Be a Successful Dater!

So, are you single and looking for love?  You are not alone.  There are plenty of single folks out there just like you.  One popular way for single people to meet is using an online dating site.  If you haven't tried it yet, you totally should.  Many new couples meet using sites like OKCupid, Plenty of Fish,, eHarmony, and Chemistry just to name a few.  When I meet a new couple now and they didn't meet online, I am surprised. 

You may ask, "Are there really success stories from these sites?"  There sure are!  In my office, at least 4 married couples met online.   This is in a small office of about 30 people.  Those are pretty decent statistics.  So if you've been looking for love in all the wrong places, maybe now is the time to join an online dating site or two.  I would be more than happy to give you some pointers from someone that has used many of these websites.

Write Your Profile

The first step to successful online dating is writing an awesome profile.  While writing this profile, you want to present yourself in the best way possible.  Think of it as an online resume for dating.  You wouldn't list your worst attributes on your resume, now would you?  No one would hire you.  Therefore, the same applies to meeting someone online.

Make sure to write enough interesting facts about yourself to keep people wanting more.  It is OK to appear quirky or funny in your profile so you stand out.  Just don't get too weird because no one will take you seriously.  Don't joke about being a serial killer or anything like that, because that is a lot of online daters worst nightmare.  For all your viewers know, maybe you are a serial killer.  It is best not to joke about subjects like that at all.

When writing your profile, do check your spelling.  I personally notice if someone is a poor speller and I am not as inclined to approach them.   I don't want to date someone that can't string together a simple sentence either.  You don't have to be the next Shakespeare, but spelling and grammar definitely counts.

Another type of profile that you want to avoid is one that is very brief.  It tells viewers that you really don't want to put the effort into creating a good profile.  When someone sees that, that person might also assume you won't put any effort into the relationship.  So make sure to include some fun facts, interests, and your ideal date.  A little time spent on a great profile means you will get plenty of responses in return.

Smile for the Camera

The next most important aspect to your online profile is posting some nice photos.  When I say post some nice photos, no, I do not mean post photos of a romantic sunset or a cute pic of your cat.  Post some real photos of you!  If you photoshop your photos or put up photos from 1984, it is false advertising.  If you are lucky enough to get a date, your date is going to call you out on that immediately. 

Furthermore, no one likes it when you note in your profile you are a few pounds overweight, and then you post a photo from your thinner days, but you show up 100 pounds overweight.  Sure, you may intend to lose that weight, but for now, you have not lost it yet.  People do notice this type of thing.  Why not be honest and attract a person that will appreciate you for how you really look?

The best tip I can give online daters for posting photos is post some recent photos in a variety of situations.  Just because you have one photo of you smiling for the camera in your bathroom that turned out nice does not mean that is the only photo you should post.   People love to see photos of someone smiling.  It lets them know that person is fun.  Also, if you have a photo of you having fun at the beach or maybe playing sports, that is a great photo to share.  It lets people know you are active and it also gives them an idea about your body type depending on how much they can see your body in the photo. 

Some photos your should avoid posting are any photos that might creep out your potential date.  This includes photos of you glaring at the camera, photos of you alone in a dark basement with your webcam, and photos that look like mugshots.  You are totally going to scare folks away with that.  Also, as tempting as it may be to include cute photos of your kids, a person really shouldn't want to see photos of your kids immediately.  A potential dater wants to date you, not your children.  Last but not least, don't pose in too many photos with your pet.  One photo with your dog says, "Look how cute Fido is!"  Four photos with your dog says, "I am obsessed with my dog and he will always come before anyone that I date." 

Strike Up a Nice Conversation

After you've created a nice online image for your dating profile, the next big step is having conversations with people online.  Most websites offer a messaging system, as well as an email system for communicating.  Some people opt to use one or both as a means of communication.  You can try both out and decide what you like.

If you decide to approach someone online, it is a good idea to send a good, basic friendly message.  Do not be too short with, "Hey, what's up?"  People send those all day long and the recipients rarely respond to them.  Instead, try something short that shows a real interest.  You need to actually read a person's profile to show you care about more than the profile pic.  When you see a common interest, send a message like, "I noticed you like Kevin Smith movies.  He is my favorite director, too.  Which movie is your favorite?"  Now, depending on your style, you may want to get a little flirtier with a compliment about a photo, too.  However, finding a common interest is always a good conversation starter and a very safe way to approach someone you don't know.

In general, no one likes it when a person is too aggressive online.  It is outright creepy when a person emails you and in the first email the phone number is included with a message stating, "Call me."  Excuse me?  Have we meet before or something?  It is also very disturbing when someone begins to send messages repeatedly to someone that never responds.  In the online dating world, someone ignoring your message is the same as saying, "I am not interested."  If at first you do not succeed, do not try, try again.  You will get blocked!

Now Go Out There and Meet Somebody!

Now that you've gotten all these pointers, surely you will be the most popular person on any online dating site.  Even if you are not Mr. or Ms. Popularity, you are bound to meeting someone online.  Don't be afraid to go out and meet a new person.  Furthermore, don't be afraid to go out on a number of dates with new people. 

Just remember to be safe when you first start dating someone.  Always go to a public place the first time or two you meet up with anyone.  It is a good idea to meet at a restaurant or a coffee shop.  I really would not recommend a bar since alcohol has a way of allowing things to get out of hand.  Make sure to let a friend or family member know you are going out and what time to expect a call from you after the date.  Of course, all of this is just being overly cautious, but better safe than sorry.  Plus, you never know when you might want to text your friend while in the bathroom and ask her to call you in 15 minutes so you have a reason to escape the date.  Hey, that's what friends are for!

If you do not meet Mr. or Ms. Right on the first date or two, don't get too discouraged.  There are plenty of people to meet out there.  Believe it or not, there really is someone for everyone.  So go out there and have a great time!