20 years ago, I went on my first online date.
I remember only one thing about it: the guy told me that his dad ran a hot air balloon company, and maybe he could take me on a hot air balloon ride over the valley some time.
I walked back to my car thinking, “Did this guy just try to buy me?”
I was later to find out that yes, this is a tactic some guys use to impress women. If you date me, you’re going to get to go on all these cool experiences!
It’s incredible to me how much the online dating experience has stayed the same, even as technology has changed.
We’re still showing up on that first date trying to impress each other and hide our nerves.
I wrote my first online dating guide back in 2005, and aside from a few dated statistics, I’m proud to report that the profile advice I gave is still classic:
Write like you talk. Avoid lists. Be friendly, upbeat and approachable. Talk about what you want rather than what you don’t want.”
But over the years I’ve learned a few new tricks. 🙂
Here are 3 more online dating do’s that will stand the test of time.
1. DO hit the ground running.
The instant your online dating profile goes live, the clock is ticking.
You have about 72 hours for your profile to prove itself.
Your new profile will get a boost so it’s seen by as many people as possible, and the dating app will be taking note of how much attention it gets and how much engagement.
If your profile does well in those first few days, and you’re interacting with people on the app, it will continue to rank high in the algorithm.
If it doesn’t do well, it will sink to the bottom, and you’ll struggle to get your profile seen by the guys you want.
Online dating companies have an incentive to promote high-performing profiles and limit the visibility of low-performing profiles.
A profile could be low-performing because the person who set it up was just testing it out, or they didn’t have any pics so they took a quick selfie in the bathroom, or they got busy and they didn’t have time to go back on the app and check their matches.
So they ended up wasting that temporary new-user boost by putting up a profile that wasn’t complete or wasn’t well thought out.
Do not waste those first few days after you activate your account.
Make sure you have everything ready BEFORE you set up your account. Make sure you have some great pictures and a description of yourself and what you’re looking for.
Don’t set up your profile late at night when you’re tired and you could miss something. Set it up during daylight hours so that you’re online and ready to respond when those first messages come in.
Make sure you hit the ground running, and your reward will be greater visibility.
2. DO set a goal of a date a week.
If you’re going to get the most out of online dating, you need to make it a habit to meet people in person.
It’s way too easy to stay online and chat back and forth. It feels low risk, but it will actually backfire on you. The longer you chat online, the less likely you are to connect in person. You want to meet within a week or two of connecting with someone.
Because all of us feel some resistance to the idea of dressing up and going out and meeting a stranger, it helps to set a goal, like one date a week.
If you can’t find anyone you’re excited about, arrange to go out with a guy you feel neutral about. Treat it as practice. It can often be easier to go out with someone you feel neutral about, because you’re more relaxed. And who knows? He might just surprise you.
The more you make this a habit, the less it will stress you out to meet new people. You’ll become used to it. Ah, yes, it’s Friday night again, I wonder who I’m meeting tonight?
The more relaxed you feel about the process, the more likely you are to hit it off with someone new.
3. Do YOU.
You’ve probably got an idea in your head of the kind of women who do well online.
They’re attractive. They’re light-hearted and fun. They’ve got cool hobbies.
And you can try to make your profile look like that, except for one problem:
You’ll end up with a generic profile.
When you’re browsing through online dating profiles, they all look the same after a while. Everyone says the exact same things.
So please don’t say you like walks on the beach, and watching old movies, and good food and travel.
Give us the real you.
If there’s something you don’t like about how you look, display it proudly. He’s going to see the real you the minute you meet anyway. It’s better to be real up front, so that you know that any guy who contacts you is 100% into exactly who you are.
Research suggests that the profiles that do best are polarizing, which means that people either love them or hate them.
Polarizing profiles do better than generic profiles, because when a guy sees your kinda-crazy profile and loves it, he will do everything in his power to meet you. He realizes that not all guys will feel the same way about you, and he feels special for having spotted how special you are.
So there you have it. Hit the ground running, make in-person dates a weekly habit, and don’t hide what makes you quirky!
Want more online dating tips?
- How Can I Stop Meeting Duds and Start Meeting Great Guys Online?
- How Do I Pick the Perfect Dating Profile Pic?
- What A Guy Wants to See from Your Selfie: How to Take a Great Profile Pic
- Wish Your Online Dating Profile Worked Better? Then Start at the End
- What’s the #1 Online Dating Mistake You’re Making?
- 3 Tips to Look Great on a VIRTUAL Date
- Are You Going to Get Hurt by Someone You Met Online?
- 3 MAJOR Online Dating Red Flags
- Why Did He Stop Responding to Me?
- What’s the Best First Online Dating Message Women Can Send?