When it comes to dating apps, I’m pretty much the authority within my group of friends. My first relationship started on OKCupid, and most others after that—one almost relationship, one serious relationship, and a handful of really great friendships— all began with Tinder.
I’ve been on and off dating sites for about the last 5 years. At this point in time, I’m not using them seriously—but man oh man, I used to.
So, whenever guy friends of mine are having trouble— I try my best to help out. Below, I’ve put together my top 12 tips for online dating success for heterosexual men.
For the love of all things holy: Know What You Want.
I can’t stress this enough. Figure out what you want to get out of online dating before you really jump into it. Do you want something casual? Do you want something serious? Are you even looking to date someone? Get this figured out.
Once you have that together, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach people on the app or website. It’s easy to tell when a guy doesn’t know what he wants to get out of meeting people online, and more often than not: This either leads to miscommunication or ghosting.
Your Profile Tells A Story
Online dating has some pretty straightforward rules:
Don’t be crude. Fill out your profile.
Those are pretty much it. Now, that being said— I would argue that there should be another rule here: Actually put some effort into your profile.
Whether you’re trying to use this dating site to get laid or find a meaningful relationship, put in some effort. Yes, it does take some time out of your day to do, but chances are that the women you’re meeting put some effort into their profile.
So, play by the rules, and fill the damn thing out.
It’s the same idea as meeting up with someone in person for the first time. You want to look nice. Your profile is likely the first thing that they’re going to see, so make it nice and make it genuine to you. It really isn’t that difficult.
Tips for a good profile:
- Put up flattering pictures that are recent— or at least look like you now.
- Don’t try too hard to be clever, witty, or funny. If you’re naturally sarcastic, and see opportunities for jokes that don’t sound forced, great! If it feels forced, get rid of it.
- Be genuine. Give us a good idea of what makes you tick, without giving us your entire life story.
- Don’t be so serious. Dating should be fun. If reading your profile makes me think that you’re willing to date anyone with a pretty face and a vagina because you’re so desperate to get married by the time you’re 30— I’m ‘noping’ the hell out of there.
Actually Read Her Profile
“Hey”, “Ur so pretty”, “sup”, “I’m not good at starting these things, but…”
When you take a few minutes to actually read her profile, you should be able to find at least one or two things to ask about or comment on. Do that instead of sending ANY of the above ‘icebreakers’.
Also, building a bit on that: After looking through her profile, consider the first thing you want to comment on. Then, toss it out. She’s already gotten 20 identical messages. Pick the second thing, and save the first for when you have some rapport.
Don’t Use Her Name
This one is hit or miss. If you’re on an app that readily displays their first time, feel free to use it. However, if you’re on a website that makes you use a username— unless she specifically wrote her name down in her profile, or told you her name: do not use it. Also, do not assume that you know her name from her username.
Basically, to avoid looking like an ass: Unless she tells you her name, or you already know each other— don’t use it. It can come off as a little creepy and off-putting.
There is nothing more unattractive than a people-pleaser. Don’t try to be the guy you think she’ll like. Be unapologetically you, and you’ll find someone who will complement that.
Once you’ve found someone you like— don’t try so hard to prove to them that you’re interesting. If she’s replying consistently, you’re golden.
Just. Be. Genuine.
Get Better At Starting Conversations
“Hi, how are you?” can go die. The resulting conversation is always banal. Also, avoid using variations of the following:
- “Hey, I think you’re cool. Do you want to get to know each other?”
- “Is it alright if we chat?”
- “So, tell me about yourself.”
Whenever possible, consider using an appropriate GIF to break the ice. Pictures speak louder than words, and GIFs speak louder than pictures.
If it’s not possible, find something that you find interesting about the person you’re messaging and comment on it— or ask an interesting open-ended question about it. However, I would stray away from anything that’s too advice-oriented or analytical. The goal is to create some personal rapport and interest with this person— not to get a new mentor or study-buddy.
Keep it fun!
Don’t take it so seriously. Even if you want your next relationship to be super serious (which is also an issue that I’ve written a bit about in THIS article/listicle), keep it light. Dating is supposed to be fun— especially in the beginning.
Don’t bog a girl down with a message saying that you’re looking for someone to stay in and cuddle with every night, and look at refinancing options for your mortgage because you want three kids in the next seven years and want to make sure you can afford it.
Unless she’s into that, she is going to look at your message and profile, say ‘What the fuck…’, and that’ll be the end of it.
You’ll never get to refinance your house to be able to afford your three kids with that woman— and all because you got too serious, way too soon.
Leave The Wall To Trump
All jokes aside: Don’t send a wall of text. We don’t have the time or attention span to read through such a long message from someone we don’t even know if we like yet. Sure, you put in a lot of effort with that message, but unless it’s really entertaining to read— see the tip directly above—it’s unlikely to elicit a response.
You aren’t sending an e-mail. You are sending a chat message. HUGE difference.
A wall of text is a lot of pressure. There’s generally a lot to address, and if I don’t care about you, or even know your name yet— I’m probably not going to respond. Also, there’s a lot information in messages like these, which gets rid of nearly any ounce of mystery you had on your side before sending it.
So what should you send? Depending on the context, anything from a few words to five sentences. Three to four sentences seems to be the sweet spot.
That’s just enough to show interest, while keeping some mystery alive. If I’m actively talking with someone— I want to get to know them through my conversations with them.
If I wanted to know everything about you before even meeting you— I’d buy your autobiography.
We Know We’re Pretty
Find something more interesting to compliment. Sure, some women put in a lot of effort to achieve a high standard of beauty— but if you’re complimenting us on the things that we can’t control (‘You have the most beautiful eyes‘, ‘Wow, you’re so pretty‘, etc…) instead of the things we actively do— it makes you seem very superficial.
If you want to compliment a woman on how she looks— make sure it’s something that she can control: Her makeup, her style, her choice in shoes, her nail designs, her tattoos, etc…
Making this distinction will do wonders. Compliment her efforts, not what she’s born with.
Leave it at home. Confidence is sexy, and self-deprecating humour does not exude confidence— especially when it comes to online dating. If you don’t think you’re worth my time, why should I make you worth my time?
Leagues Don’t Exist
Don’t be afraid to message someone you think is out of your league. The potential for returns (a conversation) is far higher, and far outweighs the only risk (not receiving a reply). If you want to message someone, just do it.
You’re Not Entitled To Anyone’s Time
You’re not entitled to a response. If you’ve sent two consecutive messages without a response— leave it. You don’t know this person, and they are not worth your wasted time. Don’t obsess over it.
Be patient and continue living your life. Don’t spend time clinging onto your phone with a desperate hope that ‘she’ll reply any minute now!’
‘Fire and Forget’, and get back to your life.
Photo Credit: freestocks.org