“Online dating totally sucks, no one responds to my messages and every date I’ve had has gone nowhere.”
That is an exact quote from a friend of mine, and I know a lot of men who have had similar experiences. From not getting a response to messages, to heading out on ‘disaster dates,’ the online dating world can be a jungle. But, don’t we all have that friend who just got married to the woman he met online?
Far from outliers, couples who connect online are fairly common, and online dating doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Having the right mindset is key, and whether your experiences have been positive or negative, you can always reframe your approach for success.
When it comes down to it, online dating is the best mechanism for meeting a lot of great women. Here is why and how you can make it work for you.
1. Dating in your social circles is dangerous. While dating the cute girl from your CrossFit gym seems like a great idea while you are crushing. If things go wrong, however, you could be in for a world of drama. Unfortunately, that drama will affect the entire group, not just you and her.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date anyone you already know, but be aware of those dynamics before you do. Going through a messy breakup is one of the easiest ways to create divisions among friends and alienate yourself from what was once a healthy group.
Online dating allows you to connect with women outside of those circles, without having to walk up to random women on the street with your calling card. Given the amount of people online these days, that is a lot of women you can connect with right now.
2. Most men don’t want to pick up women at bars. Unless you’ve got skills like Will Smith and your life resembles Hollywood, picking up women at bars is a fool’s mission. It’s all good fun when you are tossing back beers with the boys, but sooner than later, you will end up as those two creepy dudes trying to infiltrate the dance circle. You know the ones I’m talking about.
Let’s say you are the type that jumps out of helicopters for a living and women swoon over you. Well, this article may not be for you. Then again, if you got this far, maybe it is.
3. Exactly 1 out of 1,000,000 women want to pick men up at bars. Okay, I made that number up, but my guess is that standing in the corner looking lonely hasn’t been working for you. Don’t worry, it didn’t work for me either.
The beauty of an online profile is that it allows you to find women with similar interests and values. Not only that, it allows them to find you. And, while women may not be chatting you up at bars, if you invest a little time into your profile and come clean on the fact that (just like everyone else in the world) you really do love Taylor Swift’s music, there is a good chance they will message you online.
4. You can do you like no one else. There is no greater satisfaction than walking into a date with a woman you connected with online, and finding that you also really enjoy her as a person in ‘real life.’ This isn’t a rare occurrence and starts with honesty and integrity in your profile.
Don’t be afraid to be bold and let the real you out in the open. She will appreciate it and you will have a better experience with online dating if you are yourself from the beginning.
5. You can put some pizazz into your profile. While you have to be honest, you also need to put in the work to show your good side. Online dating is marketing. Good photos and content are important if you want to interact with the audience of women.
This is a good thing because most people make the mistake of fast tracking their profiles. You don’t have to spend five hours designing a masterpiece, but you should think about what you are presenting to women you haven’t met. What does it say about you?
Here is the only takeaway you need: avoid cliches, keep it fairly short, and be positive.
6. You are ready to go beyond smoke signals and white flags: It’s not secret that women receive a lot of messages every day. However, most of those messages are ignored because they are strikingly similar. Want to stand out? Remember the following:
- She cares about your grammar. Don’t use internet words like u, ur, and luv. Capitalize the letters at the beginning of sentences, and use apostrophes in contractions. Use spell-check.
- She wants more than a one to a three-word message. Surprisingly, the majority of the messages I see guys sending are something along the lines of: “hi”, and “wat up.” These are unlikely to elicit a response.
- She wants to know that you read her profile. If you didn’t read her profile, you shouldn’t be sending her a message. Using the copy-paste technique to send out 30 generic messages will net some responses, but the likelihood of those developing into quality conversations is low.
Here is what has worked for me, and many of the guys I have helped with online dating:
- Use an off-beat opener like “How’s it going ____?” or “Hey there ___.”
- Make a connection to her profile.
- Ask a question that is related, interesting, and easy to answer.
An example of this could look like: Hey there Jess, I’m Mike. It is pretty cool that you study medicine at ___. I’m in PT school –what was your favorite part of neuroscience?
You could easily write more, but you don’t have to. Spend enough time on the message to be original and create a connection, but not enough to be disappointed if you don’t get a response.
7. You know that some messages don’t come back. There is no way around this. You are going to send messages that will not get a response. It’s okay, and it happens to all of us.
Because of this, try not to spend a lot of time reading women’s profiles, checking out the questions they have answered, and sending their photos to your friends. It is easy to get emotionally involved before you even start a conversation, and that energy is better spent in other places until you get to know her.
8. You know what you are getting into. Like most things in life, managing your expectations towards online dating will have a profound effect on your experience. If you see online dating as the perfect vehicle to find your other half in the next 30 days, you might be disappointed.
My suggestion is to not think of online dating as dating at all. Regardless of what platform you are on, it is a mechanism for meeting people. The ability to align interests and chat before meeting makes it a powerful tool, but it doesn’t change the fact that you haven’t met any of those women yet. So, instead of thinking of her as a potential partner for the future, see her as a person with common interests who you could enjoy getting to know over the course of an hour.
If you have a great first date and want to continue getting to know one another, those expectations will change. A few dates into your relationship, you will likely start forgetting that you even met her online. There is truth to that, because whether it was a friend, website, or app that set you up, you actually met her in person. Where it goes from there is something only you can live.
Until then, stay positive and enjoy connecting with women you may have never had the chance to chat with or get to know. Remember this: online dating can be a beautiful thing, and you are in control of your experience.
What experiences have you had with online dating?
Photo: Flickr/ Ed Yourdon