We’ve all heard the online dating horror stories. He said he was 5-foot-10…but that was his width. He said he was a real family man…which meant he lived with his parents. He said he was a feminist…which meant he wanted you to pay for dinner.
Yes, it can be scary, but the truth is that more and more of us are hitting the keys to look for love — over 40 million people and that’s just here in the US. And while the old stigma may be gone, we know that online love can be tricky: What do you write on your profile? What do you leave out? Who do you look for? What picture do you pick and is it OK if it makes you look 10 pounds lighter?
With that in mind, we have fantastic tips from a few renowned dating experts. Since V-day is right around the corner, why not go ahead and get your online dating on!
Kate Houston, founder of trysweettalk.com, an online dating profile writing service, suggested attacking your online profile like a marketing tool. “Do what advertisers do and surround yourself with subtle messaging. If you love hiking, post a photo of yourself outdoors. If you like dogs, post a photo with your pet. Human beings size up situations very quickly, so maximize your visual opportunities.”
The opening is key! Kate said, “Tips always say to have a great username and headline. In truth, they don’t matter. What matters is your photo and your opener. In online dating, people see the photo, skip over the headline, and go straight to the first lines of copy.”
Kate also suggested that while you want to showcase the best you, humility goes far. “Profiles that are playfully self-effacing help to relax people and make them more comfortable with contacting you.”
Cait Robinson writes for Nerve.com and just launched the brand-new, very cool dating site Nerve Dating. She suggested avoiding lists. “Instead, tell stories. ‘Last summer, I went surfing at the Jersey Shore nearly every day with my dog Rufus. It was a fascinating anthropological experiment. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you more.’ That example gives a possible date plenty to talk to you about. Plus, you sound like an active, interesting person.”
Cait also suggested enlisting the help of friends. “Summarizing yourself as the cute, pithy individual that you are can be a daunting prospect. If you aren’t sure how your profile looks, ask a friend to proof it. They can catch any potential Charlie-Brown-sulking statements, as well as good-naturedly make fun of you for any weird phrasing or half-truths.”
Dr. Vondie Lozano, licensed marriage and family therapist, explained that you should consider your online dating adventure an investment. “Choose a site that’s a bit of a financial investment and that requires a more lengthy questionnaire/application process. That will help screen out people just looking for a quick hook-up.”
Clinical psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Ramani Durvasula suggested keeping it real. “Post a picture that is you at your best, but is in fact you now. Not 50 pounds lighter or even with a hair color that you no longer have.” And avoid the bait and switch. “Don’t say you’re interested in football and fishing unless you really are.”
Dr. Durvasula also suggested cutting out the red Solo cup. “Don’t be drunk or otherwise incapacitated in any of your profile pictures. It makes the viewer wonder, or you will attract people who find that an endearing trait.”
Rochelle Peachey, dating expert and founder of the Transatlantic dating site I Love Your Accent, suggests staying flexible on who you are looking for. “It’s perfectly OK to be specific about who you would like to meet, but don’t discount the man who appears to be everything you desire but is 41 and not 39 or maybe he’s 5-foot-9 and you wanted 5-foot-10. You make the rules but make sure they bend just a little.”
Rochelle also suggests that in the end it’s up to you to make it happen. “Flirt, flirt, and more flirting. Do not sit back and wait for it all to happen. Send a message to someone you are attracted to. You will only get back what you put in to dating online.’
Paul A. Falzone, the CEO of eLove Matchmaking, is all about being as safe as possible. “Avoid using screen names that reveal your identity or location.” Further, he suggested, “When mail or phone contact is necessary…try to use an office phone number and address or a postal box.”
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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