When I’m on an online date, the men usually end up asking me for analysis of their online dating skills: how was their profile, how do they compare to other men. They want to feel like they are “good” at online dating. I always answer the question the same way: You got me on a date.
It’s not the answer they are looking for, but it’s the truth. I can write profiles all day long. I read even more. I know great profiles. But, unfortunately, there is no Pulitzer for best written dating profile.
For men and women, your goal is not the best profile. Your goal is a date. Your profile can help reach that goal, but always keep the bigger picture in mind.
It doesn’t matter much if you’re the love child of William Shakespeare and Ernest Hemingway. If you’re not getting dates, you’re not good at online dating. If you’re getting dates, you are Charlie Sheen-style winning.
Here are some simple tips to help you make you good at online dating:
1. Who is viewing your profile and/or contacting you?
Are you attracting the type and level of people you want to attract? There will be some bottom feeders for sure, but are there also some decent ones?
If yes, move to point 3. If no one is looking at your profile or the only people who are aren’t what you’d want, move to point 2.
2. Change your primary profile picture.
Even in online dating, initial attraction is visually based. The primary photograph is by far the most important picture, so choose it wisely.
The great thing about online dating is that you never have to marry your initial profiles or pictures. Change things that don’t work.
If you’re using a picture with you far away, consider a close-up. If you have a friend who tinkers in photography, barter a lunch date for some photos with you in natural light with a crisp foreground and the background out of focus.
You have to think about how your primary photo looks lined up against a bunch of other thumbnail-size photos of your peers. You want to stand out in a good way. If you’re a female, your pictures are your greatest asset to attracting males.
“Online dating is a numbers game.”
3. Quality over quantity in your written profile.
Say meaningful and interesting things, not just facts and ho-hums about how you never thought you’d do online dating.
I’ll write at least a dozen future columns on how to write a good profile, but the sound bite advice is to write something you can have a conversation about.
The strategy behind the written profile isn’t just to get to know you, it’s to evoke enough interest to make a conversation. Write to the audience you are trying to attract.
4. Are your emails/winks/flirts being responded to?
If not, you need to look at who you’re contacting — are they in your league, or are you throwing up Hail Marys?
And two, tweak your approach. The sound bite advice to good email writing is asking meaningful questions. For males, if you’re going to throw your effort behind anything, make it your emails.
5. Make plans to meet in person.
If you’re getting interaction in emails, make sure you’re moving your online relationship into plans to meet in person.
You probably didn’t sign into online dating to make pen pals — you were looking for a human connection. You have to make that leap or all the other work is pointless. Use the emails to plan meeting in person.
6. Rejection is inevitable.
Rejection/being ignored is par for the course and is in NO way indicative of being bad at online dating. No one bats 100 percent, and even when you get to the dates, you’ll find some people aren’t what you were expecting. That’s OK.
Online dating is a numbers game where the more times you get up to bat, the more chances you have to hit a home run.
And you only need one home run (or one person who totally rocks your world) to be the best online dater of all time. (My apologies to polygamists and polyamorous folks, that last part was not meant for you.)