A lot of my single friends moan to me about how hard it is to date online. I can’t help but notice, though, that I hear very different complaints from men than from women (at least the straight ones—my gay friends are another matter).
Men looking to meet women online often tell me they feel frustrated because women don’t write back to them. Women, on the other hand, tell me they get quantity rather than quality in terms of men writing to them. It doesn’t take a genius or The Love Queen to deduce that these two problems are related. As someone with a bit of insight into both sides’ concerns, here is my advice.
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How to date online – Advice for Men
Men: Look for similarities
Many men make the mistake of writing to a woman they’ve seen on an online dating site, solely on the basis of her photo and geographic proximity. But selecting the hottest babe in your zip code isn’t the best formula for getting you dates. I’m not suggesting you choose someone you don’t find attractive—instead, choose attractive women with whom you seem to have something in common.
What to write in your first message
You are almost guaranteed to fail if you write to a woman on a dating site telling her “You are gorgeous/sexy/hot.” Sorry to break it to you, but this kind of e-mail makes you seem generic and boring. Most reasonably attractive women with online dating profiles receive dozens of those kind of responses per week—in some cases, dozens per day. Your compliment won’t stand out from all the other responses in her inbox. She’ll be bored–not because she’s vain, but because you haven’t said anything to convince her the two of you belong together.
However, if you choose to write to women who share your interests, you gain many opportunities for intriguing opening lines. Set your search parameters to find a woman who enjoys the same authors, TV shows, movies or hobbies as you. Then write her with an intelligent observation—something along the lines of “I love author X’s books, too. Which one is your favorite?” Or if both of your profiles reveal a love of hiking, share a short anecdote about your favorite trail, then ask about her recent experiences in the great outdoors. If she writes in her profile that she is studying a foreign tongue you happen to speak, open your first email to her by saying in that language “How was your day?”
Sometimes it’s necessary to do a bit of tweaking your profile to make this work. If a gorgeous woman in your area writes in her profile that she loves science fiction, go back and amend your profile to include our favorite sci-fi books or movies. I definitely don’t advocate dishonesty here—if you hate sci-fi and her profile doesn’t reveal any other common ground with you, simply move on. You’re better off approaching another woman who does share your enthusiasm for surfing or Italian food or country music. Remember, there’s no such thing as an abstract “perfect woman.” But there is a woman who may be perfect for you (either long-term or short-term). The secret to finding that perfection is by emphasizing similar beliefs and interests.
How to Date online: Advice for Women
Women: Learn the art of weeding out
Women are often encouraged from childhood onward to be as likable as possible. We learn at our mothers’ knees to please others. This can actually work against us when placing an online profile. I tell all my single girlfriends who are looking for a man online and frustrated with wading through boringly similar (or offensively forward) responses: don’t be too likeable.
To find someone who clicks with you, someone who will like you for more than your cute smile and killer bod, talk about some of your personal quirks. A man who is naïve and immature enough to want the “ideal woman” is less likely to waste your time if you reveal in your profile one or two of the things that make you a specialized, rather than a mass-market, girlfriend. State up front, for instance, that you hate football. Or write about how much you dislike cooking. You don’t have to write a book about your little oddities and preferences—just a few succinct lines, couched in a humorous tone. The result will be fewer men writing you, but those responses you receive will be from men more likely to appreciate you for who you are, not someone seeking to project some adolescent dream girl image onto you.
Men and Women: Final Online Dating Advice
Be unique but don’t be weird! My friend tried talking to a guy online who within minutes was asking her really personal questions and things like ‘what do you miss most about not being in a relationship? for me its cuddles.’ This might sound really cute and it would be once you have created some intimacy but its not a good starter as it makes you seem intense and maybe a stalker!
Conversely a male friend of mine was asked to read a specific book and tell her his opinion of it. He googled it and read the synopsis and realised it was about a man who was always horrible to women but got his comeuppance in the end. So it was a not very hidden attempt to see if he is a good guy or not, but its way too obvious, and is actually a way to attract abusers unfortunately since they will spot you as someone vulnerable. A nice twist on this could just be to ask a guy to read a book you really like, but make sure you choose the book carefully as your taste will reveal a lot about you!
If you feel nervous when chatting online to potential dates, why not get a friend round to help you with what to say, another’s perspective can be great but choose the right friend for the job.
Read this if you want to know more about how to fill in the best online dating profile.
Dont forget to stay safe!
The Love Queen!
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