The dos and don’ts of online dating
Online dating sites can feel a bit like a ‘meet market’ – with people on ‘display’ hoping to attract your attention. But this shop-like scenario is what makes it useful to you – you can look at hundreds and hundreds of profiles, opening yourself up to more people than you could otherwise. You can also narrow your search to make sure you only spend time viewing people who are likely matches, and you can enjoy hours of window shopping, too! But before you take the leap, be sure to avoid these common mistakes and focus on getting it right instead:
Don’t ignore your virtues. But not your physical virtues! Bare all on your photo and you’ll get a lot more interest from guys looking for something purely physical. “I made the mistake of putting up a holiday beach photo,” says Bev Shield. “I got a stream of sleazy and suggestive emails. I took it down and they stopped.” Feel free to show you’ve got a hot body, by all means, but be more subtle – a photo of you wearing a fitted dress will give a guy all the information he needs without being too in-his-face. And play up your personality strengths too. What do your friends say they like best about you? Those are the things to mention.
Do make the first move. Online dating is not like meeting someone in a bar or through friends – you can’t expect to sit back and wait until the perfect guy just turns up, you need to be proactive. Guys love it when a woman is confident enough to show interest, so send a brief hello email. Introduce yourself, mention you liked an aspect of their profile (to show you actually read it!) and be sure to include at least one open-ended question. For example, mention you noticed they like surfing, say you do too, then ask where their favourite surf spot is. Leave the flirting for later – at this stage you’re just feeling men out to see if you want to meet up at some point.
Don’t set impossible standards. Are you perfect? No, thought not, so don’t expect your future boyfriend to be either. Make a list of personality traits you think are most important in a man and order them from most important to least; then make a list of physical attributes and do the same. When searching profiles, use the first two personality traits to find suitable contacts and ignore the physical attributes list for now. When you’ve found several potential partners, use your physical attributes list to narrow it down further. “I had put on my profile that I only wanted to meet men above 6ft,” says Kira Muhammed. “But my now-boyfriend is 5ft 11 – that inch is irrelevant, but if he hadn’t contacted me I would have missed out on meeting him!” While personality is important in ensuring a good match, your idea of an ideal partner in terms of physique is more flexible than you probably realise, so don’t let it hold you back.