Online dating isn’t harder or easier than “real life” dating, guys. All it takes is time and energy to master the best social practices.
It’s 2015. Everyone you know (and their parents, and quite possibly grandparents) is on some online dating site or the other. So you’ve decided that it’s time you put on your cyber-social boots and jumped into the fray, too. You’ve gathered your courage and your finest one-liners and signed up for one or more dating websites. And a couple of months and a few hundred ignored messages later you’re all but ready to give up. So it’s a good thing you’ve found yourself here.
Online dating isn’t really harder or easier than “real life” dating; it’s just different. Like any other form of social interaction it just takes time, practice and the right information to perfect it. So here are some of the cardinal sins of online dating that may very well be the reason why your online dating life isn’t going as well as it could be.
1. You don’t have any pictures of yourself
One of the biggest (and most baffling) mistakes that I see guys make on dating websites is to start approaching women without a picture of themselves on their profile. Take a moment to think about this: would you ever go out in real life and try to meet women with a paper bag over your head? No. So why would you try to do that online?
At the end of the day, even if you are interacting virtually, people still want to feel like they’re talking to an actual person. And it’s always nice to know if you’re even slightly physically attracted to each other from the get go.
It’s the 21st century, guys. If you have the means to create an online dating profile you surely have a way to at least snap a selfie of yourself and upload it.
2. You have a bland profile description
Here’s the thing; online dating is kind of like marketing. You have to start off assuming that people don’t give a damn. It’s your job to make what little they see of you on your profile interesting enough to intrigue them to want know more.
So if all you have on your profile is your age, height and a boring blurb about how you’re an “easy going person who doesn’t take life too seriously” you really should start re-thinking your strategy. Your profile is probably going to get a couple of minutes of attention at most, so make sure you have something strong enough to hook a woman’s attention within that time span.
3. You’re coming across as bitter, angry or depressed
OK, here’s a reality check. It’s very, very rare that you’re going to come across a stranger who genuinely cares about the problems in your life. And you’re not going to find them on some dating website.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not belittling the troubles that you’ve been through and the challenges you’ve faced. There will be a time and place to share these stories with a potential partner you are involved with down the road, but the place to list these problems isn’t in your profile description.
4. You aren’t being congruent
One of the biggest mistakes I see guys make on their online dating profiles is when they try to be something they are not, which I totally understand. We’re all human. We all have egos and we all want to see ourselves in the best possible light. But there’s a huge difference between focusing on our strengths and trying to be someone we’re not.
For example, if you’re not that funny, don’t try to sound funny on your profile. Don’t hunt down humorous dating profile examples and try to personalize them. Sooner or later, a woman is going to find out that you’re not really what you represent on your profile and she’s going to be turned off by it.
5. You’re sending boring messages
You know that old saying about “having her at hello”? Well, I’m sorry to break it to you but that’s really not going to happen on an online dating website. Attractive women on these websites literally get hundreds of messages each day from men and it would be humanly impossible to carry on a genuine conversation with every one of them, hoping to find one that’s interesting.
So set yourself apart from the throng. Write something that’ll get her attention and make her curious about you.
For example, I once started a conversation on Tinder by asking a girl how she had dyed her hair that exact shade of purple in her profile picture.
And while we’re on the subject of first messages, try and stay away from clichés you find on the Internet, and retire those creepy pickup lines. They just don’t work.
6. You’re sending generic messages
Another big mistake that guys make on online dating websites is when they use the same generic message on each and every girl. Trust me, women know when you’re doing this. So do yourself a favor and take the time to personalize each message you send. You’ll see a much higher return on your time and effort this way.
Most women spend a lot of time on their dating profiles and they respond when a man actually notes the details not everyone notices.
7. You’re acting desperate
Online dating is a bit of a numbers game. So you need to learn when to let go and move on, which can be pretty hard when you’re not getting any replies from a woman who you think would be ideal for you in every possible way. A good rule of thumb is to quickly move on when you haven’t gotten a reply after messaging a woman twice. If a woman isn’t responding to your messages she just isn’t attracted to you. It’s how the game works. Don’t take it personally, brush yourself off, then go and find someone who will find you attractive.
8. You’re getting bogged down without escalating
Another mistake a lot of guys make with online dating is when they start settling into a comfort zone with women who show a bit of interest in them.
For example, I once had a friend who was the funniest dude ever, and would almost always manage to get a response from the women he messaged online. But he would never escalate the interaction beyond a few jokes and smart talk, so whatever attraction these women showed him at the start would soon fizzle away, then he’d sit there wondering why they’d stopped replying to him.
So whenever you do find a woman who seems to be attracted to you and interested, always remember to escalate. Women aren’t on dating websites looking for pen-pals. They’re using these websites to find partners for possible romantic or sexual outcomes.
If you want your dating life to improve, be it online or in real life, you have to be honest with yourself. I hope this list will help you figure out what you might be doing wrong in your online dating life and also help you rectify those errors you might not even be aware of. And then, you’ll get on the road again toward finding lasting love with a meaningful partner.
Unedited Photo: Flickr/George Tziralis