What is the best advice for using dating sites?
As long as we’re talking about online dating sites, I can help you out. Beat the odds and make online dating work for you. Please excuse the length. I’m a touch typist, and got carried away, so off we went…
Here are, off the top of my head, my top ten tips (more like 20) for success on online dating sites for both sexes.
Think S&M. We’re not talking about the usual S&M, but Safety (or Security) and Marketing. Think first about your protection and then how to attract and retain the interest of the most desirable members of the opposite sex. Got it? For women especially, or the agreeables of either sex out there who are far too eager to please, having a firewall or two of safety glass will alleviate a lot of initial anxieties. Think Personal Protection before Preening. With men, there are an alarming number of profiles showing up on dating sites which seems clearly predatory in nature. Keep your guard up and if any woman introduces the topic of money, I’d block her with no forwarding address. Many of those profiles are bots, baby, on paid sites as well. They are clever and are still at it because it’s wildly profitable, this emptying the pockets of the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band members. No need to remember the Alamo but recall the scandal of old Ashley Madison site, which used seductive pics and bots - purloined photos of sexy lasses and profiles enticing come-ons to get free members to pony up their credit cards. The discussion of money should be a big red flag as millions are lost each year to scams on dating sites. If you encounter someone who’s shamelessly complimenting you and addressing you in very affectionate terms way too soon, followed by a plea for cash – report them. Women have to worry about being used and abused in all respects while men need to protect their assets in most cases. Not to say that women aren’t scammed for money, but I’d bet more sad and lonely men are victimized that way. No question that most of this bad behaviour that I’ll describe happens on free sites, which have no bar to entry and bad actors merely open a new account after they’ve been banned and begin to prey anew.
So, Safety-wise, Rule 1 is: Never use any discernible personal details in your public nickname on the dating site. I’ve been alarmed to see a real Firstandlastname used. Use a fun and descriptive handle with no personal details. Do not give them your primary personal email right out of the chute; they have not earned it. Don’t make it easy for the worst predators, whether they are after your body or your money. Another personal security tip to women who have to be on guard since study after study have concluded that 20–30% of the men online who say they’re single - are not. So this additional safety tip is: Always set up a special email address just for online dating correspondence. Make sure this new gmail does not reveal first or last names, occupation, location, as your primary personal email address probably does. Many women have been traumatized twice: by trusting a man too soon with their private email address, and this idiot psycho sends inappropriate material and messages and then just uses the detail found in their personal emails to track them down. One young single mother told me about some lout who knocked on her door at ten at night, terrorizing her alone with a little child in bed. True story. The woman trusted when she shouldn’t have. She deleted her account the next day. So, when you’re ready to transition off the dating site’s email system with someone interesting, the usual first step to exploring the possibilities is exchanging personal emails. As long as you’ve gotten that new impersonal online dating email address, you’ve got a firewall. Well done. This caution presupposes that you will not reveal any distinguishing details in your dating site emails as well, right? Men should follow this rule, too, since how soon do you want her to Google you?
Know What You Want. Sit down and map out the kind of person you want and a clear picture of the traits and physical characteristics you won’t abide. The more clarity you have here, the easier your time will be on these R&R sites. (Reject&beRejected) It’s tough business, telling some plainly inappropriate and hopeful site member that you’re flattered but you’re looking for a different person. Do it kindly, since everyone’s walking on eggshells until they are intimate and even then… Make a list of those traits and qualities, physical, etc. that you cannot live without, and those that you will definitely not consider. Such as smokers, separated, someone who has more than a dozen pets, someone beyond a certain drive distance or whatever, but allow yourself some leeway, considering the example cited in #6 below. But it will be easier if you have a list to go by. But be flexible. Note how far you’ll go for a date and a long-term relationship. Would a 2 hour drive be too much to consider? And what do you need in physical appeal, age range, brains, height, build, religious affiliation and whatever other traits and qualities are your Must-Haves. Be honest with yourself, but allow some bending.
Be Authentic. There is no point whatsoever in trying to pretend to be someone you are not. Unless of course, we talking about the age nonsense and that is fair game in my mind, as long as you ’fess up straightaway in your profile, not the 4th date. Given the arbitrariness of age range restrictions and the fact that the exceptional men (hmmph) would be summarily air-brushed out of consideration, I hear Ralph Waldo’s pal, Thoreau, inciting the occasional need for a dose of civil disobedience. But back to the point. Be the person you are pretending to be, because if you are a terrible fearful untruth teller it’ll be discovered, to everyone’s embarrassment, mostly yours. Like the psychologist I met on Denman in Vancouver who confessed to having used a 15-year-old photo on her profile page to lure me and others to coffee. A psychologist. Being ever the agreeable, polite Canadian, I chatted pleasantly with her for 45 minutes before fleeing into the night, like the man in that Scream painting. That’s my former nice guy persona. But the point is, if something bothers you so much that you need to lie about it to impress another, just focus on improving yourself organically. And don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. When the other person meets you in person for the first time, all will be revealed, and vice versa. So be real each step of the way, while remaining a little mysterious. Less is more in initial correspondence. Keep the heavier stuff for a later date. Probe the other person for sense of humour, interests, ambitions, kindness, if those qualities are important to you. Make sure they meet your standards. Women love a man with high standards. Religion is often a make-it or break-it topic. Be as real and bold as you can. MAKE OTHERS EARN YOUR TRUST before exposing private parts of you, figuratively or in the flesh, so to speak.
