Thinking with You
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3 Top Tips for Getting Online

Eek, online dating?  Isn’t that only for losers and desperados?  No!  We live in an online society these days, and everyone is more scattered due to urbanisation and globalisation.  Everyone is busier and people don’t want to waste time and muck around (when they are looking for a serious relationship.)  So, online dating is a super efficient way to put yourself out there to a wide variety of people.  And lots of people really do get married to someone they have met online.  However, you do need to wade through the duds and connect to someone who is right for you.  He is out there!

Where to start?  Here are my three top tips for getting your profile off the ground and taking the leap into online dating!

1.     Ask around about which sites are good, or read reviews online, and join accordingly.  Don’t be afraid to be on a couple of sites, but don’t be that girl that’s literally on every single dating site out there.  Maintain at least some mystery!

Sometimes the Christian dating sites are the worst.  They can be too restrictive with their algorithms, and also often have a lot more women than men represented.  But that doesn’t rule them out – go with what seems to work for you.  I’d definitely recommend going on some of the non-Christian sites, as there are sometimes Christians on those ones too.  I personally know three girls who got married to someone they met online: one on RSVP, one on Tinder, and one on EHarmony. 

Some sites have a large registration fee, and some are free for the first five messages, or similar.  Consider how much you want to invest in this venture.  Put some money towards it, if you’re serious, but I’d play around on the free sites first to get a feel for the whole online thing, before you make a large financial commitment to one site.   (N.B. The man should message you first and should outlay the money to initiate messaging you. Would you buy a man a drink at a bar? No! (I hope not!) Let him make the first move.)

Consider how wide you want to spread your ‘net’.  Is the site just for your own state, country, or international?  Which filters will you choose?  If you’re planning to engage in conversations and dates with guys who live overseas, for example, think it through.  Do you really want to have a long-distance relationship with someone via Skype for two years, then move to another country for life if you get married?  (Not to mention all the other pitfalls of long-distance cross-cultural dating! That’s another post.)  If you’re not keen on that – don’t start what you can’t finish.  And don’t just assume he will move to where you live. VERY unlikely.

It’s inevitable that you will ‘run into’ other people online who you know in real life, maybe even guys from your own church.  That’s just one of the hazards of online dating, and you can’t do much about it.  You don’t need to be ashamed of being online.  It’s a totally legitimate form of meeting people, and you don’t need to be embarrassed about wanting to meet someone.  Just suck it up and get on with it.  And be respectful of people online.  Don’t go gossiping with your girlfriends about who you saw online and how terrible their profiles are.  Have a bit of class and be discreet about it.  (I think it’s called ‘the golden rule’…)

 2.      Use a great profile picture.   

You have somewhere between 0.5 and 3 seconds to impress someone with your profile, before they click/swipe/scroll to the next potential candidate.  And unlike women, men do not spend much time reading through your bio, cross-checking you on Facebook or Google, calculating the distance between their home and yours, wondering why you wear a ring on your middle finger, and so on.  They look at your picture, and either think:

a.     Hm, I find her attractive…I wonder if she’d be interested in me?

b.     Not interested. 

Every guy will have a different concept of what is attractive or interesting to him.  And being generically ‘hot’ is not necessarily a predictor of success (a guy might immediately think he has no chance of ‘getting you’, and keep scrolling.)  The main thing is to do your best to look interesting and appealing in some way, so your picture is of utmost importance.  You don’t want to look intimidating, but also don’t want to look sloppy.  Try not to look too ‘worky’ or masculine. And the absolute key is to SMILE.  Present an open, friendly face (but not too eager.) 

I suggest a headshot that includes your shoulders, possibly down to your waist.  And then maybe two or three other photos including a full-body shot (relaxed and candid, NOT too posed and sexy); a shot of you doing something you love, such as exercise, pottery, walking your dog or whatever; and a shot of you with family or friends (a man can learn lots of information from your body language around other people).  Alternatively, you can just show pictures of yourself.  Men are VERY visual so they mainly care about what you look like.  But avoid showing too much cleavage or skin. (Please try to not look like a stripper.)  You want to have a bit of class; be the kind of woman he wants to take home to meet his mum, not the kind of woman he’ll meet for a quick romp and then forget.  Case in point

I’d also recommend you’re wearing something feminine (maybe with some colour, a pattern, cool jewellery or a headscarf) and trendy (do NOT wear your Tough Mudder T-shirt, business suit, PJ’s, or anything old and frumpy).  And be wearing something different in each photo.  Men love hair, particularly long hair, so make sure it’s clean, styled, and preferably out – loose tresses say ‘I’m fun, relaxed and womanly’ whereas a tight bun says ‘I’m stressed, severe and don’t even think about interrupting my schedule’.   Take off the sunglasses so that he can see your eyes.  If you wear prescription glasses, keep them on so that he can see your normal everyday look, but make sure they don’t hide your face or create too much glare in the photo.  You might include one photo without your glasses. 

