Online dating sounds simple enough. Choose a dating site or two, set up a profile, and wait for that Ivy League graduate with the hunky abs, chiseled chin and seven-figure net worth to email you or send you an instant message. What? You mean that hasn’t been your experience?
There is a common misconception out there that online dating is so much easier for women than it is for men. While there are certain differences in the dynamics and approach to online dating between men and women, one thing that remains constant is that there is a learning curve involved. It’s comparable to learning to ride a bike — you’re a bit wobbly in the beginning, but soon you get the hang of it.
While we could spin folksy analogies about online dating all day, you likely are reading this article because you are seeking some genuine help with the topic. With that in mind, here are seven essential online dating tips for women.
1. Choose the Dating Site That’s Right for You
There are about as many online dating sites as there are quills on a porcupine. It is important that you choose one that fits the type of match that you are seeking. Long-term relationship, casual encounter, friendship — there are dating sites for all of them.
While you may be tempted to try a “shotgun” approach — joining as many sites as you can find — don’t. It is best to stick to no more than two at a time. Managing more than that becomes unwieldy.
Also, don’t pay for a membership immediately. Use the free trial version of the sites to get a feel for them. If a site doesn’t offer what you are looking for in terms of profiles, features or security — move to another one. Once you feel comfortable with a site, then pay for a membership. You will find that a paid membership will offer you the full user experience that the platform has to offer.
2. Your Profile: Keep It Real, Don’t Be Too Modest, Flaunt What You Got — What?
When it comes to your online profile, do your best to craft one — not simply create one. “What’s the difference?” you may ask.
If you simply create your profile it will most likely read coherently to you, but to a guy scanning hundreds of profiles, it may go unnoticed. A profile that is crafted, on the other hand, establishes a context, sets a narrative and intrigues those who read it.
To accomplish this, avoid long-winded meandering details about yourself. Be memorable. “I love camping” may be accurate, but flat. “I love camping to the point where I will wrestle a bear for the ideal spot to pitch my tent” is colorful and memorable. After a statement like that, there is no need to elaborate further on camping.
Avoid the trap of being overly modest. Lines, such as “I’m just a small-town girl…” or “I like to go with the flow…” do not do you justice. Even if you have a timid personality or sedate tastes, there are things that motivate you — mention those. Do not be afraid to flaunt a few of your accomplishments — be they professional, academic or artistic.
Also, avoid cliche phrases. Even the most exciting sounding cliche will sound dull and uninteresting.
3. Your Profile Photo
To be accurate, this should be plural — photos. Choose one picture to be your main profile pic, but also upload additional pictures of yourself. Strive for a mix of pics that show you in different settings that you enjoy. This not only allows guys to appreciate how attractive you look in different situations but it also subconsciously begins to establish a context about your personality in his head.
Not every picture needs to be a glamor shot. Include a few casual shots to show off your “natural beauty,” even if it took you 50 shots to get it just right.
Avoid poses that are too provocative. Images like those will get you a ton of replies, but they will rarely be the sort of replies that you are looking for. Also, unless you are actively looking to date a mallard, no duckface selfies, please.
4. Be Selective With Your Replies
You will likely receive several emails, instant messages, flirts, winks, hearts, flowers, and whatever other mechanisms for communication your dating platform offers. Reply only to those whom you genuinely want to learn more about. Otherwise, you will be opening yourself up to a never ending stream of the desperate, crazy or sleazy.
5. Look for Red Flags in the Guy’s Profile
It is not difficult to filter out the obvious creeps and psychos simply by reading their profiles. Guys that include active or passive references to sexual activity are not likely to be looking for a long-term relationship. However, there are also other red flags hidden in profiles that are often overlooked. If a guy uses a large number of shallow cliches in his profile, it is likely that he lacks originality. If he includes a list of physical or personality attributes that he is looking for in a woman, he is likely too picky or a control freak. If he fills his profile with self-deprecating remarks, he likely has low self-esteem and lacks confidence. If he includes a pic of himself surrounded by scantily clad women while holding a boa constrictor around his neck as he shows off his nipple rings — well, we’ll let you judge that one.
6. Realistic Expectations for a First Date
When you do come across that one guy that seems perfect, don’t rush to build unrealistic expectations for your first meeting or date. No matter how wonderful, pleasant or romantic your communication has been via email or instant messaging, nothing compares to actually meeting face to face. No matter how cool and collected he seemed online, a first date is still a first date. It’s possible that he’ll be nervous, the conversation may stall — he may even look way different than his profile pic.
Just go into a first meeting/date with realistic expectations. Don’t artificially prejudice your expectations based off a series of pleasant online conversations.
7. Safety First
Just because somebody paid for a membership on an online dating site doesn’t mean that he has been vetted by security professionals. You should always exercise caution and common sense whenever you interact with anybody online.
Before you exchange personal email addresses or phone numbers, make sure that you have spent a few days communicating via your dating site’s messaging platform. Nearly all have an instant messaging system or internal email feature that allow you to hide your real contact information.
When you do decide to meet someone in person, make certain that it takes place in a public location. Always meet him at the location, don’t have him pick you up. Make sure that a friend or family member are aware of where you are and with whom.
— In a Nutshell —
When it comes to online dating as a woman what you are striving for is to be in control of your experience. Be honest and true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to have high standards, but keep your expectations realistic. Be patient — and never compromise out of desperation.