5 Important Tips For Online Dating Success

1. Use good pictures. There are thousands of people on these sites, and there is going to be someone similar to you who has better pictures. And he is going to get the woman you want. If you want to meet good people, you need to have good pictures. It’s that simple.

Your photos need to be clear and recent. Your dark, artsy photos are great as a supplement, but she needs to see what you look like in the light, without a hat, and without sunglasses. She needs to see you close up (a headshot), and from a little distance (a full length shot). If she can’t see what you really look like, you’re not going to get her phone number.

2. Write to people who are looking for someone like you. It is important to remember that online dating is not the same as online shopping. When you’re shopping, you can pick out whatever you like and make it yours. When you’re dating, the person you choose actually has some say in the matter.

Before you take the time to compose your message, look through her profile and try to view things from her perspective. Would she want to date you? Of course you’re great, but are you a great match for her? Do you fit all, or most, of what she’s looking for? And are you in her desired age range?

I often receive messages from men who seem to overlook the preferences I’ve stated in my profile. “Funny, I didn’t think my age would be an issue.” Really? Did you read the part where I listed the age range with which I’m comfortable? Last I checked, 50 is not in the set of numbers from 30-44. “Maybe I can win you over with my charm!” Or, maybe you could write to the fabulous 50-year-old women on this site who are clearly underappreciated. has “Reverse Match” and “Mutual Match” search features to identify the people who are looking for someone like you. But if you insist on writing to those who aren’t, keep in mind that the site also has email filters to automatically send your messages to a special folder for unwanted mail, based on your age, height, location, and a few other criteria.

3. Don’t tease someone you don’t know. It comes off as insulting. “Props on your (mostly) sane Match Question answers.” Mostly sane? And which answers do you deem insane, oh wise one? That I wouldn’t let a dog sleep in my bed? Or perhaps that I think it is a choice, not an obligation, for a woman to shave her legs? Oh wait; I don’t really care what you think. I’m going to reply to this other guy. He has better pictures.

4. Ask good questions. This means you have to read her profile, and pay attention to what you read. Don’t offer to help her fix her bike, when the story in her profile is about her success in fixing her bike. Don’t ask her what she likes to do for fun, when she has already filled out the profile section that says “For fun I like to…”

Although it takes the same attention, this should be more interesting than the reading comprehension assignments you hated in grade school. The reward, here, is a really cool woman. It’s worth paying attention to what you read. The questions you ask should be interesting to you, and personal enough to connect to her. “Your Asia photos are great! What was your favorite part of the trip?”

5. Don’t be a stalker. While you are waiting for her reply, go on with your busy life. Don’t look at her profile to see if she has logged in. Don’t hover over your sent mail folder to see if she’s read your message. Remember that you don’t know this person at all, and you shouldn’t have any expectations of when she should reply.

If you’re using a dating site’s mobile app, emailing members may be as quick and easy as texting. But remember that each message you send shows up as an individual email. It is quite alarming to open an email thread and see several unread messages from a person you barely know! Take the time to compose your thoughts into one email, rather than several separate messages.

@RebeccaAMarquis is the author of How to Be a Good Boyfriend: 34 ways to keep her from getting annoying, jealous, or crazy, and offers dating humor and advice on her new Facebook page: