I feel a little shy having to say this, but I wanna own it — I created online dating profiles in almost every online dating sites that I could possibly find when I was still single.
My photos and profiles littered the online space, possibly until today. Some of my profiles went away after the sites shut down. Some I managed to delete. But many were left abandoned either because I lost my passwords or I´ve forgotten about those sites.
When it comes to finding love, I maximized the online dating platform. In fact, I put most of my eggs in this basket. I spent hundreds of hours creating and editing my profiles. I spent countless hours contacting potential mates, writing emails and responding to emails. But I barely spent time on the other resources that could also possibly lead me to “the one” — finding him offline.
If you want to know the many resources you have at your disposal in finding your perfect partner aside from online dating, join my free 10-day email course.
I also leveraged social networking sites — My Space and Friendster — the two leading networking sites at the time. It was around 2005 to 2007. Both sites were since shutdown.
I also used Yahoo Chat Messenger to meet men. I would go to chat rooms and look for potential chat mates there. Most interactions were nonsense but there would be one or two people who´d standout.
I also found men on Craigslist. There are many lonely men/women in there who post ads looking for friendship or possible romantic relationships. I replied to several ads.
I would meet one or two men at my social networking sites or at Craigslist and we would move to Yahoo Messenger for regular chats. That tool really came handy for me.
But it was on online dating sites were I spent most of my time. I met several quality men from the sites that I joined. One that particularly stood out was a Christian dating site owned be a couple who were Seventh Day Adventists whose mission was to connect single SDAs across the globe. Eventually they opened their membership to other protestant denominations to widen their pool.
I was hoping to find an SDA boyfriend so I was more active on that site. I met two men on there, both SDAs. The first totally burned me. The second ended up politely rejecting me.
Although my heart was broken many times from online dating, I never even entertained the idea of discarding it. It was still my one and only way to meet quality men. This was true until I accidentally discovered that finding men offline was much more fun! (More on that later.)
So you see, if the topic is online dating, I know the drill. I walked the talk. Been there, done that.
Here are my tips on how you can be effective in online dating:
1. Choose the right dating app.
It´s important to be clear what you´re looking for in order to identify the apps that would serve you best. Are you willing to invest money on your search or are you only looking for free apps?
Below are the best dating apps for 2018 according to elitesingles.com.
- The best paid dating apps for long-term love
(EliteSingles, Match.com, eHarmony, Zoosk)
- The best free and social dating apps
(Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn)
- The best queer-friendly dating apps
(HER, Grindr, OKCupid)
- The best religious and niche dating apps
(Jdate, JSwipe, Christian Mingle)
- The best dating app for busy single professionals
But according to one dating coach, Match.com and OKCupid are the best performing dating apps. Yet when it comes to really finding a partner, she says OKCupid wins hands-down. It´s where she found her husband. And it´s where most of her female clients found their partners.
Personally I haven´t tested OKCupid but I did sign up on Match.com sometime in 2007. Although I didn´t find my husband there, I did have a good experience using it.
My advice to you is to choose one or two dating apps to use in order to avoid burnout.
Also, regardless what other dating coaches say, be authentic to yourself and know what type of men you hope to meet and if you have the money to invest on online dating. Identifying the best dating apps for you will then be a no-brainer.
2. Assemble some flattering photos.
Pull out your photos and start sorting! Look for your best photos. Studies have shown that it’s best to post between five and ten photos. Too few won’t give you the opportunity to show your many facets. Too many is overwhelming.
But in my experience, three will do. One portrait photo of you, one head-to-toe, and one action photo.
Use a variety of photos. Include a picture of you dressed-up, as well as one in a more casual setting. It’s also important to post one where you’re doing something active such as a photo of you rock climbing or interacting with friends.
If you feel like you don´t have flattering photos, hire a stylist and a photographer to help you look your best and get photos of you featuring your best angles. (Note: My image consulting services are coming soon.)
Use some common sense. Steer clear of photos with your arm around your previous love interest. Including a photo with a friend that’s dramatically better looking than you is something else to avoid.
