Online Dating

04/24/12

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A Practical Guide to Online Dating

Why Online Dating

  • Online Dating is Less Stressful

  • At least single and looking!

General Tips

  • Numbers Game

  • Screens and Searches

  • Photo

Writing Good Personal Ads and Profiles

  • Informative Ads

  • The Donīts -Common Mistakes and Changes Suggested 10

  • The Dos

After the Emails

  • Screening Out

  • Security

 

Why Online Dating

Should you take online dating seriously?

A September 2004 survey of 4,743 newly married or engaged couples registered on Weddingchannel.com showed 12 percent of the couples met online.

The Internet is the best way to find a date. Period.

Most often our problem in finding dates and compatible mates is that we donít run into enough people everyday. Most people meet their dates through contacts with common friends or co-workers, or their hobbies and social groups-karate, volleyball, etc., or chance meetings at a bar or night club . When you are single and looking, you are doing well if you are meeting someone interesting to go out with every couple of months.

But Internet dating changes all that. You date with ten times the frequency (as I did!) and 10% of the effort.

Throughout this article my personal experiences will be written in italics.

Before I started dating online, I was going out with someone new once every 3-4 months. After I started dating online, I was going out with someone new every 1-2 weeks, and this went on for years. And these are just the hard results. Imagine the actual number of women who I was corresponding with! It was three times that. I simply couldnít respond to some women because I didnít have the time! Not too bad a situation to be in for a guy in his early thirties.

Online dating does have its set of rules and etiquettes which you need to learn, e.g. what to write in your profile, your emails, what kind of photo to put, etc. Same as learning a new set of social customs in a new setting, whether you start out to night clubs or make a move to a new city or country, the online dating board also has its set of rules. And the faster you learn them, the faster you start reaping the fruits meeting lots of new people, going out a lot, and having a good time. No more of those weekends where you are left alone watching a rented movie.

A recent study showed that about 29 million Americans, or about 2 in 5 singles, used an online dating service. There are more than 50 million personal ads or dating profiles on the various Internet sites (many people use more than one site). So you know that there are a lot of people doing this, and as always, the people who understand the new medium better, will be the ones who get the best results.

Online dating is less stressful!

I remember one time reading about a book which mentioned good pick-up lines to initiate conversations. Since I am an experimentalist by nature, I immediately went to a bar and tried using some. I would take a shot of Tequila, because really I was very nervous, and walk up to a girl to chat her up. Well, no luck. I might as well have thrown darts in a dark room. I was way too anxious, the whole thing was too stressful, and I realized that this is completely not me.

Online dating and the use of well-directed personal ads to get to the audience you desire is quite different from trying some random pickup line in a bar about how good someone looks or asking out the reception girl at the Airlines office. In almost all real-life situations, there is a lot of anxiety involved in asking someone out. It is common for you to visit a restaurant over and over to finally get the waitressī phone number, or to go to the gym even when you are tired after a long dayís work, so you can run into that tall blond guy again (and the last three times, you have barely said Hello!). It is just too much energy spent in initiating the first contact, or in getting someoneís attention.

With online dating, there is no such anxiety, no wasting of precious time or energy chasing Uma Thurmans or Brad Pitts. You upload your ad, you send some nice small messages to people to make them aware that you are interested in them, and just WAIT. Soon you will get some nice responses.

At least single and looking!

Another advantage of online dating is that the people advertising on these sites are single and looking to meet people. Now that may sound like a minor thing, but it is very important! In real life situations, about 60-70% of the people you meet are NOT single at any given moment, or not ready to date anyway (still ending their previous relationships, generally not feeling well, etc.)-so your chances of meeting someone SINGLE and LOOKING are something like one in three. That guy who works in the office below you has a girlfriend somewhere in New York, and you are getting unnecessarily excited about him. So much energy in this world is wasted on asking out or getting to know people, only to realize that they already have someone! When you meet people online, they are single and looking (there are a small percentage of people who are lying-but we wonít worry about them....they exist in real life too, we all know too well...), and that makes the process much more efficient. You are better off trying to communicate with people who are interested and are ready to get involved with someone.

