In today’s world everything is done online, including finding your next partner. From eHarmony and Plenty of Fish to Elite Singles, there are sites for every dating style and niche. The challenge can be presenting yourself in an honest yet appealing way, and attracting someone who is looking for the same sort of relationship you are. Too often online dating becomes a portal for one-night stands or awkward first dates that go nowhere. It can take some work to find and attract someone who is looking for the same level of relationship and has similar interests and ethics.
1. Be open-minded
Online dating provides the opportunity to filter and find exactly what you’re looking for. You can narrow it down to someone who lives less than 10 miles away, is five-feet-five-inches tall, and loves to surf. It’s great to know what you want, but when you filter too much you lose out on all the people who have never surfed but live nearby and share your interest in a different hobby.
On top of that, scientists working with Match.com found that the type of person people said they were interested in didn’t match up with the people they actually wanted. Apparently we don’t always know ourselves as much as we think we do. Be open-minded and only filter out things that are deal-breakers for you. It’s important to have something in common with your partner, but you don’t have to be completely aligned on every aspect of life.
2. Use attractive, honest photos
Don’t use that photo from five years ago when you had a full head of hair and were in the best shape of your life. You don’t want to attract people who aren’t interested in you as you are now. Plus, the level of awkwardness that could occur if you show up on the date looking completely different than your profile picture isn’t worth the few extra dates you could potentially get.
According to Christian Rudder with Ok Cupid, men’s online dating photos are more effective when they look away from the camera and don’t smile. In addition, studies show that photos of men with animals, men showing off their muscles, or men doing something interesting performed well. Love your dog? Been working out? Love mountain biking? Post away.
3. Leave some mystery
Don’t make your profile or “about me” information too generic. If you are passionate about baseball, talk about it. It will automatically connect you with fellow fans and will provide interested people with a topic to get the conversation started. That being said, don’t write a novel about yourself. Leave something to be learned. If you lay it all out you are devoid of mystery and there is no reason for a girl to get to know you better.
Provide enough information to pique her interest but not so much that you come off too intense. It’s just like meeting someone at a bar; you want to have a good conversation and share part of yourself but you don’t want to give her your entire life story within the first 15 minutes.
4. Proofread everything
This may sound nitpicky, but there is nothing attractive about spelling and grammar errors. Many people will skip over a guy who doesn’t know how to spell “definitely” or uses the incorrect form of there/their/they’re. You may be a genius, but you’ll come across sloppy and uneducated if you aren’t careful. Spellcheck everything you write and proofread it more than once.
5. Take it offline
Chatting through the dating site or via email is great, but if you’re both interested, don’t wait too long to take it to the next level. Exchange phone numbers, FaceTime, or meet in person. This will ensure that you get to know each other in the “real world” before you get too consumed by each other’s dating profiles and create unrealistic expectations of the relationship. Moving things offline will also quickly weed out the guys or girls who could be stringing you (and several others) along with no intention of taking the relationship to the next level. Make sure you are wary of getting involved in an online relationship that is headed nowhere.
6. Keep realistic expectations
Don’t put too much pressure on the relationship. It’s common for men to feel like they have to find “the one,” which leads to high expectations of the date and puts lots of pressure on the relationship. This is a recipe for disaster. When you’re too anxious and tense, she’ll sense it and most likely bolt, leaving you disappointed. Think of each date as a chance to meet someone new and possibly learn something new. If you hit it off, you can do it again. If not, it’s not the end of the world. Stay calm and don’t set expectations for yourself, for the other person, or for the relationship right away.