If you’ve tried online dating and ended up frustrated, emotionally drained and feeling like you wasted your time, you’ve probably made some very common mistakes. Avoid these 12 online dating don’ts, and you’ll have a much better experience the next time around.
1. Don’t Use a Boring Username – Your user name is the very first thing people see. It’s a marketing opportunity. Don’t bore everyone by calling yourself “SingleGuy” or ” LawyerJane426”. Come up with something clever that stands out or makes people laugh - something unique. If you’re 40 and play tennis, try “40LOVE ”. If you’re the life of the party, use “TotallyFunChick” – who could resist that?
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2. Don’t Post Bad Photos – Photos are the most important part of your profile - you’ve got to have great ones. Don’t you dare post pictures from 10 years or 10 pounds ago. Do not take a self-portrait with your cell phone or crop out your ex-boyfriend but leave his arm dangling from your shoulder. Use clear, recent photos - at least one headshot and one full body shot. And include pictures of you doing something fun or interesting. Consider splurging on a professional photographer. It will be money well spent. Be resourceful and go to the makeup counter to get made up for free before your photo shoot.
3. Don’t Use The Same Photo for Months at a Time – More people will click on your profile if you change your primary photo now and then. One picture will appeal to some while another will appeal to others. Keep things fresh and experiment to see what works.
4. Don’t Send Form Emails –When you initiate contact, mention something in the other person’s profile so he or she knows you actually read it. And then share something about yourself. Keep your initial emails short - no more than two or three paragraphs. Don’t send a long-winded eight-paragraph introduction and include your phone number. That’s just creepy.
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5. Don’t Agree to a Date Without Talking on the Phone First – After a few emails, progress to a phone call. Why invest time corresponding if you may not have chemistry? If your potential date doesn’t appeal to you after a 20-minute chat, politely let him or her know it’s not a match. It’s better to be honest than to waste someone’s time.
6. Don’t Correspond with Too Many People at Once – Don’t juggle so many people that you need index cards to keep them straight. Start talking with two or three and then hide your profile while you figure out which one is a good fit for you. If you get overwhelmed and your inbox fills up with unanswered emails, you may unwittingly reject someone wonderful. Take it slowly, and wait until you’re ready. Everything (even online dating) is better in moderation.