A picture of you holding your little dog, like it’s your surrogate child, may be a turn-off. Be smart.
If you’re in doubt, ask a friend to assist you with selecting the photos.
Studies have shown that both men and women are strongly influenced by photographs while searching personal ads. Pictures are the determining factor for whether or not your complete profile will be read.
3. Write a great profile.
Lying is a big no-no, but this is the time to put your best foot forward. Focus on your good qualities. Be positive, fun, and interesting.
If you make it too brief, it looks like you’re being lazy.
Profiles that are too long can give the image that you’re high maintenance.
A paragraph or two about yourself and another about what you’re looking for is plenty. Just give the basics. If they want to know more, they can contact you!
4. List what you’re looking for.
On most dating sites, you can list your search criteria. Go back to your list of criteria and do your best to match up the items. Be reasonable and avoid giving up on the qualities most important to you.
You might even want to consider looking into some specialized dating sites that target certain groups of people. For example, there are sites that cater to certain religious affiliations.
5. Edit your profile and consider whether it’s likely to appeal to your perfect partner.
Make any necessary changes. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!
Now that you have a profile, it’s important to start contacting people. There’s no reason to sit back and wait for others to come to you. Be in charge of your own destiny. It’s an empowering feeling when you take control of your life.
6. Develop a standard introduction.
Internet dating is largely about numbers. The more people you contact, the more likely you are to find a good match. So use your time effectively when contacting others.
Your introduction doesn’t have to be long. Two paragraphs ought to do the trick. Be playful and encourage the person to check out your profile.
7. When directly contacting someone, add a unique sentence or two.
Pick something out of their profile and mention it. This will prevent it from looking like you’re sending the same message to everyone! Ask them a question about their photo or mention that you like sushi, too.
8. Avoid getting carried away.
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and contact 100+ people per week. But what will you do when 50 of them reply back to you? It’s overwhelming to stay on top of 50 different email conversations. Consider contacting a few people each day.
9. Stay organized.
Keep track of your correspondence. It might be a good idea to create a list of vital information for each potential mate. Something like: Brad, 11-year-old daughter, works in hospital, likes football. This can be a real lifesaver, especially if you’re talking to multiple people.
Spend some time each day perusing the ads and contacting 3-5 people. Remember, it just takes one!
10. Avoid wasting anyone’s time, including yours.
Once you’ve determined that you’re lacking interest in the person on the other end of the computer screen, move on. Be polite, but avoid wasting anyone’s time.
11. Avoid moving things along too slowly or quickly.
There’s a TV show dedicated to those who have had online relationships for years without ever meeting in person. These relationships rarely succeed.
Exchange a few emails, chat on the phone, and then meet in a safe, public place for a cup of coffee.
12. Be brave enough to stand out.
One common misstep with online dating is trying to appeal to everyone. Remember that you only have to find one perfect person. Showing off your uniqueness may just attract the exact individual you’ve been looking for.
13. Be safe.
Avoid giving out too much personal information until you’ve met in person and they’ve earned your trust.
As I mentioned above, I used to search for love only through online dating. But then I discovered that offline hunting was actually more fulfilling for me. So I put my online dating experiment to a halt and focused on meeting men offline.
Yet as it turned out for me, I didn´t find my true love through online dating or offline dating. I actually met him through that crazy short email I shot a stranger on friendster. See: I Met My Husband on a Social Networking Site
Does that mean that I regretted the time I spent on onling dating? Definitely not. Every interaction I had with real people taught me real lessons. Every rejection I endured taught me not to take it personally and to quickly bounce back.
Every minute I spent on online dating made me realize that I was addicted to it, that I had to learn to balance online dating with offline dating, and that I had to be strategic if I were to be effective on it. I learned to distribute my eggs!
Online dating also taught me that sometimes, no matter how meticulously you fill-up your profile boxes in your chosen dating apps, your Mr. Right may actually just be a friend request away on Facebook.
Online dating is undeniably a powerful tool, but it´s not the be all end all in finding love. Make sure to couple your online dating efforst with offline hunting.