When it comes to a profile, your picture matters more than your personality.
No matter what you do (or don't do) with online dating, take most of it as entertainment. Dating sites are social networking sites with a dating theme. Look for friends first and don't take it too seriously. If you take it too seriously, you'll forget the purpose of meeting new people to begin with: to have fun. Really children give us the best examples on how to create awesome relationships. We should relate to this easily…we used to be one.
1. Know Your Intentions
Have purpose with your online dating presence. Are you genuinely looking for someone or would you rather make friends? Maybe you're just a girl who just wants to have fun? Regardless of your intent, be honest about why you joined. If you recently got out of a relationship and need someone to take your mind away, say that, but don’t pose to look for something serious if you aren't. Declaring a need for friendship should be ok, because true friendship is the basis for any great relationship. Your honesty may exclude people from contacting you, but it will attract the right people.
Bottom Line: Most dating sites scare the crap out of me because they imply instant relationship connotations with their "Find Love Here!" taglines, but more success might be brought to Internet dating if everyone began with, "We're All Friends Here" approach instead. You can't be "in a relationship" until you're "in a friendship".
2. Say Less To Say More
A dating profile isn't a diary or a social networking site. There is no need to update it often like a Facebook status. Write it once, be honest, and be done with it. Of course you want to ramble about the cuteness of your nephew or how you want a brown puppy, but nobody cares. They really don't. We have no attention span these days, so avoid a 700-word soliloquy about yourself. When someone reads your profile, their hands are at the keyboard ready to go somewhere else (to another profile), so keep them on your page by keeping it brief and engaging. People who talk too much are never intriguing.
Bottom Line: The way we receive information is changing. People unfortunately do not want to read these days. We want to digest information in short videos or graphics, so what makes you think anyone wants to read a 1,000 word profile about you? Shorten it up. Say less to say more; this gives the reader something to inquire and be curious about. Curiosity killed the cat, good thing you weren't trying to date it.
3. Be Entertaining
The person reading your profile doesn't know you. To them you are just another face. We watch TV to be entertained. Think of your dating profile as the same thing. Saying you love your job or love your kids isn't fun for anyone — those are your responsibilities in life. You should love your job and love your kids — don't write what is obvious or implied. Avoid talking about what you love — the person reading your profile doesn't care because they don't know you. Someone cares about the things you care about when they care about you, and that takes time.
Bottom Line: Make it short and sweet. Don't talk about what you love, instead write a profile others will love.
4. Ask For More Pictures If Necessary
Everyone thinks they are a photographer these days, so there's no excuse in not having accurate photos. Having group photos, pictures of you in the distance, or wearing sunglasses do not count. People come to your profile to see you, not you with stuff covering your face. Ladies, show what your figure looks like. If you are athletic and toned, or curvy, show it. Don't play hide and seek with the goods. Is this shallow? Sure, but dating is shallow. If a man approached you on the street it's because of a physical attraction. It starts there. Show who you are (with class) to have better first date experiences.
Guys, show what you look like today, not what you looked like 4 years ago at your sisters college graduation (men do this because they are shallow and want to date out of their league). If a person doesn't have enough photos, ask for more in a respectful way. If they don't like the inquiry, keep it moving — you don't have to meet them. Some people have a type and that doesn't make them shallow; it makes them sincere about they are looking for.
Bottom Line: I'm tired of hearing "it's all about the personality". No it's not. You can't have sex with a personality. A good personality doesn't get a penis erect. If so, people would pleasure themselves to the honesty of Gandhi or the courage of Martin Luther King instead of watching porn. In the beginning it's about looks, simple as that. We fall in love with a personality, but on day 1 there needs to be physical interest.
5. (Actually) Forget Most Of What You Read On Profiles
For the most part forget what someone said on a dating profile (they probably didn't follow my advice and just listed facts about themselves…who cares?). People take their precious time to say what might attract everyone on a dating profile. Much of dating involves our egos, we want attention and to feel good about ourselves, so we post our best pictures and try to be funny in hopes someone will reach out and validate our desirability. People sit at their keyboard and think of the best things to say, but when you meet them in person you see who they are instantly. You want to date their profile or date the person?
This is not a contradiction to being entertaining and interesting on your profile. Think of a dating profile as entertainment — entertain your viewers about your life. Hip-hop stars do not live a life of crime, most of them work hard; their videos and edgy lyrics are meant to entertain you. Think of your dating profile as the same, "If I can entertain people they will be intrigued about who I am."
Bottom Line: We can labor for hours trying to be compelling online, but attraction is usually found instantly in person. Judge what they show you, not what they announce in 1000 words or less.
6. Interact With Few
The rise of serial dating engendered from online dating has become disgusting and appalling. Online Dating should be regulated where people talk to a few people at a time, not anyone and everyone. Have discipline and self-control over your dating options. Sure, there are a million people to talk to, but has a buffet ever been healthy? If you are talking to more than a few people then you aren't talking to any of them. Dating multiple people is fine if you want to have fun, but if you want something serious then concentrate on those who might bring out the best in you. Then make that effort.
Bottom Line: There is no such thing as dating multiple people genuinely, but there is such thing as dating multiple people poorly.
7. Meet As Soon As You Can
The longer you wait to meet, the more it becomes a chore instead of something new and exciting. Emailing/texting too much creates a virtual relationship that helps build erroneous conclusions in your head, "I think I like this person" — but you don’t know that person. You know a relationship with your phone which is not the same thing. Attraction is discovered in person, so get to that point sooner than later so you aren't wasting your time. You could text for weeks, meet in person, and want to leave right away because the chemistry isn't there, so why text at all? Also, all the texting diminishes the enthusiasm because you already know everything about each other. Boring. Discover in person with eye contact instead of through your device…you should look up more often when you walk anyhow.
Also, if someone can't meet soon, they either have something to hide or aren't true to their dating intentions. If a person is really looking, they will make time to meet. If they can't, keep it moving.
Bottom Line: Think of how great it would be to know nothing about the person, meet and ask "What made you happy today?" Begin with that simple question, have no script for the date and where it might take you. A roller coaster is more exciting when we don't know where the loops are. Keep reading...
This article was originally published at The Online Dating Critic. Reprinted with permission from the author.