Over half of all singles in the United States have used an online dating site before. Their use accounts for one out of every five relationships and one out of every six marriages. Given this compelling data, you would think most people would be singing praises of online dating websites, but this isn’t the case. I hear daily complaints, jokes, and even lawsuits about the crappiness of the “online dating experience.” I find most disgruntled users don’t have a plan. They simply get online and hope. But hope is not a strategy. If you want to make online dating work for you, you need a plan. Here are 10 tips to help.
Don’t limit yourself to only online dating sites. There are many other sites that focus on building friendship through social discovery and networking. Sites like Facebook, Tagged and Meetup have all been used to broker relationships.
Studies show 30 percent to 60 percent of men and women fabricate their profiles. Chris Rock was right when he said, ‘when we first meet someone, we’re really meeting their representative.‘ But this is the worst way to introduce yourself to someone. As I write in my new book ‘the butt pads have to come off at some point.’ Authenticity from the start leads to less wasted time, energy and resources.
By managing hundreds of online dating profiles for clients over the last few years, I’ve noticed the longer you interact with someone online, the lower the chance you’ll actually meet them. Eliminate the countless back and forth messaging. It’s not showing you anything about the most important compatibility criteria – values (which need to play out in action, not in prose).
This is a little trick I stumbled upon. Many dating site algorithms serve you up new people based (partly) on how recently you joined the site. Think about it. If you’re new, they want you to stick around. So the fresher your account, the higher number of ‘matches’ you will receive.
Most people make the mistake of thinking that online dating is a sprint. It’s actually a marathon. Walking into it with the right mentality is key. The best approach is to exercise patience and persistence and to continually ask ‘what am I learning about myself.’
When it comes to online dating, the boundaries are far less rigid, and it is universally acceptable for women to approach men. Not only is approaching people important, approaching in volume is key. I ask my clients to message 20 to 30 people every week.
Don’t pick something that will likely go over people’s heads or come off as inaccessible. Being clever is cool but if they need a decoder ring to decipher, it’s not a good look. Most importantly, stay clear of anything overly provocative. You’ll never be taken seriously with ‘MsBooty1981‘ (an actual username I recently saw on a dating site).
We must face it. While we want to date people who are kind, nice, yada, yada, we also want a pleasant face to look at, and it’s the latter that we begin with online. From all the research I’ve done, photos make or break the deal. Make sure you have a smiling headshot, a full body photo and a sociable look. Studies show that including three photos can more than double the number of people who message you.
I would understand if you said this 10 years ago, but today, there is ZERO difference in the number of crazies online versus the numbers of crazies on the streets. Don’t let your belief system accept this. If you do, I guarantee it will become your reality.
Comments, concerns or questions about my advice? Tell me about it below! Paul Carrick Brunson is a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee and a 2012 iDate Matchmaker & Relationship Coach Of The Year nominee. His bestselling book It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be) is in stores now. Contact him directly on Facebook or Twitter anytime or visit his website.