I m going to tell you something that you already know: dating is a frustrating process of trial and error. For a lot of people, it s a seemingly never-ending dance of missed connections, nights you ll never get back again and wondering just what s wrong with you and why everybody else seems to have it so much easier. Even for people like me who enjoy the whole dance and the chase and the thrill of the new, there will be points when you really just want to take a step back from it for a while and catch your breath and let your ego recover from the beatings that tend to come with it. Of course, in practice it s a different story. In fact, for many people, online dating is such a trial that they give up early on. But just as when you re trying to meet your future snugglebunny the old-fashioned way, it s important to understand the potential headaches that come with those marathon OKCupid sessions. Many of the things that drive people away from online dating can be headed off at the pass with some preparation.
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The first step to overcoming your frustration with online dating is to adjust your mindset and expectations accordingly. Online dating takes a different attitude and skill-set than, say, making cold approaches at a bar or flirting with someone you met at a house party. Studies show that between 75% to 98% of communication is non-verbal. When we meet somebody in person, we have hundreds of thousands of verbal and non-verbal clues to give us an intuitive grasp of who we re talking to and whether or not we re into them long before we go up and introduce ourselves. Everything from how they stand to how they talk, who they talk to, how they act around their friends, how they smell, even the pitch and timbre of their voice indicate whether or not we re likely to have an initial attraction to them that would prompt us to make that all-important first approach. We re able to process all of these signals so rapidly that we re often unaware of it to our conscious mind, we re just eliding over the ones who we read as nope, not interested while we narrow our focus on the people who do it for us. All of this subconscious presentation and filtering is lost in online dating all we have are our words and our photos, so we have to consider how to craft as attractive a snapshot of ourselves as possible. In online forums and gaming where many people meet their partners how we express ourselves and our personality acts as the initial attractors. Similarly, we try to divine as much of that information as possible from the dating profile photo and username even before we start in on the dating profile. This is why you have to take care to understand exactly to. It takes very little to accidentally give the impression that you re and as we all know, there s nothing that makes panties evaporate faster than complaining about how often you get stuck in the Friend Zone. You have to treat your dating profile as an advertisement you are, after all,. This means that you have to consider your market, what you re looking for and what makes you, specifically, attractive to others. OKCupid, for example, is structured more heavily towards casual dating and hooking up. Match.
You also have to consider where and how to present your best self. If you re the sort of person who s clever and witty, then you want to look more towards a site like OKCupid that lets you display your humor like the tail of an Oscar Wilde-loving peacock. At the same time, you re less likely to have success when dealing with dating/hook-up apps like Grindr or Tinder. You re going strictly by photos you only have a chance to wow them with your wit after they ve decided you look fuckable. Speaking of the offline dating mindset: you re going to have to accept that online dating is even more of a numbers game than dating in IRL or meatspace or whatever the cool kids are calling the world these days. Sorry. It s part of the price of entry, and it s better that adjust your expectations accordingly instead of dealing with the slow burn of WHY WON T THE MAGICAL BOX PROVIDE ME WITH SEX? Remember what I said earlier about how we mentally filter people into attractive and not attractive when we meet them in person? The lack of non-verbal cues that attract us to others don t carry across in online dating and, as a result, you ll occasionally come across people who seem great on paper but who don t turn you on in person. We can get as righteous as we d like about getting to know somebody s soul or the purity of meeting people without our hangups about looks, but without that physical component, it s impossible to guarantee that you re going to be attracted to somebody in person. This is why so many people get first dates that go nowhere you may have had great intellectual or , but physically, it just wasn t going to work. And the answer to this is, simply: date more. And that s where the benefit of the numbers game comes in.
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Many people treat online dating as though they were talking to somebody in a bar. In the physical world, unless you re, flirting with several different people simultaneously is a major faux-pas and likely to leave you going home alone possibly wearing several drinks. We often carry this mindset over into online dating and start to give one person usually the first one to respond all of our attention, ignoring everybody else until that first conversation has run it s course. This is a mistake and one that makes online dating considerably more inefficient and tedious. One of the advantages of online dating is that you are capable of carrying on several asynchronous conversations, fielding responses from persons X and Y while also sending out an introductory message to person Z. You can and should cast your net far and wide. Focusing on one single person even if you re at the meeting in person stage puts far too much importance on them and makes it sting worse if it doesn t work out the way you d hope. You want to be using a shotgun, not a spear. Of course, before you can get those dates, you have to make your profile stand out the right way. Most people who have trouble making online dating work for them make the cardinal mistake that gets drilled into anyone who s ever taken a basic creative writing course: they re too busy telling about themselves instead of showing. Some of the oldest and most boring cliches of online dating are the people who just say that they re some attractive quality without anything to back it up. Saying that you re funny or spontaneous or romantic is the dating site equivalent of I listen to a little bit of everything except country and rap. It s so generic as to mean nothing. Everyone has heard it a thousand times before they saw your profile and they didn t believe it any of those times either.
In the great chain of credibility, being told something is the least believable. Having a second party tell vouch for you is more believable, but being able to show that quality is instant credibility. I could say I m Dr. NerdLove, Millionaire and that I own a mansion and a yacht and most folks would brush me off. On the other hand, if your friend tells you about the incredibly lavish party they went to at NerdLove Manor (aka: the ) last weekend, you re more inclined to believe that yes, I am a millionaire with a mansion and a yacht. And if I happen to sail past your house which is quite the feat when you live in the middle of a land-locked city, let me tell you then you re far more likely to believe. This is why you want to demonstrate those qualities, to the best of your ability. And since you re dealing with dating profiles, that means using your words and your pictures. Take humor for example. Everyone claims to be funny in their profile and most of them are as dull as dry toast when you meet them in person. If you want people to believe that you re a laugh riot, you have to show them. If you have a sharp wit or a way with words, work that into your profile. Don t call attention to it, just work it into your About Me section or What I m Looking For. If your brand of humor trends to the physical or being silly, then post that picture of you as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from last Halloween or doing something wacky.
Telling somebody you re adventurous is similarly unhelpful. Don t say that you re athletic, mention that you take part in an amateur soccer league or have a cool photo of you and some of your teammates after your latest scrimmage. Remember: the web is a visual medium. Photos that back up what you say in your profile will give you more appeal and credibility than just saying something. I ve gone on about the importance of before. These are going to be the corner stone of your time in online dating. People are going to look at your photos long before they bother going through the rest of your profile. If your photos look like somebody accidentally snapped your photo while trying to find Bigfoot, they re never going to bother with the rest of your profile. I m a big proponent of putting your time and effort in the areas that will give you the most return for your investment and in online dating, that s your main profile photo. If you can manage it, I strongly recommend having a professionally done headshot for your profile. Failing that, have a talented friend take a few for you. Just remember that you want something that shows a little of your personality, not something that looks like Picture Day in junior high. You want your main photo to stand out from the crowd. A simple background puts the emphasis on you and makes you pop.
A splash of color a brightly colored shirt, for example will also catch the eye, especially when compared to the mirror-selfies and the washed out party snaps that seem to populate every dating site ever. Let the rest of your photos be candids, but be sure only to pick the ones that you look good in.