I’ve written these tips for people who are truly interested in meeting someone to date or find a relationship with.  Keep in mind that these tips are coming from the perspective of a woman in her fifties but in my opinion they could certainly apply to anyone that is out there in the shark tank (the dating pond😉 ) looking for a good catch.

1. Profile Pictures:

The first thing people see when they log on to the dating site is rows and rows of postage stamp-sized pictures of potential prospects lining the pages.  Your profile picture is the first thing that is going to grab attention.  Make it a good one!  Lose the hat and sunglasses and put a smile on your face.  I like to see a great head and shoulders shot.  People want to know if you have teeth and hair.  A nice smile makes you seem approachable and friendly.  I see some profile pics that are taken from such a distance it’s hard to find the guy in the photo at all!  Some photos are taken with a friend or a group of people.  Save those for your extra photos.  I pass right over profiles that don’t have a nice clear view of the person.  Some people even use their pets or grandchildren as their profile pic.  It’s too much work to click on their profile and go through all their pics to see who the profile actually belongs to.  I also like to see an additional photo that is a full length picture so I can see what kind of build a person has and how they dress.  I think it is a waste of time when someone puts pictures of sunsets or vacation scenery in their profile.  I’m not dating scenery, I want to see the person.  I know it can sometimes be challenging to take a selfie.  It’s hard to see what you’re doing with those tiny buttons on the phone, not to mention getting an angle that doesn’t make you look like a shadowy ghoul, but please consider smiling when you finally figure out how to take the pic!  I’ve seen too many frowning, eyebrow-furrowing, squinting, mean-looking mugs that make me want to run the other way!  Consider having a friend or relative take a few pics of you.  When I get a message from a guy, I generally look at the picture before I even consider reading the message.  We all do, right???  On one dating site I actually saw a profile pic of a guy kneeling next to a tombstone😲.  I shouldn’t even have to mention the bathroom pics but just don’t! 

2.  Username & Catch Phrase:

Your username is also fairly important.  It’s listed right there with your profile pic.  Your username isn’t really important in the sense that it needs to be anything special or catchy.  Even using your first name or your initials is perfectly fine, but if I see a picture of a nice looking guy and his username is “Hard4U”, I’m going to pass him by.  I won’t even look at his profile because his user name tells me he’s just looking for sex or he’s just immature and has no respect.  “WildTom” or “Wild-anything” is also a turnoff.  If you’re still in college Wild is probably fine but once you’re grown up, wild just reeks of dumbass in my mind.  “RSQME”, sounds needy as hell.  Anyway, you get the idea.  Just keep it simple.

If the dating site wants you to make up a catch phrase, use something friendly or funny.  Avoid sexual references and negativity like the following catch phrases that I actually found on a dating site:

  • “no abuse, no whining” (sounds like whining to me!)
  • “no drama or cheaters” (good luck pal!)
  • “I hope you like sex” (probably can’t even get it up!)
  • “how much for a good time”(🙄  Seriously?  This is your catch phrase?)

This is the line your using to try to grab someone’s attention and get them interested not scare them off!  Luckily not all dating sites use catch phrases!

3.  Profile Content:

Your profile is pretty important too, but as far as I’m concerned, all that’s really necessary is just a few lines describing your personality, a few lines about the things you like to do and maybe a few lines about the kind of person you are looking for.  It doesn’t have to be lengthy but then again, if it doesn’t say enough, it feels insincere.  It can be hard to talk about yourself and sometimes a friend’s perspective can be helpful.   Avoid using negativity and spouting off about what you don’t like or want from a prospective date and avoid bashing your Ex.  These things all make you seem crabby, bitter and stuck in the past.  Refrain from bragging about possessions and money and focus instead on the kind of person you are and the qualities  that make you a great catch.  Be honest.  It doesn’t take long for someone to figure out if you’re full of it! 💩

4.  Messaging:

When it comes to actually contacting a perspective date this is where it can get kind of tough.  I detest the short, pre-written messages that some of the dating sites provide for you but if you’re not big on writing it can seem like homework to sit there and try to think up a conversation starter or witty responses to messages.  It seems to me if you are truly interested in meeting someone you could find something in their profile to ask them about or comment on.  Family, hobbies, travel, where they are from and what they do for a living, are all good starters.

One time I received a really great email from a guy that looks-wise wasn’t someone I would have picked for myself but the email he sent, told me a few interesting things about him that weren’t in his profile and he asked me a couple of questions about things I had mentioned in my profile.  We discovered we had many similar interests and I enjoyed chatting with him so much I agreed to go on a date that turned into a lengthy relationship.  So make that first message count!  The more information you provide about yourself in your profile the easier it is for someone to strike up a conversation with you.

When you get a response from someone, try to have a respectful conversation.  Ask questions, let them know you are really interested in getting to know them and you’re not just out here playing games.  Flirt but don’t be a perv!  Be honest about who you are and what you are looking for.

5.  Dealing with rejection:

I’ve had many discussions with friends, both men and women, about the process of messaging back and forth on the sites.  We all have different ideas of what is proper etiquette for the online dating world.  I definitely don’t answer every message!  Some people think you should politely decline or click the “no-thanks” button if you’re not interested.  I would be mortified if I messaged someone and got back a no-thanks!😩  Personally, I would rather just not know!  I think if someone doesn’t answer my message that is a pretty good clue they aren’t interested.  One of my friends said he sent so many messages and got no responses he started to think his email wasn’t working!  He said if they would have just responded with a “no-thanks” he would have at least known the message went through.  If I get a message from someone I’m not interested in and I don’t respond and he sends four more messages, I start thinking he might be a little desperate or pushy.  You can’t force someone to be interested in you.  I had one guy send me several messages that I didn’t respond to.  He became quite upset with me and sent several more angry emails.  In one of his ill-tempered messages he said that his mother had a name for women like me… uncouth!  He even changed his catchphrase to “No uncouth women” 🤣😂🤣  Thanks for flying the freak flag buddy!

Don’t be angry if you don’t get a response or you don’t get the reply you were hoping for.  It is disappointing when you send someone a message and get no response.  In your mind the two of you would make a perfect match and the dating site says you are a 100% match but in reality you know nothing about this person.  They may be searching for some specific quality or have a completely different idea of who their potential match would be and you just aren’t it!  It could also be that they have already met someone else they are interested in and want to see where that goes before they even consider anyone else.  It’s important to remain neutral and continue searching and messaging other prospects while you wait for a response.  Don’t make more than two attempts to contact someone, it makes you look desperate and stalker-ish.  No matter how perfect you think this person seems for you, just let them go.  If they were interested in you they would respond.  Accept that it wasn’t meant to be and continue your search.  Remember, no one is obligated to respond to you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that on some sites you have to be a paying member to receive emails so even though they have a visible profile their subscription may have expired.  It’s possible they don’t even know you sent an email or they haven’t even looked at the dating site for months.  If you don’t hear back from someone it is best to just let them go and move on.  Sometimes, even after chatting back and forth several times, a prospective date will just vanish or stop responding.  This happens.  For whatever reason, they change their mind.  I’ve been on both ends of that type of situation.  Don’t waste your time sending hateful or disrespectful emails.  Don’t waste your energy questioning why or what happened.  Feeling rejected sucks but it is part the dating world.  Move on!

I hope you find these tips useful but most of all I hope your journey into the world of online dating is a successful one!