I canít even count the number of times this has happened to me. I would get to know someone through the gym playing volleyball or she would be working in another group in my company, and I would meet her and get all excited. And then she would tell me she had a boyfriend, and I would feel the little deflating pinch of that little balloon of love pricked by a needle.

On occasion, I have gone out with women who had boyfriends or who were' married. In the end, it was way too stressful, there was too much insecurity (will she leave me for him, is she seeing him behind my back, why does she always says he did this better...), too much baggage, and I ended up feeling very bad about the whole thing.

There are no such hassles with online dating.

Of course people can lie, married people can go about pretending they arenít, but when you have a nice pool of single people to choose from, when you the ability to get to know a lot of potential partners on the Internet, there is no reason to get yourself into problem relationships.

Letís be practical. In the end it doesnít really matter how you meet people - be it in a bar, through acquaintances, or on a plane ride. The Internet is just a very fast and efficient way, thatís all.

 

 

General Tips

Numbers game-initiating contact

Even in the online dating world, men are usually the ones making the first move. This is probably because male profiles outnumber female profiles (data from amigos.com). However, for both parties, romance is still a numbers game. What that means is: get ready to contact a large number of people.

People are inundated with virtual kisses, winks and icebreakers (dating site jargon for first contact with someone who interests you!) , so it is your profile which will set you apart. One can generally start out with a simple message "Hello, I am xxxx, I liked your ad, and I would like to get to know u better. Please write me at *this-emailaddress* if you are interested." Attach a copy of your ad and photo if you can in the message. This needs to be done with many people, and hopefully you will get some responses. This email is an invitation for the other person to come and have a look at your profile - the profile should do the talking. Long introductory, tailor-made emails are a waste of time - because people are getting lots of emails and will often ignore a long-winded email. You need to send a simple "first contact" email out to a lot of people, and soon you should get some good responses to your Ad. Do read the ads of the people you write to carefully before writing, you might be just wasting your time (e.g. racial or religious Preferences).

Years ago when I had this long period without a girlfriend, I was thinking about strategies to improve my chances with women. I would see some nice girl in my company, and I would meet her, and would wonder about how I could convince her to go out with me. I would consult a friend, who is considerably older than me, happily married with kids, letís call him George. So I would ask George what I could do to make this girl go out with me. And he would say-you canít do anything. Just ask her out, if she goes out with you, well and good. If not, find another one to ask out. It didnít make sense at that time, but years later, after dating many more women, and then dating so many off the internet, I realized how right George was. It is a numbers game, and the more you roll your dice, the better your chances are. Rejections mean nothing to me anymore-it is simply a dice roll gone bad. With Internet dating, I just have so many dice rolls!!!

In my early online dating days, I would look at a profile, and really get interested in a particular girl. I would read her profile carefully and tailor write my first email based on that, looking for common things, etc. I realized that this was a waste of time- I often did not receive responses to my well thought out greetings. Thatís when I decided that my time was better spent writing a simple message to many more women than fixating on a particular one. I had not grasped the notion that Romance is a numbers game, especially in online dating.

When I began using the ďform letterĒ first contact approach, and wrote to many women in my area, I got lots of responses. All this time of course I already had a nice profile representing me accurately, so when they looked at the profile, they got to know me, and if they found me interesting enough, we would go out on a date.

Screens and Searches

Use the screens or the searches available in, for example, Match.com, Yahoo Personals and Amigos.com wisely. You can screen for people living close to you, choose physical attributes, religious preferences, smoking and drinking habits, and many more categories. Yahoo even allows you to screen based on sense of humor type (nothing funny about that...). Learning to use these screens will save you considerable time-by narrowing down the pool of potential candidates quickly.

Photo

One major dating site says that both men and women are 15 times more likely to look at a profile with photos than one with no photos.

It is surprising how many people are still shy about putting their photo online. They are scared that the guy they work with, or another acquaintance will discover their profile and somehow that makes them uncomfortable. Well, guess what, those other people are the ones who are behind the curve. Online dating is here to stay, and you must be completely comfortable with putting a profile on the Net, with photos, to look for a partner. This WILL BE (it may already be) the most popular way to meet people. By being upfront about putting your personal ad with a photo, you are embracing the future.

