Yes, it’s our obligatory Valentine Day’s week post on online dating. Did you know 1 in 5 relationships now start online? As someone who met her husband online — 19 years ago over a 2400 baud modem — I’m going to put it out there that if you’re not happy with your relationship status, I think you should go for it this spring.
Not because, dear reader, you need a man to make you happy, but because some man is missing out on you right now.
I recently had the chance to speak with Kimberly Moffit at Match.com about online dating, and I asked her about mistakes to avoid when online dating. Here’s what she shared with me.
Don’t negate the power of your picture
Any picture at all will get you 10 times the views for your profile that a profile with no picture will get – and remember, online dating is a numbers game. Other things to avoid: Don’t focus on who you were in the past – leave out kids, dogs, holiday sweaters and so on. Get a friend to take a new picture and take a picture that features your face – that’s what people want to see. It’s best if it’s a picture that makes you feel great when you log in.
Don’t mistake dating for sales
Yes, your online profile should be positive – but it should also reflect who you are. Don’t claim you love hiking when you prefer takeout. Share what you really love – that author you think isn’t highbrow enough might just be what draws someone’s interest.
Don’t be vague
If you’re not interested in dating anyone under 35 – say so. There is no sense wasting your time and theirs when you’re going to go home and decide there is no way you can continue to see anyone who thinks Madonna’s version of “American Pie” is the original.
Don’t treat email like a novel
Keep your first message short, specific and focused on setting up the next step – usually a date. The point is to see if the other person’s interested, not to share your life story in the hopes of discovering you’re soul mates. The soul can wait a week.
Don’t waste your time or theirs
Over 90% of people know within the first 15 minutes of a date whether there’s hope for the relationship or not. If you already know there’s no spark, it is just fine to say “thanks for your time, but I really don’t see us together.” It might seem a little harsh, but remember that you’re there for a goal: To find someone you want to date, not to provide conversation for all comers. (Kimberly points out that Match.com helps you manage your time better by learning your preferences with their “daily 5″ feature – something to keep in mind when choosing a dating site.)
Don’t give up too soon
It’s rare that your first date will be the person you find suitable long-term, so give yourself room to keep looking. Keep a time frame like six months in mind, and push yourself to try one or two dates a week during that time. You’ll be more likely to meet someone compatible than if you go in bursts of frantic dating followed by periods of keeping to yourself.
If you are entering or have entered the world of online dating, share your tips and tribulations in the comments! And for more don’t miss Everything you wanted to know about midlife dating.