I wanted to write a companion post to last week’s “How to Get Girls to Respond to your Messages,” but it ended up going like this:
- Have a nice picture
That is all. Seriously. I’m convinced that the majority of guys don’t read your info or pay attention to match percentages or anything else. But while girls may not have trouble getting attention, it can be difficult attracting the right kind of attention—and then forming an actual connection with someone online.
So I’ve put together some tips that I wish I’d known when I first started this journey. I’ve also surveyed a group of guys who I consider to be good catches about what they wish girls would do differently with online dating, and this is the result.
- Choosing a platform
Tinder is soul poison. Christianmingle has a small selection (at least for my area). Match was okay. Haven’t tried eHarmony or Bumble. Say what you will about Farmersonly, but I know someone who met her boyfriend that way, so if you’re a farmer, have at it.
OKCupid has by far been the best for me. I like the amount of info you’re given about a person, I like that you can message for free, I like that you don’t have to bother with your five matches a day stuff.
- Creating a profile
I put wayyyy too much effort into a username. I read articles about it because I thought every name I was coming up with sounded stupid. Turns out, usernames are just stupid no matter what. I ended up using a quote from the Office, figuring that it would say something about me if they know the show, and if they don’t know the show… how much do I really want to talk to them anyway?
You should fill out your profile… but I didn’t. I wrote three things: “Jesus. Writing. TWD.” What more do you really need? It shows my values, it shows how I spend my time, it shows my passions. I did have some guys get confused about whether I was talking about Jesus Christ or Jesus from TWD, but then it was just a fun talking point. I don’t feel like my sparse info has hindered me at all (especially because it’s obvious that a lot of the guys who message me didn’t bother themselves to read the three words I do have).
I did take some time to pick out a variety of pictures: a face shot, a body shot (I’m talking me on vacation with my family, nothing racy), a traveling pic, and one with a lemur.
SURVEY SAYS: One guy actually recommended only including the most important info on your profile. “Save the rest for conversation. There’s more to talk about, and that way, the guy can’t just tell you what you want to hear.”
Several guys mentioned that there are certain things girls keep saying that are big turn offs, such as:
- Telling guys how to message you (demanding something more than “hey”)
- Saying what you’re NOT looking for instead of what you are
- Saying you’re “looking for a man, not a boy”
- Saying you’re “not an average girl”
I get it. Girls feel the need to say these things because, let’s face it, a lot of these guys are not going to treat them well, and they’re tired of that. But I think to avoid scaring off the good guys who are out there, it’s better to show instead of tell. You don’t need to tell him that you’re great; he should be able to see it once he gets to know you. And if he doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated, just end it. And as far as the “hey,” thing… that is a little entitled haha. Sure, it’s nice when a guy comes up with a stellar opener, but some guys just aren’t good at that, and some of them are so jaded by the online dating experience that they’ve nearly given up, so if you’re really interested in someone, don’t be afraid to surprise him and send the first message.
SURVEY SAYS: “Always going with the cutest guy who spits the best game may end up in disaster.” “Some girls do want to find a real commitment but are too focused on searching for that perfect guy who doesn’t exist to give someone who is really good-hearted and loyal a chance.”
This is so true. I’m not saying to go out with someone you don’t find attractive (I wouldn’t want someone to date me if he didn’t find me attractive—would you?), but just because a guy isn’t great at making himself look and sound good on the internet doesn’t mean he’s not a great guy. Chat with different guys. See who you actually connect with. Better yet, meet in person. People are so different in real life vs. online, and some people just aren’t good at texting.
- Location is everything
When I first started, I didn’t really think about this, but the radius setting is such an important factor. When I went on vacation to New Orleans, my number of likes tripled in one day. This doesn’t really help you unless you want to do long distance, but if you are serious about finding a good match and you live in an underpopulated area, expanding the radius might not be a bad idea. I had a guy from Canada tell me he set his radius to 100km because he was looking for a very specific type of girl and was willing to travel. Obviously, looking cross country isn’t for everyone, but even changing the radius from one hour away to two hours might make a major difference.
- Pay attention to age
I’ve found that there’s a huge difference between guys in their early twenties and guys in their late twenties. The older ones tend to be more mature, better prepared to be in an actual relationship, and just… better in general. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- Avoid getting overwhelmed
Online dating can take over your life realllll quick. I think it’s great to talk to a wide variety of guys, especially if you don’t know for sure what you’re looking for (it’s a great way to figure it out), but then you find yourself having the same convos over and over… and you start confusing them… and sometimes you get busted. 😀
You don’t have to talk to everyone all at once. Talk to your favorites—drop the ones that stop being your favorites—add new favorites.
If you find yourself getting addicted:
-Don’t just swipe right because he’s cute if you see clear red flags.
-Limit yourself to certain times of day (night is best).
-If you do know what you’re looking for, don’t talk to guys who don’t fit the list just because you’re bored or discouraged.
-Go ahead and ask relevant questions about religion or politics or whatever is important to you right away—guys are actually far more likely to answer honestly online than in person, and I’ve found that most of them appreciate having a genuine conversation right away rather than starting out with small talk. Even if you end up finding disconnects quickly, at least you won’t have wasted each others’ time.
- Actually go on dates
That’s the purpose of this, isn’t it? Meet in a public place and let people know where you are. Make sure he leaves first so he can’t follow you home. Be safe about it. But get out there! Worst case scenario, you end up with a movie montage-type succession of bad dates. (Well, okay, worst-worst case scenario, you end up murdered. But you’re being safe, right?)
SURVEY SAYS: Guys will admit that the outlook here is kind of bleak. One guy straight up said: “Prepare to become bitter.” Another said, “90% of the guys are just looking for a hookup, no matter what they say. In the back of their minds they may be thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I will find someone for a serious relationship,’ but the fact is, even if they find someone they could have something real with, they aren’t ready for a real relationship.”
Isn’t that kind of the problem with dating in general?
But there are good guys out there, so the main thing is to not give up. Pace yourself. Breathe. And I’m here if you ever need to rant.
What I’m Listening to: Cape Clear by Sheila Larkin
Primadonna by Marina and the Diamonds