If you’re not too great with hair, makeup and trendy dressing, get one of your more stylish friends to help you out - I’m sure they would love to give you a makeover! Or if you must, employ someone to do it - look up local hairdressers or make-up artists (MUAs) on Insta or Facebook and contact them - no doubt they could point you in the right direction. And get someone to take the photos who can actually take a decent shot. Bathroom selfies are rarely any good. (Presentation is EVERYTHING in online dating.)

3. Keep your bio short and fresh. 

Your bio should be brief, upbeat and truthful, yet mysterious.  This is not the place to give a life history, a psychoanalysis of yourself, or to make a list of demands in the kind of guy you want.  Lots of women’s profiles end up sounding quite bitter or bossy – not what you’re going for! 

Example of a bad bio:

 I’m 35, single (obviously) and ready to meet Mr Right.  I can hear my biological clock ticking so whoever you are, please show yourself.  I’m an accountant and work long hours in the city – I’m very committed to my job and I’m also thinking about starting a Masters degree.  I don’t really have much time for fun, as I get home quite late and I’m usually tired.  I live by myself and spend most of my time watching Netflix (fave shows are Downtown Abbey and Dexter) and sorting out the drama between my mum and dad (newly divorced) – they need a mediator sometimes, so I guess I’m it.  I’m a ‘melancholy’ personality type and I do enjoy my alone time with a cuppa and my life-long bestie, my cat Heathcliffe.  He’s a purebred Siamese with blue eyes, which is very rare.  I would like to date a man who is between 34-36, tall, Caucasian, well-dressed and with a good job, preferably in business or finance. I am a Christian so I expect to be properly courted and introduced to his family before embarking upon something more serious.  Of course he must be a committed Christian and a regular church-goer.  I don’t want to waste any time communicating with someone who does not meet these criteria. 

Okay, so hopefully I don’t need to point out everything that is wrong with this bio.  While this all may be true, it’s certainly not appealing.  Remember, a man has no obligation to pursue you, let alone love you.  There’s got to be something in it for him!  What appeals to a man (as I explained in a previous post) are the following: femininity, mystery, kindness, innocence, fun, sweetness, and beauty. 

Example of a good bio (same person):

 Hi there!  I’m a happy, confident and friendly woman who loves to check out a concert, try a new tapas bar, and have an intellectual conversation! I’m a committed Christian and am part of a vibrant Pentecostal church in my local area. Apart from church, I usually spend my weekends meeting friends for brunch, enjoying the sunshine, and catching up on my shows.  I love my life but I’m ready to meet that special someone and to build a loving future together.

Ok, so let’s break it down and look at what this woman is implicitly communicating here, in a positive and non-demanding way:

-       she’s looking for a serious relationship (marriage and kids)

-       she’s giving him ideas about what kind of things she likes doing (important so he can plan a date)

-       she’s a committed Christian and probably has the attached values

-       she has time/space for a relationship

-       she is happy.  (This is majorly attractive to a man.)  

Besides looking for a girl who is attractive, a man wants to find a relationship in which he can make a difference.  He doesn’t just want to be a sperm donor, or be used for his money or social status.  He subconsciously wants to be able to improve a woman’s life on a heart level, and to be someone’s knight in shining armour.  So when the bio says I’m ready to meet that special someone and to build a loving future together, he sees that as ‘this girl is serious about relationships, is ready to invest emotionally, and is looking for a man who can sweep her up into a life-long adventure of love and family’. (A bad place to start would be: I need a man to impregnate me before my eggs all die.)

Notice that the bio is fairly short and doesn’t give too much away.  This is good – it’s up to the man to decide whether or not he’s curious enough to initiate contact and to find out more about you.  You don’t want to give it all away.  Make him curious!  And remember – 90% of his interest is going to come from the photos.  PHOTOS ARE KEY. 

In conclusion, it’s not about being dishonest or disingenuous.  It’s about presenting your information in a way that is appealing to a man.  Think like a saleswoman.  You don’t force or badger a potential customer into buying a product because ‘it’s the right thing to do’ – you entice them into giving it a try.  Present yourself in the best way possible, and don’t give it all away. 

So why not give it a try? You don’t have much to lose - and HE could be out there looking for YOU!

Check out these other vids by my fave dating coach Steve Harvey, to see what not to do, and get some more tips on setting up your profile:

What's my profile saying?

Steve helps girls in their 30's and 40's

(Note the cultural differences - if you’re dealing with white Aussies it may differ slightly.)