You want online dating success (and we want it for you). So cut through the questions with these no-nonsense tips.
As a single gal in Los Angeles who has been online dating for over 10 years, I have earned my stripes as a dating expert and a dating drama queen. I have experienced and survived all the dramas of online dating and still remain a hopeful romantic. I am here to share some coaching advice and guide and support you on your online dating journey:
1. It is important to choose the dating site(s) that are right for what/whom you are looking for.
Some dating sites are known and respected for finding love and some are notorious for attracting singles looking for action or a quick hookup. There are no judgements here, as people are coming from different places in their love lives. If a person just got out of a 10-year marriage, he/she may not be looking for anything serious at this time. Whereas, if a person has been living single and playing the field for five years, he/she may be all-in for love. Do your homework and choose the site(s) that are right for you.
2. Have an objective and honest person in your life read and edit your profile before you post it.
You do not want to create a false perception of yourself, in either a positive or negative way. This person cannot be your Mom—you know she’ll tell you that you’re better than the singers on The Voice and that you looked good in those pictures from college after you gained the freshman fifteen. Have a trusted friend or co-worker look over your profile and allow them the space to be honest.
3. Be honest in your profile.
If you have children, be honest about it. If you have pets, be honest about it. If you smoke, be honest about it. If you live in another state, be honest about it. If your profile is filled with lies, you are not living or sharing your truth and you will eventually be found out. I cannot tell you how many guys online have lied to me about having pets and I am deathly allergic. I ask the pet question in the very first email. I dated a guy for a month, really liked him and could never figure out why he didn’t invite me back to his place and always wanted to stay at mine. It turned out, he had three cats. I was angry and disappointed. He went back to his cats and I went to stock up on Zyrtec.
4. Post at least two photos and make sure one is full length. Post photos that are warm and welcoming. Make sure you smile in one.
You want to make a good first impression. Sexy photos are fine, just don’t overdo it or give away too much. Trust me, this will save you time and self-esteem issues when men ask for more full body shots. I cannot count nor tell you how many times men have asked me for lingerie or bikini shots, but I can tell you they are not the men I am looking to date. You do not have to send any photos you are not comfortable with.
5. Make sure the person contacting you has at least two photos, as well. You have every right to ask for more.
If teeth are important to you, ask for a smiling photo. If you are a sucker for pretty eyes, ask for a photo without sunglasses. I met a gorgeous guy online once. He had several photos posted, but none smiling. I am always wary, because that tells me something about someone’s personality. Regardless, I took a chance and met him. I wasn’t too surprised when he smiled and had discolored and missing teeth. I’m not judging, but it didn’t make me want to kiss him.
6. You do not have to respond to every contact you receive.
Be as kind and considerate as possible, but you do not owe anyone anything. Being a sweet gal, I used to spend hours responding to emails from men by saying, “No thank you” and kindly explaining the reasons I did not feel we were a match. Often, men could not take the rejection and would respond with some nasty remark. Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it.
7. Make sure you have a full-length phone conversation before you meet for a date.
This does not mean a full text conversation. Take the time to see if you click and have a connection worth pursuing in person. Trust your intuition. When I pay attention to my intuition and actually follow it, it rarely fails me. You want to ask questions, really listen (red flags), see how you feel in the conversation and make sure the person on the other end of the phone is not certifiably insane. We are all a little kooky, but you know what I mean.
8. Meet in public and on neutral territory.
Take your own car and do not go to someone’s home. In being authentic, I will share that I have made this mistake a few times and it rarely turned out well. More than once, I have asked a guy to drive me home before we ever got to the restaurant; and one time, I literally threw an aggressive guy out of my home at the end of a first date. Be smart and safe and do as I say, not as I did.
9. Make your first date a brief one.
I recommend coffee or a drink. Give yourself a responsible out, if you need it. This is a strong rule I commit to. I made a lot of mistakes online dating when I started and definitely learned the hard way. If you plan an extravagant evening with someone you have never met, you will regret it if he/she looks nothing like his/her photos, you have zero chemistry and the conversation is empty.
10. No sex on the first date.
Okay, you’re an adult and if you want it, choose it… but, know that when things happen too quickly, they often fizzle fast too. Just remember that you are the only one who has to sleep on your pillow at night and wake up with yourself and your choices in the morning.
[image: via shutterstock]