Happy Woman
Credit: wikipedia commons - Andrew Storms

Do's and Don'ts for Successful Online Dating

When you get tired of the goons and goobers that you're meeting in your everyday life it's time to venture into online dating adventures.  Don't give up and stay at home.  You can meet a good guy online and have a great relationship.  Most online dating advice for women comes from other women.  I think you can benefit from some input by a member of the other team.  I've dated online and have a fabulous relationship, but I've also had some bumps on my journey.  Hopefully, you can avoid some of the bumps and find the right guy for you.  

What Dating Site Should I Use?

The first order of business is to choose a site.  As time goes on, more dating site options become available.  The real question is whether to use a high volume, large site or a niche dating site.  The big sites[1] such as Match and Plenty of Fish have many guys available.  They are also well known, and you probably have at least one friend who is a member of both.  Among other groups, special niche websites now exist for older folks, African Americans, Christians and those of the Jewish faith.[2]

To me, the most important factor is the availability of guys you would want to date who actually live in your area.  The more specialized the niche, the greater the likelihood you will need to travel further to meet a guy.  If you are interested in a niche site, make sure the site has enough members to make it worth your trouble.  My general preference is to use one of the large sites.  You can always state your preferences on your profile to weed out guys who don't fit your criteria.

Couple happy togetherCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - millicent_bystanderhttp://www.flickr.com/people/14853452@N00While some sites say they are free, they're not.  In order to actually use them and communicate with the men on the site you're going to have to pay some kind of fee.  Be sure you understand what the site will actually cost you before spending much time creating a profile.

Creating a Profile to Attract Men

Because you are looking to attract a man, the best way to attract one can be summarized in three words:  pictures, pictures, pictures!  If location is the most important consideration for real estate investing by an overwhelming margin, pictures are the most important factor in determining whether a man will be attracted to your profile.  We are visual creatures.  The written portion of your profile will not get a guy's attention.  While the written portion is important, the guy will only start reading if he's attracted to your pictures.

What Kind of Pictures to Post?

You should post several pictures. I tended to avoid profiles with one picture even if I thought the woman was attractive.  The pictures must be current.  We are all amused by 80's hair, but a majority of the pictures should be within the last year.  At least one picture should be a good head shot with a nice smile.  You should also have another picture that contains a full body shot.  The full body photo can certainly show you wearing the most flattering clothes possible.

If you post only a photo of your face or only have pictures in which most of your body is A couple kissingCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Shiemay 47behind something, most guys are going to assume you are hiding something.  Similarly, if your posted profile pictures only look like copies of old photos, we are going to assume you are older than you're telling us or that you don't look as good now as you did in the older pictures.  The idea here is to avoid disappointment later.  The last thing you want is to get a guy to contact you and have your first meeting fall flat because he is not attracted to the real you.  Rejection for anyone is no fun.  Better to be rejected online by guys reviewing your profile and moving on without contacting you than actually meeting up and having that blow up in your face.  You're less likely to be hurt by the experience if you post current photos that show all of you.

If your profile says you like to travel, we understand.  You shouldn't show photos of exotic places unless you are featured in the photos.  Likewise, some women show several pictures of their dogs or cats.  Those pictures are also fine as long as you are also in them.  A shot of your dog lazing on the porch may be cute, but it doesn't make me want to date you.  Be sure that you are included in all the pictures posted.

What to Write in the Profile?

Your profile should be a generic description of what you like to do, unless you have a very strong interest that must be shared by any guy you date.  If you're a runner and will only be interested in another runner, make sure to say so.  Further, if you are not participating in a niche site but still have a very important deal killer requirement for a man, be sure to spell it out.  If you have devout Christian faith and expect that in a partner, you should state that in your profile.  If you only want a tall man or a fit man, you should also state that in your profile.  We won't be offended.

A couple outdoorsCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Bill Branson (Photographer)I have no firsthand knowledge of what men tend to include on their profiles because I've never looked at them.  I can tell you that a large percentage of women like the beach.  Many women also say they are down to earth, laugh alot and are drama free.  You can certainly say those things, but I personally view them as filler.  What I have found interesting is discussion about goals and aspirations.  Project yourself into the future with projects you wish to undertake or places you really want to go.  The guy viewing your profile can project himself with you.    

Accuracy when disclosing your age is absolutely required.  I've always dated in my own age range.  I know many guys try to date girls quite a bit younger.  The bottom line is that you can't fix those guys.  Try to attract guys who are interested in someone about their own age.  If you fudge your age by a wide margin, you will probably get some first dates but very little second dates.  Even if you fudge your age a little, you will need to have an awkward conversation later explaining your real age.

I would recommend some sort of statement that if your lack of reply to an online suitor means you are not interested and you wish them well in their search.   This way, you will not feel as if you have to reply to each and every guy reaching out to you and you can guiltlessly delete their messages.  Sending a reply that you aren't interested encourages a debate and possibly follow up nasty messages.  I've never actually read those messages but I know they exist from women referencing them on their profiles.  Be aware that nastiness does occur and most sites have an ability to block a profile so the same guy doesn't bother you again.

Don't Delay Your First MeetingA couple on a dateCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - unknown author

After you have communicated with a guy a couple times on the dating site, you should get his phone number.  While the traditional way of dating is to wait for him to call, you can benefit from calling him.  I've been told that it was very helpful that I gave out my number and encouraged a call in the evening.  The timing of the call is important.  If a guy never answers the phone in the evening, he is either married or a player.  You don't want to actually meet him if he isn't available to talk in the evening at least some of the time.  All of us can be legitimately busy some of the time, but not all of the time.

After you have spoken with him on a call or two in the evening, you should set up a meeting.  The best venue for an initial meeting is a coffee shop or a crowded restaurant in the afternoon.  You need to figure out if any chemistry exists.  If there is chemistry, the coffee shop meeting will be magical.  You really shouldn't set up an actual dinner and a movie type date from the start.  If you first see the guy and just have no chemistry together, the dinner and a movie date will be the longest night in the history of mankind.  If there is chemistry, the meeting in the coffee shop will stretch to two hours in what seems like a minute.

The reason I say to meet sooner rather than later is that you really can't tell about your chemistry together until you actually meet in person.  Pictures on a profile page do not fully capture the look and persona of anyone.  They can tell you that you might be interested but the actual person in front of you may not be interesting to you.  Likewise, a good conversation on the phone may not mean that meeting the person will flow well.  Remember that online dating is kind of backwords.  If you know someone before you date them or meet someone while you are out, then you've already had your all important first impression of them.  Even if you like someone's online profile and enjoyed a couple phone chats, you may have a very negative first impression when you meet them in person.  

Best of luck in your online adventures.  Have fun and be nice. 

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