This post is kindly sponsored by dating site be2.com.au.
New to online dating? Or a veteran looking to brush up on your game plan? You’ve come to the right place. Below, I reveal my top strategies for online dating success and reveal how you can coax Cupid’s arrow in your direction.
1. Show up. A third of people meet their partner online these days. You can’t afford to sit home in your bunny slippers and hope your cute neighbour pops by asking to borrow a cup of sugar – meeting someone is all about making your own opportunities and having an online dating profile is essential.
2. Share enough… Online daters crave details. Without them, they’ll assume you either a) have something to hide or b) can’t be bothered putting the effort in. So take your time putting the ‘story of you’ together. Keep it succinct, but do share the little things that make you stand out: why you entered My Kitchen Rules three times. How you’re learning French and your house is covered in post-it notes scribbled with conjugated verbs. Or, how you’d be the first to offer to camp overnight to score front row seats to a band you love.
3… But not too much. While profiles are partly about ‘selling yourself’, no one wants to read an essay about your 547 fly fishing trophies, or your multiple career achievements (save it for your CV). Mention your passions, but don’t bang on about them, especially if you suspect you might turn off potential dates in droves. Best to keep your descriptions brief and let your actual date tease the info out of you.
4. Spell-check it. Proof-read. Spell-check some more. Take out all the text speak. Read it aloud three times to your cat. Let your best friend look over it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘I can’t date a person who can’t spell’ or ‘There were so many LOLs and GSOH’s I was getting cross-eyed’. I know it’s shallow, but PEOPLE NOTICE bad spelling, poor grammar, and SMS abbreviations. And it bothers them. Hugely.
5. Select your snaps with care. Think recent. By that I mean, pix taken in the past year. And forget one blurry head-shot – you want a selection including a full body shot. It’s fine to include a few snaps with you and friends, but don’t make ALL your snaps group shots, especially if you’re a guy and all your photos include you with other women. It’ll just make people wonder if you’re a player.
6. Avoid obscure usernames. Think approachable, friendly – rather than GanstaGrrl3467A or WellHung49. This is about letting people get to know you, not a pie-in-the-sky persona you’re creating or a name that looks like a bad online banking password.
7. Cast a wide net. I’ve said it before, online dating is a bit like a job interview. You’d apply for everything possible, right? It’s the same online, so don’t fall into the nutso trap of pinning all your hopes on one person being ‘The One’. And, yes, I think it’s fine to juggle a few dates so long as you’re really clear with everyone you date that you’re seeing other people.
8. Take it into real time – fast. When I was online dating, I learned this the hard way – as a writer I found it really easy to connect with people over email and would trade long, rambling emails for weeks before that first coffee date. BIG MISTAKE. Often in person we just didn’t click at all or like the look of one another. So keep it to 3 emails and then meet in person so you don’t waste a lot of time in limbo wondering if they’re the one or the one you’ll want to run screaming from.
9. Don’t be a stalker. You may think you’ve really clicked with someone, but if they don’t feel the same don’t freak them out with your feelings via long-winded emails, texts and voicemails. Don’t track down their address and send them massive gift baskets in which you provide gifts not just for them, but for every member of their family (that you’ve never even met). It’s weird, man. Better to learn the art of giving in graciously and accepting that sometimes, people don’t love us back. And that’s okay.
10. Be honest. Sometimes it may backfire (like when I met a guy who had four kids that he saw once a year, because he preferred his bachelor lifestyle and was basically the worst father that ever lived). But honesty should always be your default position. It’s refreshing. It’s a one-way ticket to online dating success. And believe me, it’ll set you apart from the fakers who swindle their way around the online dating landscape, leaving broken hearts in their wake.
11. Don’t give up. Few people meet their partner right off the bat and live happily ever after. Finding that person you click with can take years, and success comes down to what I like to call The Three P’s, practice, patience and persistence. No, I’m not advocating stalking when I say persist, but just persist with the process. Learn to shake off bad experiences and move on rather than wallowing. Approach each new date with an open mind, laugh at the duds – and above all else, enjoy the journey!