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When it comes to dating online, expecting truth-in-advertising from the profiles you view and feeling safe with potential dates is essential. How do you know whether the person who looks so great on your mobile dating app is too good to be true or is a perfect match for you?
Between catfishing, where someone pretends to be a completely different person, to dogfishing, where they post photos in their online dating profile of a neighbor’s puppy hoping to grab your attention, having your digital antennas up to avoid that disappointing feeling on a first date is important.
But people don’t need to become cyber detectives or conduct background checks to find someone who matches their profile to a digital T. In fact, since most couples are now meeting online, there’s evidence that you can find someone who’s just looking for love and a meaningful connection, just like you.
To attract a great and genuine match, let’s start with these tips.
And write down what makes you an excellent match for someone. You have to know what you want and what you offer before you go looking for it.
Before crafting your profile, list your value and hobbies, and be specific about what type of relationship you’re looking for. Writing things down helps and makes them more of a goal than just a vague wish.
Then reflect on this list to see what items you want to have in common with a match and what items don’t matter as much. These are the things you need to look for when browsing profiles.
If you’re newly single and want to date multiple people, state in your profile that you’re looking for something casual. If you know you’re interested in a serious relationship, own it so those viewing your profile won’t waste your time — or theirs — if they’re looking to hook up.
If you want to find someone genuine, then you need to be authentic as well. Those little white lies you tell about being younger, thinner, taller, or richer will come out pretty quickly once you meet in person, if not before.
In other words, be the person you want to attract. Look in the mirror and own your worth. Remember that no one is perfect, and we all have flaws and life lessons. That doesn’t mean you should rant about your breakup or work problems in your profile, but do yourself a favor and post current photos that reflect your actual age, so there’s truth in advertising on your end.
Often the best profiles are those in which someone makes fun of themselves or is honest by stating, for example, that they have a goal to be able to run a marathon but aren’t there yet.
So, if they say they have a hot body and describe themselves as ripped, know that they may be posting old photos, and may even be sporting a few extra pounds.
If someone describes themselves as genuine, kind, and honest, take them at face value, even if they use the cliché and say “My friends describe me as a great catch.”
Remember that a picture still tells a thousand words, so if they include photos with their family, can be seen in a variety of settings, and they don’t try to look like a model, chances are that they’re a good catch for someone, and that someone could be you.
If they only post one photo, a blurry shot, or none at all, it’s a big red flag. Someone genuine will take the time to complete a profile that’s not filled with selfies and party shots because they know they’ll be compared to hundreds of other suitors.
Check out their relationship status on their profile, and hop over to their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to see if they’re labeled as single, divorced, or separated. If they are separated, you have permission to ask when their divorce is expected to be final, or whether they’ve filed or not.
Scheduling a phone, Facetime, or Skype date can be a lot of fun if distance gets in the way and you can’t meet in real life right away. This way, you can actually preview what someone looks like in advance, and see their communication skills in action
It also helps to know their love language, so I recommend reading Gary Chapman’s bestselling book “The Five Love Languages” to find yours and to share if asked.
These days, I’m finding men are providing their last name, email, and website information in advance of meeting to help women feel safer. A confident person will want to prove that they are worthy of having a date with you, and they will want to rank at the top of your date card.
When you’re chatting, remember to ask a potential date some fun questions such as “Who is your hero?” “What is your passion in life?” “What celebrity would you like to go to dinner with?” or “What was the last movie you saw?”
Other questions to move the conversation along and learn about their background in a friendly way can include “What type of work do you do?” “What’s your family like?” “How would your friends describe you?” and “Where did you grow up?”
At the end of the digital day, you need to trust your intuition. If you sense something is not right, proceed with caution or skip that profile altogether. Be patient in your search and always put your personal safety first. There’s just something amazing when your gut alerts you to decide whether to move forward or not. Good luck!