Online daters can have an appealing profile and still find themselves date-less or otherwise dissatisfied with their love lives. The dating profile – very much like the career résumé – is only one of the necessary means to a successful end. It is a marketing tool and, therefore, must be given due consideration. If the marketing tool is not substantiated in “real life” though it becomes null and void. Consider the professional who has an eloquently written, accomplishment-laden résumé which secures them countless interviews for coveted roles, yet they remain unemployed or stuck in their current role. Some reasons this might occur:
a) They are ill-prepared
b) Their self-presentation is lacking (i.e. an image consultant is in their future)
c) They are nervous and it shows
d) Their communication skills are not where they need to be
e) They are not a good “fit” for the organization
Whatever the case may be, dating – and online dating specifically – is not much different. Your profile needs to be substantiated, or at least complemented, by who you are and how you present yourself in a “live” setting.
When you are ready to approach someone after having read their profile, put something catchy in the subject line. By the way…wazzup, loved your profile, wanna chat? and hey…are NOT catchy, or original.
Write something that demonstrates that you’ve read their profile. For example, if their profile says that Pulp Fiction is their favourite movie on the planet, and it’s yours too…use a quote from the movie as your subject line. Same thing goes for the body of your message. Keep it short, to the point and appeal to something they’ve said in their profile – it shows interest, your ability to relate to them and acts as a seamless icebreaker. Be sure to ask an open-ended question (one that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no”) to encourage a response.
Stacie’s Tip # 2: Limit your online dating time
Online dating can be overwhelming, addictive, a procrastination tool, an escape, or a source of cheap entertainment and empty companionship. When used properly and efficiently, however, it can be a vehicle to romantic success. If you are actively dating online and your intention is to meet that special someone (rather than becoming/being a professional online dater), try:
a) Spending no more than one hour per day on dating websites
b) Setting a quantitative goal (i.e. send out five e-mails tonight) OR
c) Setting a qualitative goal (i.e. get to know someone better this evening)
Being focused and using your time wisely will help to ensure a better and more enjoyable online dating experience. Roaming aimlessly will ensure you lose your perspective and get swept away in the sea of profiles, most of whom are not a fit for you.
Stacie’s Tip # 3: Revisit your profile
Look for negatively phrased statements. These can easily be reframed to sound more positive without changing the intent. For example, instead of writing: “If you don’t have any pictures posted, and if you’re not hot, don’t bother contacting me” you could write: “I take pride in my appearance and spend a lot of my free time at the gym. I am looking to connect with like-minded people as this is something that is really important to me. I look forward to seeing your pictures and perhaps connecting”. See the difference? Which person would you rather date? I know what you’re thinking but before you say “neither because this person is a shallow jerk”…consider this: isn’t the purpose of dating to find someone with whom we are compatible? Wouldn’t you prefer to know why something is important to someone else upfront? Whether you like the example or not, the point is that when you reframe your negative communications others will naturally respond to you more often, more genuinely, and more positively. Wherever possible, replace “cannot” with “can”, “don’t” with “do”, etc.
Stacie’s Tip # 4: Do not develop an online love affair before meeting
Too often online daters engage in dialogue – whether through the online dating site on which they met, Blackberry Messenger, an instant messaging platform like MSN or AOL, text messages, telephone or regular e-mail – before ever agreeing or deciding to meet in person. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to get to know the person a little bit before meeting them, spending too much time in the absence of a face-to-face meeting – where you don’t yet know whether that elusive “chemistry” will be there – creates too many expectations and places unnecessary pressure on your eventual first meeting. Try to minimize your online discussions to one or two evenings – one hour maximum per exchange – and one or two phone calls. Then…set a date and continue your conversation in person. Try to limit initial contact to phone calls and face-to-face meetings until you’ve determined that you are interested in pursuing each other with the same long-term goal in mind.
Please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re currently online dating, considering it or taking a break from it…I would love to hear your stories!