Be Courteous. I try to spread kindness and excessive thoughtfulness with the people I interact with, even those who rejected me. Sometimes my acid-free response attracted her renewed interest. But it’s best to disconnect your deepest feelings and how you are treated on dating sites. No one knows you and are judging you by the skinniest of slices. It really isn’t personal, since they don’t know you from Adam. This online dating business is all so new, few trusted guidebooks exist. We’re the first true generation to shift from dating on the advice of family and friends to telephone dating systems to finding our heart’s desire on the Internet, so most people online are like blind moles just feeling their way in the darkness and getting bruised in the process. Academic studies concur that the anonymity online frees people to be less kind, less honest, less real that in person. Show your character by being kind online. Develop a shell against those who would be critical or reject you when you had some premature buoyant hopes. Throw your shoulders back and wait for the next bus. Forgive her and bid her the best. As The Prize, you have tons of possibilities and will not be laid low by one woman with poor judgment or 100! Learn not to care so much about the actual result and hone the process so you get better at each phase of the dating conundrum. Always keep in mind that 10% of all the women, the most attractive ladies, physically, since men are such visual appraisers, 10% of the women get over 80% of all the messages. They are swamped! Some get over 100 messages a day on busy sites. One woman told me she really needed a personal assistant to deal with the correspondence. And most of those messages will not get responses. So initial poke message and your pictures and profile will have to win the day. But if it doesn’t, don’t flame her. Be kind and pay it forward, Oprah style. Men can be just as busy. It can almost be like a part-time job if you are marketing your availability on multiple sites.
Be Open-Minded. It’s true that people often – maybe always – don’t know what’s best for them. In the case of women’s attractions, I read in a study of a speed dating occasion, before which the women noted the kind of man they were seeking. These were not the men they indicated interest in at night’s end. Very little connection. Which is why both sexes should keep their options open. Drop the age ranges prohibited from contacting you; delete all negativity in your profile. Your future happiness may depend on considering the inconthievable (a nod to P.B.) and finding real joy and love in places you never expected to search. Expand your filters. Enjoy the amazing experience of being in touch with a whole invisible community of singles in your zone. Not possible even 25 years ago. And now it’s normal life. Become aware of all that’s happening all around you in our time – this helps with conversations, too, being able to talk about other places and times and see our times in perspective. Improve your conversation skills; most men are terrible at this and do not know what works with women. Get busy learning all you can. Tom. At least you are in the right place, asking the right questions. Keep asking.
Be Engaged - in things you do in your profile pictures and in describing your life within your profile. Keep the profile short and sweet unless you know what you’re doing. Make her want to learn more about you. Challenge her. Be fearless in your expression, but practice good habits with spelling and grammar and punctuation. Remember you’re being judged on the flimsiest of evidence. Don’t be lazy and lose your best prospects. Draw a picture in words for the reader a tiny glimpse of your current passions and ambitions. Make the reader eager to learn more - without sounding narcissistic, unless you are, in which case, best to refer to Rule #4.
Always Be in Learning Mode - Online Dating is like deep-sea diving. You’re going to go to places you’ve never been, and will discover things about yourself and others, revealing all the extremes of human nature that you thought you knew. You would never go deep sea diving without taking lessons, learning what equipment and wetsuits are best, the rules and regulations that must be followed, etc. Likewise, online dating is foreign territory, even for veterans who have languished with the same picture year after year, like Dorian Grey. Investigate the best teachers who have mastered the challenges of online dating. This is getting too long, so I won’t list any, but send me a message if you want a list of those dating gurus and guides whom I have found trustworthy. They are out there, with wisdom and experience to help you shortcut your path to the most satisfying relationship or series of short flirtations, if that’s your style. There’s a dating guru for every need. David Shade’s the guy to teach you how to totally turn on a woman on the phone, and then some… There are wise men and women who will illuminate every phase of the attraction puzzle. Usually for the price of a course, or ebook or video. But many, like David DeAngelo, dispenses a lot of good common sense advice in his free newsletters. Last I read, a few years ago, he was exceeding twenty million a year, so Dave’s doing fine. Actually he has multiple identities, in different niches; he’s an Internet phenomenon. Do be careful ordering stuff online, especially in the Online Dating niche. I’ve found big names in that universe who use unethical means to bill naïve new members or lock them into recurring membership fees without notice. Caveat emptor, as usual. But help is out there to fill those knowledge gaps and give you a truly unfair advantage over most clueless, unevolved males who stumble and fall. And then rail against women in general. Most men have a great deal to learn, from how to choose a profile picture to the tone and length and content of the best profiles. One tip – Don’t Smile. Women are more attractive to men if they smile in profile pics – and for men, the opposite is true. Apparently, women are so attuned and suspicious of men’s insincerity that a smile on a man is often seen as a first attempt to manipulate. Fascinating stuff. Do your homework and learn best practices on which kinds of men’s profiles get the greatest response from women. Have a good idea of the ideal length of the best profiles. School yourself in online etiquette, and find out how to get women to respond, how to up your game and be in greater control online.
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