By Katherine Lee, LCSW
Ever feel like you’re wasting time (and money) on dating websites? There are many reasons why people feel frustrated with online dating, including the initial process of trying to connect with someone online in the first place. Ever felt stuck trying to land a good match, let alone schedule an actual date? In this blog I’ll cover ways to hopefully increase your odds of connecting with individuals on most online dating sites.
Length and content balance of an introductory greeting count
While you’ll want to steer clear of sending an essay, you’ll also want to say more than just a simple, “hello.” Many women (and likely men, for that matter) won’t reply to messages that are little more than a “Hey,” or, “What’s up?” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pop-psych/201407/some-free-consulting-advice-improving-online-dating. I usually advise sending a concise greeting, (no longer than 2 paragraphs), including a couple of unique lines about what drew you to a person’s profile. Other than the common line, “you have a nice smile,” maybe you’ll take notice of their work ethic, interests, or love of pets, among other things. (Remember not to copy and paste your compliments from one profile to another. It doesn’t usually work.) Just like in real life, overuse of “I” statements in online greetings tend to make the person on the receiving end feel put off, or tuned out. On the other hand—making the message solely about the other person doesn’t provide enough information about you, and what you have to offer. Writing a few lines about yourself, your traits, and what you can bring to a potential relationship shows confidence, as well as genuineness.
Variety in photos is Key
If you’re in the market for more than a fling, creating a profile saturated with “selfies” may not get you what you’re looking for. On the other hand—too many pictures of exotic travel locations, of one’s pets or children, or even of group photos with friends/family is also a problem. Your potential date has to get a true sense of who YOU are through your pics, which doesn’t bode well if you don’t have at least several pictures that showcase you as an individual. Other articles suggest that showing photos that represent your personality is successful, as we tend to find people more attractive when we think they have good personalities. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/a-psychologists-guide-to-online-dating/282225/2/. Bottom line—you’ll want to have a variety of pictures that give meaning to who you genuinely are, which others can’t really surmise from a ton of vacation photos.
Don’t wait too long to schedule a date
So you’ve connected with a potential match. They’ve responded to your greeting, and you’re in contact. Now what? Many people try to prolong the process of emailing or texting before actually scheduling a date. This could be for various reasons: Maybe you’re not sure when the “right time” is to ask this person out, or you want to make sure you get enough of a sense of who they are so that you don’t make the wrong decision. The truth is—you’ll never know how well you’ll vibe with someone until you actually meet in person. Research shows that too much online communication before meeting can skew expectations, and may sabotage a match: “People tend to read too much into emails and other online conversations, which increases the potential for misunderstandings and disappointment.” http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/06/health/online-dating-pitfalls/. Not to mention—in the online dating world, it’s safe to assume that the person you’re in contact with is likely chatting with other potential matches at the same time. Waiting too long to meet him or her may lead to a missed opportunity.
Navigating the online dating world can be an intimidating and frustrating process. It can lead to successful online connections (pre-date) if you follow certain steps. And if all else fails—give the online scene a break. Try meeting someone through a mutual hobby, Meetup group, or speed dating event. Online dating will always be an option.