Online dating is only going to get more common as our smartphones and connected devices get smaller and our reliance on the Internet gets bigger. According to some studies, one in three marriages from the past five years has begun with an online meeting. Stigma is dwindling and membership on dating sites has skyrocketed. Like it or not, online dating is here to stay. There are the established sites to choose from like Match.com but lots of smaller sites that are perfect for niche dating. The Daily Telegraph has a great list of dating sites to try out.
By far the biggest struggle in the dating world is standing out from the crowd. Even exceptionally attractive and smart people can find themselves lost in the shuffle if they don’t know how to display their best attributes the right way.
Dating Tip One – Pick a good profile picture
A picture tells your life story and nearly all dating sites will strongly recommend you put up a profile picture. Not doing so is considered suspicious and will make your profile look cheap and displeasing. Equally important, your profile picture should actually depict you. Yes, maybe you’re a huge fan of cats, and you really want to display your enthusiasm for felines to the world, but your profile picture should not be a snapshot of a cat. You can pose with your cat, but you need to be in the picture somewhere.
There are a million subtleties to a self-portrait. Blurry selfies in the mirror scream “this person is bland and unoriginal”. If you’re serious about this, consider getting access to a higher-quality camera for a cleaner, more professional look. If you’ve got some skill as a photographer, feel free to experiment with effects like black and white or different lighting, but beware, these effects often look better in theory than in practice if you don’t know what you’re doing. Nothing’s a bigger turnoff than a profile pic that’s trying too hard.
Another major consideration is what’s depicted in the picture with you. Are you hiking on a snowy mountaintop? Are you sitting in a chair reading a book? Is your cat draped across your lap? All of this is going to tell your viewers something about you, so take care that you’re displaying yourself in a place you’re comfortable answering questions about. Also, there are a few studies floating around the internet suggesting a couple “cheat codes” to getting more page views; namely, cleavage for women and shirtlessness for men. It works, to be sure, but you have to consider if that’s the kind of image you want to present to strangers online. If you want to flaunt your sexiness, by all means flaunt away. Just remember, many people interpret a flash of skin as permission to harass.
Dating Tip Two – Building the profile
If you’ve managed to settle on a profile picture, the next step is building your actual profile. Most sites have an “about me” section somewhere on the main page. This is where you get to show your creativity. Start with the basic “who, what, where and why”. Who are you? What do you do professionally? What about hobbies? Where do you live? Where do you like to hang out? Where do you want to go someday? What are you looking for in a partner? What are you looking for in life? All of these are important questions to consider as you build your online biography.
One common pitfall in this section is a general lack of effort. You don’t have to craft great literature here, but a passing resemblance to correct grammar will be helpful. Capitalize and spell correctly whenever possible. Also, be enthusiastic but don’t overdo it on the exclamation points, as too many will make you seem immature. After all, if you’re not willing to put in the five minutes to write a decent bio, what does that say about you as a partner?
Another good rule of thumb is to show instead of tell. Saying “I’m a funny, crazy guy” is something boring people do. Instead, show how funny and crazy you are. This goes for any self-describing adjective. You’re smart? Prove it. Tell us the books you’ve read. You’re strong? Prove it. How much can you bench? You like cats? Prove it. What is it about cats that you love so much? Read more dating profile tips in the next section.