your potential date doesn't
answer your phone call, do not go. There are exceptions of course (e.g. if
they don't have a cell phone, or have already informed you that they won't
be available for receiving a phone call because they are at work, etc.)
but in 99% of cases you must give them a last minute call to see
everything is set for you first date.
-It is also advisable to set up your date
near to where you live or work-not where they ask you to go. In case you
are stood-up at least you waste less time.
-Good behavior by you encourages good
behavior by others, and you should likewise never cancel a date if there
are less than 24 hours left. Do go and show up, even if it is for a 20
minutes coffee. Respect your commitments, and much like obeying traffic
laws, this will help you and everyone else involved with online dating.
Big cities, more possibilities
If you are in a small town your
possibilities are lesser than in big cities-there simply are not that many
single people online. Much like in a business-your market size is much
larger in big cities than in small towns. But don't be disheartened, there
are a couple of good ways to get around this problem (and this is a very
serious problem if the town you live in is really small).
Make your "place where you live" in your
dating profile the largest big city/metropolis close to you. This is
not the same as you looking in that city for dates-you should declare that
you actually live in the big city. Why? Because people in big cities
won't even respond to profiles from other towns and cities-they have
plenty of profiles to look at in their city! You want to show up in search
results and casual browsing in the big city, and that means you should put
your "place you live" in your dating profile as the big city itself. Your
responses rates will be multiplied many times over if you declare the
place you live to be the biggest city close to you.
If you are not close to a big
city-hopefully there is a big city which you visit often, or can visit
often (have friends, family), make that city your "place where you live".
Then in your profile declare that you live in two places-do not say that
you are visitor to the big city! Just say that you spend time in both
places, because of your work, or just because you like the small town air
for relaxing. But in the standard box question of "where you live" only
the big city must show. There was a time when I lived in a small city and
went to a bit city for 5 days every month almost exclusively for online
dating! It worked like magic!
You can still contact all the people you
want in the small town you live if you declare in your profile that you
live in two places-one the big city, and the other the small town where
you actually live. The people in the small town you live probably are not
getting too many responses to their ad-and will respond to you anyway, if
they see in your profile that you spend time there. You can also clear
this up with them in the first contact email you send them-tell them that
you actually live in their town and spend quite a bit of time there, but
live in the big city as well for work or family or friends, for example.
After finding food and shelter, finding
love and a good partner should be the right priority (higher than a good
job or good salary) and you may even consider moving to a big city simply
for online dating, to improve your odds of meeting singles. This may lead
to a substantial change in your lifestyle and even a drop in your living
standard, but if finding love and a good partner are big priorities for
you, moving to a big city for a few years, primarily for online dating, is
a very smart thing to do.