Did you know the first Sunday of the New Year has the highest number of people single and ready to mingle signing up for online dating sites?
After spending another New Year’s Eve either watching the countdown on TV alone or awkwardly staring at your friend’s cat while couples around you smooch at the stroke of midnight … that would make anyone want to meet their future significant other.
This is the case with my friend Lil’ Kim*. After being single for more than she’s willing to admit, she is taking the plunge and trying online dating.
She came to me for advice as I’ve found online dating to be – for the most part – a positive experience.
Well there was this one time…
I met Mr. Butter Teeth* through an online dating website and we met for coffee. The online persona and photos did not match reality.
He looked haggard compared to his photos that were probably from almost 10 years back. His teeth were so yellow that when he opened his mouth, God said “let there be light!”
Mr. Butter Teeth also exuded dull and awkward energy that made it very difficult to converse. And I can talk to anyone including a cactus.
Call me superficial and impatient but I was out of there in less than 30 minutes.
So that’s my first piece of important advice about online dating…
1. Do post recent photos. If you don’t like taking selfies, ask a family member or friend to take a few photos of you. You can even go one step further and get professional photos done. I’m not talking about glamour shots like a la George Constanza on the couch.
2. Do show and share your passions, hobbies and interests with your photos and profile. This includes sports, travel, food, volunteer, arts and culture.
3. Show your caring and nurturing side by posting a photo with your pet. *swoon*
4. I can’t believe I even have to say this but it happens. Don’t post a photo of you with your ex girlfriend or two scantily clad ladies with the Bellagio in the background. Learn how to use the crop function.
5. Initiating a conversation to multiple people takes a lot of time. Don’t take the lazy route and copy & paste the same cookie cutter message. Incorporate something that was mentioned in his/her profile so it shows that you’re actually paying attention.
6. Don’t lie about having kids, being unemployed or having your own personal parole officer. Lying is never a good start to a courtship.
7. Don’t give your phone number right away. It’s desperate and creepy.
8. Show your sense of humour by including a joke or funny story.
9. If you connect with someone and think he/she is the best thing since tiger ice cream, don’t ghost the other people you’ve been chatting with. My friend Special Agent Cooper* was talking to two ladies at the same time and decided to pursue Lisa (his now fiancée and baby mama!). He let the other one know that he met someone else. She was appreciative of his honesty and it allowed her to continue her journey to finding the right guy.
10. The last and best advice is be yourself. It’s easy to masquerade behind the screen and converse about anything and everything with Wikipedia by your side. But the truth will reveal itself within 5 minutes of meeting face-to-face.
Besides, don’t you want someone to like you for your quirks and all?
If you’ve decided to try online dating then here’s a virtual high five for investing the time and money.
It takes a lot of courage, confidence and optimism to put yourself out there.
Remember, the rules of engagement for online dating is similar to offline. You will occasionally get rejected and ignored but it’s all part of navigating the dating labyrinth.
Be patient and if you find yourself not getting the hits you were hoping for, take a break and come back when you’re ready.
Or maybe online dating just isn’t for you. And that’s ok. Check out my blog post on 9 other ways to meet your perfect match.
What’s been your experience with online dating? Please share by leaving a comment below!
*names have been changed to protect their identity and pseudonyms are more fun