According to Statista, in 2019, an estimated 38 million Americans joined the online world to meet other singles. This number has been on the rise and is projected to continue growing. About 25% of online dating users have met their romantic partners online. Although this is a pretty impressive number, it seems a bit disappointing for the majority of singles that hope to meet their ideal, perhaps their soulmate. So how do we increase our chances of meeting the one? How do we minimize the heartache, the rejections, the catfish, the ghosters, the serial daters, the stalkers, and get to the one that’s just right?
It’s time to turn this exhausting and unpredictable game into an enjoyable and productive experience. In this blog, I address what it takes to be successful at online dating, to create a better profile, engage with other singles, and meet more suitable people. You will inevitably save your sanity as you dive into the ocean of endless personalities and character traits. These recommendations are not gender-specific and can be used by anyone. They are based on my ten years of experience as a relationship coach and behavior assessment specialist along with my personal experiences.
Before I break down the rules of the game, I must address the most critical step we should all contemplate before considering to date; an inventory of our own psyche. Preparing to meet new people requires evaluating our own strengths and weakness, but most importantly our intention. Dating can be fun and entertaining, but it can also bring about many doubts and letdowns. The online space has no entry requirements. Anyone with access to the digital world can step in and be whoever they want to be.
For that reason, it’s critical that you have clear and positive intentions as well as the resiliency to get through many layers of nonsense and align with like-minded individuals.
Keep in mind that we must invest time into personal development and growth to build the courage to go forward in the name of love. It is imperative that we face our emotional wounds, the traumas, and the misconceptions we have of ourselves and our ideal mate before jumping to meet anyone new. This is why I use The ULT Technology to help my clients broaden their understanding of self and their best match. Without an in-depth analysis of ourselves, we leave our love life to chance. You see, novelty is exhilarating. It’s a shot of dopamine that we all want. The exchange of attention, interest, physical touch, compliments, and butterflies are what we get off of. Most of us prefer to have multiple occurrences of these fleeting effects than to make deeper and more meaningful connections. So it is inevitable that after a short while, we circle right back to the same place we went with the last person. Self-doubt, insecurities, and the behavior we resent in ourselves and in the other person show their face. It feels like someone pushed you off a cliff and you’re about to crash hard. The pain is too much to bear. So we start to dig up something to hold on to as an excuse, the reason as to why it didn’t work out. Though shortly after, we dust ourselves off and start all over with little or no time spent in realizing our true yearnings and measure of readiness.
If more people took their time to self-reflect and be transparent with themselves, then dating would naturally be a more connected and authentic journey.
I’m going to assume that you’ve done the preliminary work, and are ready and optimistic to move forward. The following steps can be applied to any online dating platform that provides space for serious daters.
It all starts with your online profile.
For the longest time, the profile descriptions have been a compilation of generic adjectives, i.e., I’m a funny, active, hopeless romantic, and a family-oriented person looking to meet someone with a sense of humor who has an active lifestyle and is successful, kind, beautiful and intelligent. Profiles as such are too basic. The only thing that could speak of your unique personality would then be dependent on the photographs that you upload. The only trouble with analyzing your images is the subjective opinions people can form about you. With the new wave of improvements in the platforms themselves, we see many opportunities to provide specific information about ourselves. But how much is too much? Keep it simple, real, and intriguing. We’ve got to stop this overly amp-ed up expression of who we think we are and what we want to display to others. You don’t need to keep up with the trend. Let people know who you are at a glance and stay away from terms that are socially desirable, yet unattainable. Depending on the online platform you’re on, you will have limitations on how long your profile is allowed to be. However, the best and most intriguing profiles are the ones that share something specific about the individual without the need to be impressive.
Remember, you want to attract the person who will vibe with you and not wow-ed with you.
Here’s an example of a short and telling profile description:
<< One of my favorite places that I’ve recently visited is Madrid because of the variety of museums, architecture, culture, parks, people, fashion, plant-based dining, and music that it offers. Imagine going to a place that gives you everything that you’re into. Have you ever visited a place that makes your heart sing?>>
You see, in this profile, you’re letting the reader know so much about you without explicitly telling them about who you are and what you want in life. You’ve got to allow that part to unfold naturally and authentically. So give them something factual that has happened. It speaks volumes and provides an opportunity for a dialogue.
The pictures that you post matter.