The photo is a very important part of your personal ad. The ideal photo should be a head shot, or maybe about a quarter of your body height, so you can see the shoulders. It should be bright so that facial features are clearly visible (brightness can be adjusted by software). If the site allows you to put more than one photo, and you have good photos, go ahead and upload them all. For the secondary photos, photos with friends and family are a good idea because they generally give an impression that you are a normal social human being.

Donít be too harsh on judging yourself if you are tall, short, not photogenic, fat, or whatever. You are what you are, and the purpose of the photo is to show yourself to the world. Of course, the photo should be best one you can get, so think about getting it enhanced by a professional studio. If you take online dating seriously, there is no reason not to put your photo out there; eventually you will be meeting these people who you are emailing or chatting with in real life.

Avoid using sunglasses in photos. Do not be provocative or too revealing in your photo on the profile (most sites will not even accept a photo like that).

 

Writing Good Personal Ads and Profiles

Informative Ads

Whether you are looking for a serious long-term relationship, a casual relationship, or just to make friends, you still need to go out and find those people who you are interested in, and who are interested in you. The Internet is by far the easiest way to find them. And the first step is to have a well-thought out and well-written online dating Profile.

The importance of clear and informative profiles cannot be overstressed. Not to mention that if you just say "I am looking around to meet some people, was just curious", a lot of bored people from Germany will be writing you! In general, the more information you put in your ad, the fewer useless responses you will receive. An intelligent person should spend a decent amount of time looking at other peopleís ads, because selecting dates or a partner is probably the most important thing we do in our adult lives.

That being said, keep in mind that even after you have started meeting people, you may not get "hooked up" right away. Give it a few months at least before you get some results. Letís face it-love is hard to find. But at least if you are going out with a lot of people, meeting new people quickly and efficiently (a key advantage of online dating), you can expect to find someone to fall in love with faster-and thatís the best you can do.

Donít be shy in your Ad, or try to be overly politically correct. If you think you donít want to go out with people with kids, say so. If you have some particular preference for physical attributes, height, body weight, etc. do mention it clearly. You save yourself the trouble of unnecessary communication, and so does the other person.

Another thing to remember is that it is generally a bad idea to be negative, whine, or complain, in you Ad, even if youíve had some bad experiences or relationships in the recent past. In such cases maybe it is better to be single and just smell the roses for some time, because the least you must have is a desire to meet someone with a smile.

However, mentioning negative details in a matter-of-fact way is fine, e.g. women saying "Men who are not looking for a committed relationship please do not write."

The best way to write a profile is to imagine yourself meeting someone new for the first time in a casual setting- a bar, a coffee shop, or at a friend's party. Think about the kind of things you would tell about yourself to this person- your dating profile is the same idea extended over the Internet.

The Donīts-Common Mistakes and Changes Suggested

Here is a collection of real examples of typical mistakes have made in their Internet dating profile, and my suggestions to fix them. Keep in mind that online dating is very competitive-if you come across as boring, overly-sexual or negative, you may not get any good responses to your ad. Thatís why I sometimes call these mistakes

ďProfile KillersĒ.

..."I am a funny, witty person...."

Funny and witty people never write that directly. Instead of saying this, add a touch of humor to your profile.

..."I was just bored, so wrote my profile here..."

A negative attitude. Instead, say, "I am new to this..."

..."I am an honest, spontaneous, creative (..other personal adjectives)

...person."

Very few people think they are not, this is very subjective (same as the fact that 80% people believe that they have an IQ above average!). Avoid using personal adjectives in your ad. Define yourself concretely-better to say I am a guitar player in a band or I write Novels or I am a cardiologist than I am creative or spontaneous.

..."I want a guy who can make me laugh..."

Comes across as negative-you sound slightly depressed if you need someone just to make you laugh. Thereís plenty of stuff on the TV to make you laugh, and you are not looking for a joker, you are looking for a boyfriend, a mate...remember?

..."I like blonde women, but if you are dark-haired and good-looking, write me anyway, maybe you can change my mind...."

Turn-off to both dark-haired and blonde women. Make up your mind, if you are looking for only blonde women, just say so. Donít play both sides of the coin, generally backfires. Better not to say anything if you are not sure.

