When we meet a potential love interest in person, we're taught to look for certain red flags—like being rude to the waiter, calling incessantly or not at all, or claiming that his favorite book is The Da Vinci Code. When we're choosing potential dates online, though, we sometimes have little more than a picture and a paragraph to go on. But even before you've agreed to meet someone, there may be warning signs of impending dating disaster … you just have to know what to look for. Before you respond to that next wink or personal message, start watching out for these red flags.
1. A Picture That's Worth Less Than a Thousand Words
It's normal to be suspicious of people whose pictures are blurry or far away, full of other random people, or purposely vague. If a guy's profile is full of shots of him in sunglasses, dressed up for Halloween, or in miniature in front of the Great Wall of China, it's hard not to suspect that he's hiding something. It's great conversation fodder when someone displays snapshots of himself on vacation or out with friends, but it's reasonable to expect at least one clear picture of his face. "I gave a few guys the benefit of the doubt," says Lindsay from Houston. "I thought maybe they didn't have a good camera and really couldn't find a decent picture of themselves." Sean from Brooklyn says, "There was one girl I wished I'd met, but she had her back to the camera in her picture, which I thought was way too much of a gamble." Want More Online Dates? Use A Better Profile Pic.
2. The Date-O-Matic 1000
If you receive an impersonal message that seems oddly like a form letter, it probably is. Some practiced daters have a standard letter they send to every single person they find even mildly attractive. Someone who truly wants to get to know you will take the time to write a personalized message responding to specific items in your profile, not send a generic cut-and-paste letter saying, "Hey girl, I saw your profile and was intrigued …" Think about the hundreds of other people who've gotten the same letter, and decide whether you’re willing to accept only the barest minimum of effort.
3. Bait and Switch
Maggie from New York City specified in her profile that she wanted to meet someone between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five who lived in Manhattan, so receiving emails from sixty-five-year-old men who lived a hundred miles away was not amusing. Someone who blatantly disregards what you've stated you're looking for is simply wasting your time. If that didn't turn her off, then the subsequent emails from the same men asking why she was an ageist definitely did. More Online Dating For Good-Lookers Only