Choose yours carefully and analyze others wisely. Your eyes are the window to your soul. Stay clear of pictures with sunglasses or hats that cover your eyes, regardless of how beautiful the scenery is. Remember, the goal is to connect with the right person and not to win the popularity contest. A lot of people do not know who important it is to show their face, especially the eyes. Post solo and recent photos of yourself. No need to show off your friends, children, family members, or colleagues. You can share those photos after you’ve filtered out the qualified candidates. Stay clear of posting group photos, no matter how good you look in them.
Excessive Photoshop, Snapchat, and Instagram filters send off an entirely different message. Overdoing something that was intended for fun, can give off a message of insecurity, immaturity, and fear of showing the real you to the world. Additionally, make sure your images are of high quality and not pixelated.
The demographic and your attire in your photos also speak volumes. If you’re into partying, drinking, and living a wild life, then it’s ok to have pictures of your lifestyle on your profile. But if that is not your primary way of life, then don’t post pictures of you holding a bottle and looking tipsy, just because you like the outfit you have on or the lighting in your picture. At the same time, posting photos of yourself doing something adventurous in every photo could represent only one dimension of your existence. Not every image needs to be of you doing some kind of an extreme sport.
Variety and quantity are essential. Add pictures of you in different settings and keep them no more than 6 images. Anything more than that is too much.
What are you looking for?
This is the part where most people get stuck and stay with General qualifications such as; Kind, Smart, Beautiful/Handsome, Sense of Humor, Fit, Adventurous, etc. Include in your profile, something specific that you would like to do with your partner or that you would really enjoy learning from your partner. In platforms such as Bumble, Hinge, or Tinder, where your images stand out the most, use the captions on your photos or the ice-breaker questions to include a short sentence that would speak to your sense of humor and perspective on life. Again keep it short and sweet. You would be surprised how important words and images can be, even outside of the attraction factor.
If you’re visiting, someone’s profile, take your time and review how they present themselves before swiping right or left. Go beyond the generalized ‘Cuteness’ factor.
The evaluation part:
When you look at someone’s profile, and you see that they like to drink alcohol and you’re not a drinker, collect that as a red flag. When you see that they want kids and you have determined that you do not want to have kids, mark that as a flag. When you see that they smoke and you can’t tolerate smoking, mark that as a red flag. At the same time, anything that you see that you can learn something from, that you would admire, and also are similar to you, mark them as points. Then see if the points outweigh the flags or the other way around. A lot of times, we mask things from the beginning because we’re hopeful that our special feeling for one another, will get us through our fundamental differences in life. Only to find out that they will be the very things that will break us up. So do your objective evaluation before you have developed that special feeling and have invested your time and energy.
The initial interaction:
When it comes to initiating a dialogue, start with the legendary word: Hi and a smiley face emoji perhaps, adding a little virtual emotion to your introduction. This is, in fact, the only time, I recommend using emojis in your online correspondence when you first meet. Stay away from using emojis to communicate. You don’t want to leave the interpretation of your message on someone else’s subjective understanding of them. Reserve the personal questions to the actual in-person date. Questions, such as what do you do? Where are you from? Where do you live? How many kids do you have? Where did you grow up? Tell me about your last relationship? What are you looking for? What are you doing this weekend? are not appropriate to ask before you have met the person. Stay with what they have freely made available for you to know about them based on their profile. Don’t get stuck in the back and forth trap of online communication and waste too much time on one person. This is why catfish became a thing. Women, please allow the guy to propose an invitation to see you. Men, don’t beat around the bush. If you’re interested in her, ask her when she’s free to meet in person. If there is no plan to meet in person after the second time you have said hello to each other online, then they’re dragging you along for their own entertainment.
How you can decipher between someone interested in getting to know you or not, is their initiative to make plans to see you.
It’s nerve-wracking and exciting to meet someone new who is as eager to meet you. It’s crucial that you allow this unfolding to happen while you’re sober. I understand the desire to want to have some alcohol to take the edge off but with that comes a price. You start to show a different side of yourself while your perception will be slightly skewed. Learning how to communicate and relate while sober is the foundation of a healthy relationship. If you and the other person are dependent on alcohol or even drugs to interact, then you’re setting the tone for the kind of relationship you’ll be having with them.
The bottom line is that everything starts with YOU. Your limits, boundaries, desires, goals, dreams, availability, lifestyle, flexibility, perception, and energy must be crystal clear to you before you can be successful at starting and maintaining a healthy relationship. Keep in mind, that you are your own point of attraction. When you’re in a better place in your life, you’re more likely to be drawn to someone who is also on the same path. Don’t fixate on meeting The One to appease your boredom and loneliness, instead keep investing in your well-being and practicing the integration of your personal development work in every aspect of your life.
It will show in your online profile.