..."I like taking walks by the ocean, or watching TV, or going camping with my friends..."

Unimportant details. Most people like these things, and these are hardly important details in finding a partner (it is unlikely you wonít like going out with someone just because they donít like walking the beach or watching TV with you) . The section of "Hobbies" is where you put these things, and more specifically-e.g. snow-boarding, or watching/playing basketball.

..."I am sexy, flirtatious,... I like kisses on my back, full body massages from my boyfriend/girlfriend..."

Keep the sexual innuendos out of your profile. You will have plenty of time to exchange raunchy emails if you are addicted to writing sexual stuff... but in the first impression, keep it out. Think about it this way-would you say this to a guy or a girl in a bar who you met for the first time? If not, then donít say it in your ad either.

..."I hate smokers, dislike people who donít like pets, canít stand selfish people, etcÖ."

It is okay to say that you donít want to date smokers or selfish people; but tone down the language. Do not use strong negative verbs like Ďhateí, Ďdislikeí, and Ēcanít standĒ in your ad Ėthey give a bad impression about you to people who are non-smokers or who like pets.

..."I am looking for a REAL man/woman, with all the letters or REAL..."

Sounds like you have had some bad experiences in relationships, but that's over now. Come with a positive attitude to online dating, ready to meet new people. Bitterness in a profile is a definite turn-off.

."I am not interested in guys who are bitter and boring..."

No one is. Use the ad mostly to tell people what you like, not what you donít like. Agreeability is a must have in first introductions.

."I broke up with my boyfriend recently, thought I would meet someone nice to hang out with onlineÖ"

Remove the details ĎI broke up with my boyfriend recentlyí. You are single and looking, and that is enough. You can share these details later in email or phone conversations. You can probably relate to some of these mistakes yourself. Sometimes a small mistake can ruin a generally well-written ad (e.g. a sexual innuendo dropped offhand-I like caressesÖ). Your profile is not a soap-box where you mention whatever comes off the top of your head. You are trying to represent yourself, get the attention of the other party in seconds, and any mention of something negative is enough for them to ignore you, and move on and continue browsing other Ads.

The Dos

Now that you understand what not to write in a profile, letís go over what you should write in one.

Follow a factual but casual approach to writing your personal ad. You want to let the people get to know you, but at the same time, your ad shouldn't come across as a boring resume. Sprinkle it with some humor, exclamation marks; make it fun and interesting.

A good profile has 200-250 words, with 150-200 words for yourself, and 50-100 words describing the kind of person you are looking for.

What does a good profile contain? Your life history, your goals, your achievements? Should you mention that you are feeling lonely lately, emphasizing your sensitive, emotional side? Or should you write something cool and cocky? What are people looking for in Ads, consciously or subconsciously?

Discuss your career history and plans. What kind of jobs you have done, what your future career aspirations are, etc. These are generally looked at as positive. Think of it as the first conversation you are having with someone, donít we usually talk about we do? Excellent stuff to write about in a profile. Be brief, of course- you donít want to go on and on about selling shoes, delivering the mail, or designing and fabricating cars, for that matter.

If you have children, mention about them. This is an important part of your life, and interests the people interested in dating you. Mention their ages, and if they live with you.

If you have moved around a bit in your life, mention the places where you have lived. It gets more people interested in you and wanting to write to you. For example, if you are presently living in Los Angeles but have lived in Dallas, someone who has a Texas connection is more likely to write to you. If you have lived internationally, all the better people are always interested in life in other places and cultures.

If you have just moved to where you are living now, mention that. People like playing tourist guides. They are eager to know new faces from other parts of the country or the world. They can also help you settle down in the town more easily-so even if nothing happens romance-wise you can always make some good friends.

If you speak a foreign language, mention that. It attracts attention. Along the same lines, mention a little of your family genealogy, as most people find that interesting as well (e.g. I have a Scottish or Chinese mother).

Mention how you entertain yourself. This is where you can be funny and witty, so exercise your imagination. Mention about your social circle. Are you a social person? Do you have many friends? Do you go out with them a lot? What activities do you do with them? If you have a good relationship with your siblings, your parents, and your family, mention it. Mention if they live close to you, and how often you see them.

Mention if you like pets, and have any of your own.

When you are talking about the person you are looking for, be clear in your requirements. But make sure you donít limit yourself unnecessarily. So if you donít want to date men who have kids say so. Or if you have a naturalistic bent of mind and would like to date only people who respect that philosophy (must love nature and animals) then go ahead and mention that. But again, be careful-you are restricting potential responders here, so put things only if you are quite sure what your potential partner absolutely must or must not have.

Mention if you are looking for a stable relationship or if you are just looking to make friends and will see how things go from there (looking for nice and interesting people to hang out with).

After the Emails

This section deals with what you do once you have your Inbox full of emails from people wanting to know you more.

Screening Out

Now starts the second screening process. Remember that it is likely that the people writing to you are also writing to other people. So some email exchanges will just cut off abruptly, this is a part of online dating which people find very hard to digest at first, but it happens in real life too. It is just that in real life maybe we get clued in a little better when someone doesnít want to communicate with us anymore, plus they are more polite-they will say they are busy with work so they wonít be able to go out, etc. Get ready for some rude disappearances on the Internet-but donít take them personally. It is just people optimizing their time and spending their time communicating with people who they feel they will get along the best with. And if you have lots of responses, as I did, you will sometimes act the same way-even if you are not a rude or impolite person in real life.

Once you have made initial contact with someone interesting, normally with you exchanging emails, you want to see if there is mutual interest. you may want to keep an eye out if they have been lying. A recent study found that men are most likely to lie about whether they are in a relationship, and women about their physical attributes and how good they look. So ask for most photos, and ask directly if they are single or in a relationship.

Once this is taken care of all else is simply upon the two people involved. Communication should evolve from email exchanges to telephone conversations, and then to a personal meeting for a lunch or coffee.

You are better off meeting in a public place, so that it is easier to leave if you find yourself unimpressed or losing interest (It is much harder for you to ask someone to leave your house!). Also meet people first time in a public places for security purposes.

On many occasions, I have been excited about finally meeting someone in real life, having exchanged plenty of emails, a couple of phone calls, and even some photos. When I met them in real life, I found that there was no chemistry there, physically. In one case, the woman I met was completely obnoxious and disagreeable to everything I said (and she wrote perfectly wonderful and very nice emails and spoke quite well on the phone too)!

Security

This section is more for the women than the men.

Your chances of running into an offhand lunatic are not any higher online than they are in real life, but some precautions are new and apply only online. These are just safety measures, and should not in any way make you paranoid or less excited about finding love online.Think of it as just putting on your seat-belt in your car-thatís all.

Always exchange phone numbers. When you give him yours, take his. Call him at the number to confirm that he has not lied.

Once you do decide to meet a guy, it is absolutely important that you have the first meeting in a public place. Do not meet a man in a hotel if he is from out of town. Do not have him pick you up at your house; you donít want him to know where you live. Before going on the first date, make sure you inform some friend, roommate or family member that you are going to meet Mr. XXX finally, after having known him through the Internet. Give them his number so he is traceable in case you get into trouble (you can always tell him that you have given his number to a friend, so you have a card up your sleeve).

Try to enjoy Online Dating its supposed to be fun!

I highly recommend you visit his website www.dating-profile.com., which is constantly updated with new ideas and insights, which may not appear in this book.

Feel free to send this Ebook to your single friends and family members who are looking for love online!

 

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This book is merely a collection of opinions and viewpoints of the Founder of Dating-profile.com. As such, the company disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, statutory or otherwise, including but not limited to warranties of Merchantability, Title, and Success with using the this material. Datingprofile.com or this site make no representations or claims as to whether the information in this book is Accurate, Complete or Current. In no event shall Dating-Profile.com, its Owner(s), Employees, or Affiliates, be liable for any damages (including, without limitation, incidental and consequential damages, personal injury/wrongful death, lost profits, or damages resulting from lost data or business interruption) resulting from the use or inability to use the Content of this book.. Dating-profile.com is not liable for any personal injury, including death, caused by use or misuse of the book. You agree to use the information in this book with all claims to responsibility for the consequences.

 

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